Have you ever made a memory quilt? Often they’re made with fabric from the clothing of a loved one who’s passed on, as a way to honor that person, and to bring comfort to those who have experienced loss. I’ve made several of these over the years, and to be honest, I’ve always had a hard time falling in love with this concept. I mean, I love the basic idea of a memory quilt- certainly anything with added meaning is extra awesome in my book- but somehow I’ve noticed that most of my memory quilts have turned out looking, well, a little dreary. I don’t know if it’s just that the clothing items I was given were particularly neutral and bland, as many clothing items can be- grey, navy, khaki, etc in solids or subtle prints- but somehow I find myself feeling not so happy over these quilts, despite the fact that are intended to bring so much comfort and peace.
So when I was asked to make a quilt for a 2yo boy recently, using clothing items from his late grandfather, I decided to try a new approach. This time, I wanted to find a way to make a quilt that still used fabric from a sentimental piece of clothing, but also managed to be, well, cute! I wanted it to be a quilt that would make a good super hero cape, a good puppet show backdrop- a quilt that would be happily used and enjoyed, just like any child’s quilt would.
And the first thing that came to mind was an eye spy quilt. Well, sort of. It’s not quite an eye spy, but it still has some fun little friends scattered throughout…a couple of owls, some butterflies, hedgehogs, bicycles, cutlery…. Just a simple, calming pattern, with an array of happy prints, and basic pearl cotton ties. It’s nothing like what I would normally think of as a memory quilt and that’s why I love it.
So if you notice the darkest patches throughout- they’re navy flannel that I cut from some very special flannel pants, that hold very special memories of a very special person for this family. And I’ve scattered them throughout the quilt, next to cheery chevrons and perky polka dots. I think they’re happy in their new home, don’t you?
It’s not that I don’t love memory quilts- I do- but sometimes I feel like they can be so incredibly serious and somber that I’m afraid they won’t be enjoyed in the way that I know that loved one would want. We look at them and say, um, wow, this quilt is made from clothing, and then we fold it up and tuck it in the chest, never to be seen or heard from again. So I’m hoping I was able to create something with a little more day-to-day appeal for this sweet little boy.
This week the girls and I sent this happy memory quilt off to it’s rightful new owner, and I really hope that he will not only be receiving a gift full of meaning and family history that he can cherish his entire life, but that makes him feel happy.
Have you ever made a memory quilt from clothing, and if so, how did you feel about it? Do you have any fun ideas for new and creative ways to incorporate meaningful fabrics like this into a project? Please share! I’d love to hear them!
Thanks for stopping by, friend!