Memorial Quilt: Men’s Cotton Shirt Quilt

This is a quilt made for a family whom lost their father. Their father loved to wear bright colorful shirts.

I don’t often see patchwork patterns that I immediately want to make but when I saw this pattern called Simply Woven by Jessica Kelly – I knew that it would make an amazing quilt from recycled materials. I made my quilt a little larger (it is probably around a king sized quilt) – I had so many shirts I didn’t want to waste them!

I also added a border to my quilt as the family have more traditional tastes and I think formal borders always make things seem a bit more traditional in style.

I used my mix and match all over technique for the filler pattern. And a simple feather border …

my feather corners are getting better.

The mix and match design blends really well on the front of the quilt …

… it is the back clearly shows all the detail.

I tried to mimic a little bit of the woven element on the back too.

And in case you don’t believe this is made from men’s cotton shirts – there are little bits on the front to remind you.

Labels of Love

Often I add labels to the quilts I make – often I use the tag line ‘handmade with love’ those who know me well know how true this tag line is. But for the Kilt & Coat Quilts – these have a different label.

The family requested these labels for their quilts …

“Beannacht leat go bhfeicfidh mé aris thú” is Irish Gaelic for ‘Until we meet again’ – or a literal translation is ‘Blessings until I see you again’. Which for these quilts with deep Irish roots & laden with Irish kilts – was so perfect.

I simply ADORE these photos that I took of the siblings when they picked up the quilts. The pictures – to me at least – scream what my Quilting A Memory project/charity is all about.

I am working on more Memorial & Memory Quilts and I look forward to sharing the results with you soon.

Memorial Quilt: Coats & Kilts – Quilt #3

This is the 3rd quilt that I made for a family of three sisters and one brother from a box of childhood
coats & kilts that their mother had collected. You can view the first quilt here and the second quilt here.

This is the 3rd quilt I finished – it is another Drunkards Path pattern.

But I hope I have given the traditional pattern a little twist. I quilted this quilt in straight lines using blue, red & white threads – I tried to mimic a sort of tartan pattern in terms of the lines placement & order.

 

I have had several people tell me recently that straight lines are perceived to be simple – but let me assure you – straight lines – in any direction – with any machine – are not at all easy and anyone who can pull off perfect straight lines – line after line after line – gets my award of quilting valor. So while my straight lines might not be 100% perfect – I do think the idea of quilting a tartan quilting design ontop was accomplished.

 

 

 I also sewed all the different the buckles from all the kilts back onto the quilt. 

For me personally – completing this particular quilt was a huge effort and lesson for me in persistence and trusting an idea or vision. I was so pleased with how the top turned out with all the fabrics blending into one another …

 

… but then there was a little hiccup.  Part way through this quilt I had an ‘oh no I think I’m making a horrible mistake moment’ AND the timing on my machine went AND I had my thyroid removed. The afternoon I got back from hospital my lovely handiquilter dealer was there in my bedroom fixing the timing on my machine while I snored off the results of my sleep deprived hospital night and the rather long lasting results of the anesthetic (utterly embarrassing.) And the next morning I was up continuing the straight lines – still unable to speak or drink any liquids. It was a tough couple of days – but I kept on quilting lines – and gradually my initial vision began to come together & now I am really pleased with this result. I really love the buckles on the quilt (I hope the family do too!)  I suspect they might have been discarded otherwise and as this quilt is for the only brother in the family – I like the masculine edge the buckles give the quilt. 

And this quilt has my favorite bit out of ALL the four quilts on this quilt. A large kilt pin in the bottom right corner!!

Memorial Quilt: Kilt & Coat Quilt #1

I have been working on these quilts – four in total – for a long time. I am excited to share the results with you.

The quilts are made from kilts and coats that were in the families mothers attic. There were kilts, coats & traditional Irish dresses from their childhood. The fabrics, textures and colors were bright and beautiful – a mixture of wools, velvets, cotton (and maybe some mystery blends.)

I decided to add some white flannel to all the quilts – flannel because it is soft and snuggly – but also because it compliments and blends into the texture of the wool kilts and coats. All the squares were cut to 2.5″x2.5″ and are 2″x2″ finished.

I was very careful when I took the clothes apart to preserve all the details. I took the ribbon off and reattached it to strips of flannel to use as squares. I didn’t want to waste any ribbon detail so there is a button hole included in one block.

I left some trim and lace on in some places. I love how you discover something new in every square.

The center of this quilt is a panel from a blue cotton summer dress.

I used most of the rest of this blue cotton dress in the diagonals lines of the triple Irish Chain pattern. I added some matching blue flannel so that I had enough of the same color to complete the pattern.

In the center of each chain is a flower ….

… which is surrounded by tiny pebbles. Would you believe me if I told you each flower took me 1hr to complete?

 

The border of the quilts is taken from the blue velvet in this dress ….

… I LOVE quilting velvet. It is gorgeous to work with.

The binding is made from an old school uniform.

And I love the back. (I couldn’t decide which photo I liked the best ….)

 

AND just to remind you of what some of the different materials started as …

 Childhood wool coats

 

13 wool kilts

This is the first of four quilts I completed for the family.

 

For me there are several really exciting moments in a project like this – being given the work is such a tremendous tremendous honor – the moment you load the finished top on the machine is so exciting – then finishing the quilting is even more exciting – and finally when you hand the materials back to the family as a finished quilt – that feeling is just something else.

Applications Open for Service Familes

I am pleased (and a bit proud if I am honest) to be able to say that I have raised enough money to offer some service families free memorial quilts (to be completed in early 2015.)

Quilting A Memory is a charitable organization that I have set up to provide free quilting services to the families of fallen or lost service men & women using their clothes & uniforms. By working with the families I personally prepare, deconstruct, sew together and quilt unique detailed quilts which do not look like clothing or uniforms. Quilts that can blend into your home, can be used in everyday life – something beautiful, practical and filled with love and memories. (We have filed our 501c3 status with the IRS – and we have already been receiving donations.)

 

Memorial Quilt made from a Fallen Soldiers Uniform

If you know of a service family who has been impacted by the loss of a loved one and you think that they might appreciate this service please let me know. I can reach out to them personally or you can tell them of the services of this charity. I am happy to discuss with anyone the detailed process of making these quilts.

Memorial Quilt made from Ladies Shirts

I am really looking forward to working with more families and being able to make these quilts for them. The feedback I have received from families so far as been amazing.

Memorial Quilt made from a 9/11 Firefighters T-shirts

I am expecting additional donations during 2014 so if there are many families applying for quilts I will start a waiting list and funds will be allocated to a families quilt as they come in.

Please contact me at rachael_dorr@yahoo.com for more details.