Memorial Quilt: Fallen Soldier

I have been working on a memorial quilt for the daughter of a Colonel who lost his life while serving in Iraq.

When I received the box of clothes I was more than moved at the items that I had been sent. Included in the box was his favorite shirt (a red, white & blue Ralph Lauren cotton shirt), his camouflage jacket, a blue polo shirt and his dress uniform – in which he walked his daughter down the aisle when he gave her away at her wedding (black dress jacket & blue trousers with gold ribbon stripe.)

The quilt pattern is a Lone Star – which I think can be a very majestic pattern.

 

There are feather swags between the points of the stars.

Each star point is made from the gold ribbed ribbon that went down the side of the dress pants.

If there were any fabric remains the family had asked for a pillow or a doll. We had enough fabric for both. The pillow has many of the patches that I took off the camouflage jacket. The doll is made from some of the camouflage jacket and shirt material. Her hat is made from a cuff from the camouflage jacket and I added some gold buttons from the black dress jacket. My girls were cuckoo over this doll and kept coming to ask where the doll was, to stare at her AND asking when they would get a doll too.

The backing is flannel and the batting is wool. Even with the dense quilting the quilt was not stiff. Here is a shot of the back of the quilt for those of us who are obsessed with seeing the back of a quilt too!

Once the quilt was folded up ready to go home it looked so regal – I felt quite overwhelmed. I do hope that the family love it.

Memorial Quilt: Firefighters Family

I was given a large amount of material for these quilts. These quilts are made for two 5 year old twin boys whose father (a firefighter) passed away.

In the basket of materials I was given were t-shirts, mens white vests, bandanas, football jerseys, sports shorts – a whole lot of materials that you would perhaps never dream would go so well together into a quilt. I mixed all the different materials together in their color groups and they look amazing.

The family requested a large bold patriotic design and for the quilts to be similar.

(The quilt design is adapted from the Stars & Strips pattern found on McCalls Quilting.

The entire quilt from the front to the back to the binding is made from the clothing. The project did take me a longer longer than I had planned. But I think it was utterly worth it. The firefighter was an owner in a local bar – so the back of the quilts are styled in the way that you might find signs and registration plates tacked on a sports bar wall. Scattered – but with a purpose. A large proportion of the backs are made from his bandanas – cut into quarters and sewn on point.

 
Various badges and emblems from the t-shirts are also sewn to the front of the quilts.
 
Also – my favorite part of the quilts is the denim horseshoes – taken from the pockets of his jeans.
The stars and stripes section of the quilt fit perfectly on a queen sized bed.

The biggest shocker for me with the project is how I quilted the quilts. No fancy quilting. Just simple in the ditch.

And of course some matching pillows which have his football jersey number on the back.

And while I enjoyed taking these quilts for a photo shoot at my local fire station with some not too shabby firemen – I have to admit that I got rather teary when I was sewing on the labels for these quilts. A wonderful family man – a man who saved and protected – lost all too soon.

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.

Memory Pillows: 9/11 Firefighters Memorial Quilt

It has been a while now since I presented the Memorial quilt I made for the only Fire Marshal to loose his life in 9/11. It was such a great project.

When I work with families on quilts I always keep every single scrap until I know what the families want to do with them. And by every last scrap I mean EVERY label, button, seam, tiny sliver – everything is kept together until I know what the families wishes are.

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Memorial Quilt: T-shirts

This is not your typical t-shirt quilt.

If you have not had the pleasure with working with t-shirts before – they are much harder to quilt than you would imagine. The material is not conducive to any complex piecing, non bulky seams and free motion quilting. When I was given these t-shirts (from a family whose Grandmother had passed away) I wasn’t sure what I would do with the huge array of colors – the t-shirts also vary in their ‘stretch’, weave/texture, sheen and thickness.

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