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.

Memory Pillow: from Toddler Dresses

You might remember that I was given a beautiful array of toddler dresses from a mom who wanted a pillow made for her bed. A pillow isn’t very big. So to make something little that showed the material from all 7 dresses in an interesting way – had me stuck for a bit.

I looked at endless pictures of cushions (I think I would now get top marks in any cushion quiz!) and finally decided to make a simple flower cushion.

Not too much or too little focus on any one material I hope. (If you remember I still need fabric left over for a kids quilt. )

I stuck all the smaller bits of fabric left over from the deconstruction of the dresses to white felt using a strong fusible. I cut out the petals and sewed them in circles – lots of circles!  The petals even show case the lace and other cute details from the dresses.

The vibrant leaves are made from the green velvet collars of one of the red tartan dresses. (I really really try to minimize any waste from any of the clothes I work with.)

Because there were two red tartan dresses I used some of the tartan to make the back. The smocking of one as the center of the back with some spiral paisley free motion patterns around it.

Almost reversible but I think the front is much prettier.

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.

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.