A few years ago a good friend of mine lost her husband to cancer, I suggested making a quilt out of his shirts. A nice thing to snuggle up with on the sofa which would hold lots of memories for her.Since then I have made quite a few more for various people. Although the reason for them coming to me with a selection of their loved ones clothes is a sad one, I hope the end result gives them comfort. It's a tough decision knowing what to do with clothes from someone you've loved. I understand that it is hard to throw them away, a bit final and heart wrenching. However the end product of a quilt with all memories from favourite clothes, including embellishments like pockets to keep special items in, favourite ties, and personal things that either made you laugh or cry all can earn their place on a quilt, and provide comfort. So much nicer to wrap yourself up in a quilt full of memories than cuddling and assortment of clothes don't you think? As one person said "My friends and family won't think I have lost the plot snuggled up in a quilt rather than hugging a bunch of clothes" not that I think it should matter but I could see where she was coming from. People have also said that once the quilts are made they feel free to throw all the unused clothes away without guilt.
Here are a couple of my favourite quilts so far, they were made for a lovely lady who sadly lost her husband leaving her with two small boys. My brief was to make (so far) a quilt for herself and one for each of the boys. I'm sure she won't mind me telling you that she knows very little about sewing, so the requests where somewhat challenging! She arrived with a huge assortment of clothes and photographs of her husband and told me all about him. He was a Journalist so words were always going to play an important part. I confess to being a bit worried at first, but soon realised that although the requests for the quilts were long and varied, her nature was fairly laid back and I felt we could compromise on some things and all would be O.K This quilt is for her eldest son. The car was on a T.Shirt of his dads who loved old cars, a few of the things like the footballers and the dogs were from his baby clothes that his parents had kept. The circle with the four different bits of material in it are clothes from Mum, Dad and the two brothers, the circle they are in represents the family unit. There are pockets and toggles from various bits of clothing and the coloured edging is mainly favourite t-shirts. As I said previously, words were going to play an important part, so the quilt has two phrases written by the Dad and a poem that he wrote for his son before he died.
This quilt has very personal memories, the black lace is part of the wives clothing. I think this is a very important, and intimate part which most definitely should have its place in the quilt. We shared a few laughs over it, but in all seriousness I think it is one of the best parts of the quilt. You shouldn't be afraid to include anything that means something to you and the person you have lost, no matter how personal, the quilt is part of your shared life.
Lots of pictures and words on this quilt and other things like embellishments from socks, ties, and parts of clothing that mean personal things. We also included a few badges that also hold pictures of meanings and memories.
The quilt turned out to be very colour co-ordinated, this does not always happen given the assortment of clothes I have to work with, so we felt that anything that didn't look quite right on the front would go on the reverse of the quilt.
So far we have all been pleased with the end results, its been a challenge to get everything right, but so rewarding for all concerned. I will blog the remaining quilts as they are completed.