Monday, January 10, 2011

Memory Quilt Number Six

My Favorite Kind of Sewing Project.
Memory Quilts.

About 2 years ago, I met a really sweet lady named Joyce.
She was trying to make a dress for her 50th wedding anniversary, when her sewing machine quit working properly.
( When people in the area have sewing machine problems, they bring them to me. I have a sewing machine mechanic on speed dial! )
Anyway... she was the sweetest thing. We must've sat here talking about sewing for 2 hours. I told Joyce to just take one of my machines home, to finish her dress, while her machine was being repaired. I didn't want her to worry about having enough time to finish her dress. It's not everyday that a girl has a 50th wedding anniversary!
Fast forward to this past summer... Joyce's grand-daughter, Crystal, contacted me and wanted to have a quilt made for her grandmother. We discussed the options, and I came up with a design that she really liked.

Mrs. Joyce had always made her own clothes, and things for her two daughters, and then of course, all of the grand-children. I told Crystal to go through all of those special things, and pick out any items that she would want included in the quilt. Even t-shirts... if it holds special meaning to someone in the family, I would work it in.
On the quilt top, each star is made from fabrics that Mrs. Joyce had used before.
Recycling at it's best.
Love squared.
I used old fashioned hand embroidery to add the names of everyone in the family.
Even the background fabric was remnants that Mrs. Joyce had in her stash.
For the reverse of the quilt, I used at least a little bit of each piece of fabric . Remember Holly Hobby fabric? It's in there. Retro prints from the 60's and 70's, curtain fabrics, dress shirts, you name it. Even suiting fabrics. When it comes to memory quilts... I say there are no rules. As long as the fabrics can be laundered, I will put it in there. I like using random patchwork for a quilt back like this. The way women would have done 100 years ago. I'm kind of old fashioned like that.
Now for the quilting. I learned a long time ago, the importance of prewashing fabrics before sewing them. ~The hard way.~ So I prewashed everything that I could before I cut anything out. Especially the blues and reds, 'cause we all know they are the most likely to bleed. Some of the fabric pieces that I had were to small to run through the washer and dryer. So I tried to just wet those thoroughly and heat set, then hope for the best. So before I put too much quilting into the project... I did all of the basic quilting. In the ditch. Then added the binding.
I always prewash and dry my quilts before delivering them to a client. I don't want them to get any nasty surprises later on. Also, once a quilt goes through the washer and dryer, the batting shrinks just a little bit. About 5%. THAT is when the magic happens for me. That is when it get's that old fashioned look, and the fabric just puckers up ever so slightly away from the batting.

After about 2 minutes in the wash....
this is what I found.

Can I just tell you ...
I was done.
Stick me with a fork.
I was sooo careful.
But there is that ONE piece of fabric that didn't get prewashed.
All of that hard work.

It bled right through.
You see... it can happen to anyone.
Even I, do make sewing mistakes.
Another lesson learned. This will never happen to me again.
On the up-side...
I sure am glad that I didn't put a whole lotta quilting into it already. It can be repaired. I can remove the orange fabric from the back. And thankfully I have enough fabric to replace what is ruined on the quilt top. But it is NOT going to be a quick fix.
It did break my heart though.
Another reason this quilt is so special to me...
My own grandmother, the last few months of her life...
She could no longer get up to her sewing machines.
She loved sewing so much. Every time I would see her, she would light up, then she would always ask me, "What are you working on now?" When ever I could, I would take my projects over to show her. I took this quilt over to show my Granny, in the week before she passed away. She ran her hands over the quilt blocks, then pulled it up close to her. She said "Those sure are some good points on those stars."
It's just a little thing... I know. But it's one of those little things that I will keep with me forever. And this is the last project that I will ever get to share with her. I miss her so much.


  1. Awww, crap! I hate when that happens. I must admit, I'm very adverse to washing my quilts, I just rotate through them so they don't get dirty. I gave a friend a gorgeous quilt for her bub, it got left "soaking", and the reds ran right through it. Was devastated.
    There are colour catchers you can use when washing to help make sure there are no colour runs, though Ive never tried them.

  2. Oh Daisy we all make mistakes don't we? You are a fantastic seamstress and your granny knows how very special one can be. That was most likely her giving you a little nudge as to what was coming up in your life!!
    Sending you sweet hugs from Canada. I know you need them right about now ((((((((HUGS)))))))))
    Love you Daisy
    Love me

  3. Sweet Claudette, I love you SOOOOO Much! Of course you are right. Thanks for the hugs, too.

  4. You have such a generous heart, what a sweet thing to do. And even if it gave you a wee bit of trouble, when you put your heart into anything, it always works out for the best!

    Take care, Sue


My Grandmother always told me, "If you hang around with skunks, you're gonna get some stink on you."