Memory Quilts: Preserving Something Precious

Memory quilts are great family heirlooms. If you are looking for a way to preserve the memory of lost loved one, here is a wonderful way to do it, using the one item no one else ever wants, their clothes.

Wanting to preserve the memory of your parents or grandparents for your children or grandchildren. Not sure how to do it in a way that will still mean something to them when they get bigger?

Using shirts, dresses, skirts, or pants, find 16 pieces of clothing that are made from similar textured materials. If possibly, you can even select matching colors. Cut 9 five inch squares from each piece of clothing. Take five squares from the first set and match it with 4 from another set. Take the remaining five from the second set and match it with 4 from a third set. Take the five remaining from the third set and match it with 4 from the fourth set. Continue matching this way until you have reached the last (sixteenth) set. The remaining 5 from the sixteenth set should be matched with the 4 remaining from the original first set. Now you have 16 "matched" sets.

Take the first matched set and alternate the colors 1 2 1 for the first row (1 being the first set/2 being the second set). For the second row, lay out 2 1 2 and for the third row do 1 2 1 again. This will give you an alternating 9 square pattern. Sew these 9 squares together and then begin matching and sewing each of the remaining 15 sets.

Once all the sets have been completed, lay them out in 4 rows of 4 blocks. Now you need to connect the 16 blocks with a 3 or 4 inch piece of material in between the sets. You can do this by sewing a "top" on each block (EXCEPT the top row) and then connecting the top of the second row to the bottom of the first row, the top of the third row with the bottom of the second row and the top of the fourth row with the bottom of the third row. Once that is complete, sew another strip of material between the first and second columns, second and third column and third and fourth columns. (The material used for the connecting, should be all the same material. It may be necessary to purchase this material).

Now you can finish the quilt top by adding one or two borders around the outside, depending on your personal preference. Once you have done this, your quilt top is complete and is ready to be finished by adding backing and batting.

You can make smaller quilts by using smaller pieces or less squares. For example, four sets of 9 squares makes a good baby blanket or you can make a lap throw using 6 blocks (9 squares per block) and making 3 rows of 2 blocks with a larger strip of material in between the blocks and a wider border.

For added flare to your quilt, you can use the pockets off old western shirts and use them for the center square of each block. Be sure to sew your block so that the pocket will still open for lots of added fun for the recipient of the quilt. Children especially like the novelty of being able to hide money or notes in the pockets of their quilt.

© High Speed Ventures 2011