Saturday, 2 June 2012

Note to Self

Okay this is going to sound very silly, but this blog post is designed to jog my memory about my ideas for a memory quilt. Yep you got it - a reminder about memory.  See, I'm not likely to remember all my crazy brainstorming when it comes time to make this quilt. If I write it down, it's likely to get lost - possibly into the kids' toybox which is a veritable black hole. So here it is. Brainstorm vomit on my blog so I can come back later when it's time to make the quilt and I can remember all these great/crazy ideas and of course add to it as time goes on!

And of course, blogs being quite public, I would love if you had suggestions or ideas on memory quilts or even better, links to some you have made yourself! And if this whole idea completely bores you, I don't mind if you skip this post entirely. I'm hardly going to know if you do am I? :)

So this memory quilt. It's for my grandmother's 90th birthday in March next year. Quite a bit of time to plan. Right now I have a few ideas, and that's about it.

Crazy idea #1 - A family tree central panel. 
Maybe like one of those beautiful applique trees from Don't Look Now with family member names embroidered on the leaves. Argh that's already making me cringe with the idea of the amount of work involved.
Alternative... a digital file of a family tree that I can print straight onto fabric. Pretty design or something like this Rose Blossom Tree from Uniquely Grown. Super pretty looking, super cheatery in terms of quilting.

Crazy Idea #2 - Letters
Script fabrics are so in right now. And have really inspired me. My grandfather had the most beautiful handwriting. I'm thinking of maybe using segments from letters he wrote to my grandmother during the war years on the quilt. Printed onto fabric obviously!

Crazy Idea #3 - A pieced back
Have rellies and friends all over the world sign or write a message on a square of fabric. Or maybe their favourite memory of Nan? Then all those squares (possibly in shades of green - Nan's favourite colour) can be sewn together to form the back. If not doing this for the quilt, definitely should think about doing it as letters. And probably soon to make sure we get the fabric/letters back with plenty of time to organise them!

Crazy Idea #4 - Photos. Duh.
Of course I'd want to include photos. I think all in black and white would look lovely. This is going to be an expensive quilt with all that printable fabric I'm going to need.

Crazy idea #5 - Newspaper
Okay this is a really wacky idea. But how awesome would it be to get a copy of a newspaper from the day Nan was born and use printed segments in the quilt. I know there's some website somewhere around that does these things as a bit of a novelty gift.  ETA: holy crap this wasn't such a crazy idea. I can find some 1923 newspapers online with only a tiny bit of googlefu. And free!

That's it. That's all I've got so far. I want to make this good. Not just for Nan but for me too. Yep, entirely selfish motives. This quilt's going to be mine someday (damned if I'll let one of those crazy relatives get their hands on it) and I want it to be a beautiful family heirloom that I can share with my kids, and their kids and so on until it falls to pieces. Or the zombie apocalypse happens. Whatever comes first.

So if you've made it this far through my ramblings (and this uncharacteristically picture-less post), first let me applaud you, and second, please feel free to leave comments on ideas, links, or simply telling me you didn't bother to read this post. That last one would make me laugh. ;)


  1. Love the letters idea- what a beautiful idea for a quilt!

  2. It's wet here in Riga, so I thought I might as well read your post! The newspapers sound like a great idea, not just for her birth but maybe of significant other events in her life? You could ask relatives and friends to make a block rather than just sign one, which would be less work for you. You might need to give them instructions on sizes, etc but it would be up to them how they interpret the brief! All you would have to do them would be join them together. Look forward to seeing what other suggestions you get.

  3. I love the letters idea! Do you have any clothing of his or hers that you could incorporate or maybe use their wedding outfits as some kind of inspiration? I know in that era they often had drowns or veils with lovely patters. I can't wait to see what you come up with!

  4. Three of us organised a family block quilt for a cousin's wedding over the last year. We picked fabrics, sent out packs, and asked 20-odd family members, all ages/genders, to each make an applique block of something meaningful to them/about the happy couple. It worked brilliantly. And only myself was a quilter out of the whole group...
    Things that made it work:
    - sending out the fabric pack, plus colour cards to explain what colours of anything else could be added: strict colour palette = happy recipients
    - precutting the base blocks (if again, would draw in the square within which to applique: even with instructions, people have no idea about seam allowances)
    - deadlines.

  5. Well according to my 17 year old Daughter you might just be out of luck! She says the Zombie Apocalypse is bound to happen any day now! (BTW where in the world did this whole Zombie thing come from! I just don't get it! LOL)
    OK Back to the memory quilt (Just in case my Daughter is wrong) I love the idea of photos and the letters! But I find that if all they are is photos i think it is a little overwhelming! Having people write on blcoks can be great (did that for a friends wedding) but you don't have much 'control' over what it looks like (sloppy handwriting like mine) or what they write! Sepia or B&W pulls this together beautifully!!
    Whatever you decide I can't wait to see it!! :)

  6. Personally, I love the idea with the letters! It's what I'd go for, possibly adding a few photos here and there. What an awesome project.

  7. Spoonflower might be a good way to create newspaper fabric. They had a post about it on their blog.

  8. So many ideas! I might be old fashioned but I like the classic family tree option. There is room for green too :-)

  9. I like all the ideas. I know not much help there.
    Just try to set a budget for yourself. Getting custom made fabric isn't cheap at all.
    Maybe one central focus panel, then other blocks to border that with help from family and friends. =D

  10. My dad calls it CRS for can't remember sh^^ :-)

    I love the idea of having Spoonflower print fabrics of your grandfather's letters and the could use them as setting fabrics around the photos???


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