This Article is About
king size bed
hand sewing
married life
scraps
grandparents
A Special Memory Quilt
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Recently my Grandparents celebrated their 60th wedding aniversay. Pretty special, heh! In this current age, more than half of marriages will end in divorce so as a family, we thought this was something to celebrate in a big way.

As you could probably imagine, thinking of a present for a couple who had been together for so long and who had everything they could want or need, was not an easy thing to do. But, I was determined to give them a present that was special and unique, so I can up with the idea of a memory quilt.

Traditionally, a memory quilt is made up of scraps of materials from a person's life (eg piece of their baby quilt or favourite t-shirt) but this wasn't the way that I wanted to go. To me, this quilt needed to be unique and truly personal. It needed to be a surprise for my grandparents, so gathering 'scraps' from their married life wasn't going to be possible. My idea was to make a quilt made up of nine inch squares, each square representing a special event in their lives. My next step was to gain information from the family. Initally, I intended to make a square for each year, but as I gathered the information, I soon realised that this was going to be impossible unless of course, I wanted to make it bigger than a king size bed. Considering there were three married daughters, seven married grandchildren and four great grandchildren (with another on the way), there were so many significant events with some doubling over the same years, so I changed tactic.

After talking with my mum and her sisters, I was able to gather more than enough information to create a quilt with 56 squares. It ended up being big enough to fit a queen size ensemble bed, overlaping down the sides. Each square captured a special such as births, weddings, holidays, retirements, etc. The squares became a mixture of stitcheries or applique and it was all done by hand (I must admit, I prefer hand sewing rather than machine).It was my desire that this quilt become a reminder of things that meant so much to my grandparent. If you knew them, you would know that family and church are everything to them. Each square needed to reflect on the person or event it was about. For example, my cousin loves chickens, so on the square about when she was born, I stitched a chicken coming out of an egg and stitched her name across the top. One of the things my grandparents loved to do when their children were young, was to take the family on caravaning holidays. Using clipart, I was able to make a template and applique a caravan onto the square with a road scene in the background. And so it continued. My mum loved blocks as a kid, so her birth square included appliqued blocks with her name and birthdate in the centre.

As a capture of 'a moment in time', each member of the family, their partners & kids, traced around their hands on a piece of paper. Using these as templates, I was able transfer these onto fabric. These hands then became part of a pattern on the back of the quilt. To signify my grandparents strong faith, in the centre of the back of the quilt, I appliqued a stain glass window, with a cross in the middle and underneath the words, In God we Trust. Surrounding the window, I stitched in a circular shape the hands of their daughters and their husbands. Then outside this circle, I place the grandchildren with their partners. As you can imagine, it was a blessing that the quilt was so big. Then in each corner of the quilt, I placed the hands of the four great grandchildren, whose hands seemed so small compared to the adults!

Like so many other quilters, I have a large stash of fabric, so I was able to match the fabric up with the person whose had it was. My uncle is an advid fisherman, so I was able to use some fishing themed fabric. My daughter plays piano, so I was able to use this to reflect her personality. My cousin's wife loves pale pink, so I was able to find fabric that was so close to what she liked. One of the great grandchildren were only 2 years old and I was able to use 'baby' fabric to represent her.

One of my grandparents favourite verses of scripture is 1 Corinthians 13 verses 4 to 8. To incorporate this, I was able to weave the words of this scripture around the hands of the grandchildren. When finished, I hand quilted the whole quilt, wrapped it up and presented it to my grandparents at a family gathering.

As you can imagine, my grandparents were speechless. They loved it! It became a focal point that began a time of reminising and story telling. What an awesome time of family bonding. Everyone who came to visit them after that were proudly shown the quilt.

Recently, my grandparents had to move into a retirement home. For the past 60 years they had lived in the one street and only five minutes away from any other their children. The move was quite traumatic as you can imagine. My grandmother has told me that the quilt helps her to feel like her family are close.

The many hours I spent working on this quilt was worth it. To see the happiness on my grandparents faces was gift enough. Now, as a wider family, we also have something to remind us of the great times we've had together as a family.


Street Talk

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