Monday, December 30, 2019

Memory Quilts

The biggest project I committed to in 2019 was agreeing to make five memory quilts for a local family I've known since childhood.  My friend's grandparents passed away in 2018 within six months of each other and their daughter (and my friend's mother) asked me to make memory quilts out of their clothes.  It took me a while to agree to this project because I didn't know if my longarm quilting machine would be functional for quite some time (thanks to a fiasco of losing so many parts in our move and other setup problems).  I didn't want to agree to such a big project if it might mean quilting five lap sized quilts on my domestic machine.  

After I got my longarm machine sorted out, I agreed to this project and my friends came by to discuss the quilts in January.  They brought many materials for me to work with: shirts, a tuxedo, upholstery weight couch pillows, and military uniforms with patches.  It was a little overwhelming!  They also gave me a lot of freedom with how to put everything together but I vowed to be in close contact with my "clients," as I didn't want them to be disappointed.  

I found a free pattern on a blog: On the Fence Quilt from Lunden Designs.  I liked its simplicity that allows the fabrics to shine.  I had to make 45 of these blocks and it wasn't too overwhelming or difficult:

I backed all of the memory fabrics in SF101 woven interfacing.  I added coordinating fabrics from my stash.  I divided the pieces evenly so that every quilt would have a balance of every print.

I used Free Spirit Designer Solids in Mist for the sashing and borders.  I quilted all of the quilts in a boxy meander.  

I am a little embarrassed with the quality of these pictures but this past year was not amenable to lots of fun and glamorous quilty photoshoots: I was pregnant for half the year and had a newborn for the other half.  My oldest son helped me with these photos right before the school bus was coming!

I found a Cloud9 fabric at Marden's that coordinated with the colors of the quilt top.  I bought 9.5 yards which was enough for four of the quilts, I used another fabric for the fifth.  I made a flanged binding:

Overall it was a good experience to agree to such a large commission.  Of course it was stressful at times: I was nervous about creating something special for a family grieving the absence of this special couple.  I had a difficult pregnancy and a 3 year old to look after during the school day.  I had a deadline for Christmas.  I ended up completing all of the tops and buying the backing just before I had my baby on June 27.  I quilted and bound the quilts in August and gave the quilts to the family in September.  I wasn't cutting it too close to the deadline at all, which was definitely reassuring for all involved.  I would definitely do a commission again, it was a good experience overall and I really appreciated the opportunity to earn some extra money.