Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Anatomy of a Memory Quilt - Part 1

My journey with memory quilts began way back in 1998. I was watching Susan Sarandon and Julia Roberts in Step Mom. I think I can tell you the plot without fear of spoiling it because after all the movie was made back in 1998. Susan Sarandon's character was dying of cancer; Julia's character was the new wife. As a gift to her children Susan's character made a quilt and a cape for them. Both the quilt and the cape included photos and little mementos.

I, like a lot of quilters thought this was a wonderful idea. So began my research. How to get the pictures on the fabric; color versus black and white; will it be washable; can it be quilted?

After a lot of trial and error I have came up with my own recipe as it were. I use a laser printer to copy the photos on the fabric because I like black and white rather than color. For a couple of reasons, first I can then use photos from all time periods for a unified look, second with my process it is much cheaper than buying special fabric to use with inkjet printers.

This was my first quilt. I made it for my parents fiftieth wedding anniversary. We threw a party for them and it was displayed at the party. I sewed rows of photos together, stitched decorative stitching around each photo. It is not washable and the photos will rub off. I think I get better with every quilt I make. With anything it is a learning process. My quilts are still not washable, but will withstand daily use and spot cleaning. Thus far I have made ten for family and friends. I don't make many of them because they are very time consuming.

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