Sew Many Memories

Waking up early on Sunday morning, a little warmer than usual [don’t get too carried away – the cold spell is brewing a comeback] as spring drops by  just to tease us, I rolled out of bed. Sitting down with my homemade smoothie, feeling a little fruity with the warm weather, I started flicking through Netflix. Looking through the 90’s movie category I found one I’d  never seen before ~ Step Mom. I wasn’t entirely sure what I was getting myself in for watching it first thing on a Sunday morning. But I should have known, Julia Roberts was the main character.

 [Insert floods of tears and a box of Kleenex].

I sat on the sofa watching the tear jerker [while Gary was happily sleeping] and literally let it all out. I was sad, sad that this movie was making me bawl my eyes out & sad because I missed my own mam. Although she is perfectly fine & back in Dublin, it has been 8 months now since I’ve seen her and it gets a little tough. Never mind adding a sad movie about losing your mother as a child, all of this together?  = Julie the emotional wreck. The movie is based on two women, one a mom & the other a step mom. Having recently divorced from her husband, the woman has to deal with being diagnosed with cancer and while finding it difficult to come to terms with her terminal illness, she also has to deal with the fact this other woman will be stepping in permanently as a mom for her children. In the final scene, it’s Christmas Day and the mom [who is now bed ridden] exchanges gifts with her children that she has made for them both. Both scrapbook quilts.  I sobbed, sobbed, sobbed, and sobbed.

Ok, so people may not understand the connection, but if you know me – you know I quilt. My form of quilting may be a little different as I like to include embroidery and pictures sometimes. Like scrapbook quilting, it can preserve family memories, it can tell stories, and it can be comforting & warm right when you need it. Just like the mom in the movie, she was building a scrapbook of memories past that she had spent with her children but in the form of a quilt, so they could cuddle in and embrace it anytime in the future.

A memory quilt can not only preserve the memory of the person but also the time. Every quilt I make is a memory quilt. A quilt for a child, that their mother can keep & look back on in many years and remember all the wonderful memories shared – learning to roll over, crawl, sit, eat and play. A quilt on any special occasion can hold the importance of the people & memories its shared with. A quilt holds much more meaning than a folder of photos on your desktop or in your phone, that’s sitting there gradually collecting cyber dust.

Last year I made one of my favourite memory quilts. I made an anniversary quilt for my grandparents who were celebrating 60 years of marriage on their golden anniversary. Never before had I made a quilt that celebrated marriage & love, as previously all my quilts were for newborns. This quilt was also the first quilt that I incorporated photographs in! I remember my nana’s reaction when I gave it to her “Put that up now, don’t let any of the kids near it or they’ll ruin it”, to which my granda replied “It’s a family heirloom Jane”. That right there was exactly what I wanted to hear, that my granda appreciated my craft enough to refer it as a future heirloom.  Although quilting was not a pastime in my family and it hasn’t been passed on to me from another relative, I am happy to be the one to start this tradition.

nana edit

anniversary quilt collage

The second quilt I made last year was another for my nana. Although this time it was sadly a memorial quilt, it also celebrated the wonderful life my nana lived.  It was filled full of pictures of all her family, made from her favourite colours & more importantly it was a craft in honour of someone we all loved dearly. Unlike printed photos or a note, it could be held, felt, and touched in those last days we spent with her. It would be with her always as she left us in this journey  and onto her next one, always with her to keep her warm. No doubt the hardest thing I’ve ever had to make, but the most rewarding by far. To see how happy my granda was with the end result, how people complemented him & the idea of leaving her with something from us all was comforting. It was truly inspiring and every time I sit down to quilt now I have my nana to thank for it, she has instilled in me the purpose and meaning a craft can hold in times of need. I will forever remember this special quilt.

memorial quilt collage 2

A quilt for heaven.

memorial quilt collage

Having set out with my new set of goals & bucket list for 2014, quilting was one of my main priorities. To make a quilt a month or something crafty along those lines was my goal and so far so good. February has seen me produce my second quilt for my nephew Rueben! I had the fabric [which my sister had bought me almost a year ago – oops] sent over from Ireland and so I was ready to go. I picked up the trim in Barrie on our trip last weekend and … voilà! Layers of fun prints, textures & colours, perfect for a toddler!

reuben collage 1

reubs quilt

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