Tuesday, July 22, 2008

The Son's Memory Quilt

It's only taken 7-1/2 years to get my son's memory quilt quilted.

The idea for the quilt was "birthed" as we prepared to leave for Uganda back in 2001. I thought it would be great to have a project to take that I could work on throughout the year, the son was lobbying for a new quilt (his first was in tatters after years of use), and the concept of a memory quilt intrigued me. Fabric bought at a sidewalk sale served as inspiration for the color theme (brick red, teal and navy). Gathering a number of photos representing his entire life-to-date-at-that-point, I had them color copied onto photo transfer paper which I trimmed and ironed onto solid white cotton fabric.

Now keep in mind that we could only take 2 suitcases each (total: 6) and we had to take the hubby's tools (he was going as the construction manager, after all), the daughter's homeschool books, and some kitchen items. Oh, and clothes of course. But I still filled 1/3 of a suitcase with the necessary material and quilting supplies. Because I am a committed quilter. Or a quilter who should be committed?

Anyway, I sewed all the house blocks by hand, using the fabric photos as the "windows" and, when the photos were vertical, as "doors". Then we found out that one of the missionary wives had an honest-to-goodness sewing machine which we co-opted for the next five months (the daughter was learning to sew and making her own clothes). I used the machine to sew on the sashing and borders.

It was supposed to be twin size (he was in college back then) but I got a little carried away, unable to cull any of the photos (I'd made up more than I needed). So the twin size? It became a king size, oh yes, it did. And here are some close-ups. He and his sister have always been good buddies. Here's an example of photos being used for both door and window. The son, a freshman at the time, took his girlfriend AND his sister to the big party Hillsdale College threw to welcome their new president (the son had already broken up with the girlfriend by the time I made the quilt so I conveniently cut her out of the photo). Some memories are bittersweet. The son had a serious auto accident when he was 17 and during surgery they put a titanium rod into his leg. He was in a wheelchair for two months and on crutches for many more. While it's not a "happy" memory, we are thankful that he survived the crash! So why did it take so long to finish?

I'd honestly planned to quilt it myself. Back when it was going to be twin sized. But it was so MASSIVE after being turned into a king size, I knew there was no way I could quilt that thing on my little hoop. I needed a quilt frame. Which the hubby gave me for my birthday a few years later, but which has never been put up for one very good reason. WE DO NOT HAVE THE ROOM. A quilt frame takes up a LOT of space, and we just don't have it.

And with us leaving for Argentina where homes are smaller I don't think it's likely I'll ever have the room. So the decision was made to have someone else do it. That's been the plan for months. But do you think I did anything about it? Seriously?!

Until two weeks ago. With just over a month to go, I finally took it to someone who has a longarm machine. Initially Cheryl told me it would be November before she could get to it. But once the hubby explained our situation, she was so nice and actually fit my quilt in right away. I picked it up today and she did such a fabulous job! And the cost was very reasonable.

If anyone in south central Michigan or northwestern Ohio needs a professional quilter, give Cheryl a call! You can find her in Osseo, Michigan, at M & S Specialty Products.

I still need to bind it off and sew on the little buttons for "doorknobs". Just an odd assortment in different shapes and colors but they make me happy :-) And hopefully they'll make the son happy, too!


86 My Social Life said...

It looks so good, yay :)

rita said...

What a very special gift that will remind him of you every day!
I had just been thinking about your quilting/hobby/pasion/addiction whatever, wondering how God will use it to make friends in Argentina??? Will be fun to see.
Will we be able to see it Sunday, or is it already in Jon's home?