Monday, March 14, 2016

A "Symbolic" Memory Quilt


A "Symbolic" Memory Quilt
 
A Quilt and a Pillowcase = Memories for a lifetime

I am a memory person. I hold them, keep them, make them, display them, remember them and encourage others to do so also... especially my grand daughters. I keep telling them to keep a journal because when they hit mommy's age (notice I didn't say MY age!) they won't remember so many of the wonderful things from their past. I even got them wonderful little journal notebooks from time to time, but far that isn't going so well! They say don't like to write! So I started making them  things that they can  use that will also hold their memories.

When my grand daughter, Ashleigh was 2-4 years old, I did her day care. So to have some "down" time or to get ready for nap, I'd tell her stories about her favorite book and security items. She loved the bear in the Corduroy books. Especially this story    
as in the book there is a night watchman that is dressed in police blues and her daddy is a police officer..so she thought that was her daddy!

Her favorite little softie thing she carried. she called "Silkey Bear" (her favorite item). It was a bear head with a little blanket around it, trimmed in silk binding. She she named it Silkey Bear.  I'd tell her stories about Princess Ashleigh (that started as she was all "into" the Disney princesses at that age) and the stuffed animals she had. I did it kind of like the Raggedy Ann Stories where the animals are all still while the child is in the room or playing with them but when the child leaves, the animals come to life. You younger readers might liken it to current-day Disney's "Toy Story"  Princess Ashleigh was always going off to school and when the dolls/animals heard the school bus drive away, they knew they could get up and go on an adventure, making sure they were back in their beds before Princess Ashleigh came home from school!



Long story short...I wanted to make her a quilt about this favorite time of ours so she would always have the memory. I drew design after design. I had visions of steps, gardens, fences..everything in the story! I even bought fabric to create  areas of the story. But sadly, I couldn't pull it together.   Well, out of no where one day, I  had the brain storm! Instead of making a quilt depicting the story,  I went with a different connotation. Symbolism! I decided to make a Symbolic Memory Quilt! The quilt is small enough for her to play with her dolls on!
This is the finished quilt....>>>>>>>>>>>>

The story I told always started out with Cordoroy and Silkie Bear waking up when they heard Princess Ashleigh running out of her bedroom and down the stairs. When they heard the school bus drive away taking Princess Ashleigh  to school, they knew it was okay for them to get up and start their day! They would scurry out  of the house, down the back porch steps, follow the fence along the back yard to the far back corner where they would crawl under the locked gate to the strawberry garden. Once in the garden, they would scurry around looking for Sunny Bunny (her daddy/my son had a pet rabbit named that when he was a kid), who lived in the garden  and he always had a delima  that  the bears would help solve. But they had to be back in their beds before the school bus rambled up the street with Princess Ashleigh.

I decided to depict the story with colors as symbols instead of the actual impressions.  I have a hard time taking pictures that are perfect in the colors, so the colors didn't come out right. Next to the green binding is a purple boarder, then the diamonds are brown with white dots. The dark pinwheel is really purple, not brown and the other pinwheel is red, not orange!

The area to the left with the two little friends,  represents Ashleigh's bedroom. The fabric has bedroom things on it. The border of brown diamonds represents the backyard picket fence the bears would follow to the garden. The pinwheels signify the "characters" in the story....green for Cordoroy because of his green overalls, Pink for Silkie Bear as he is pink, Red for Sunny Bunny as his mouth would get red when he ate strawberries (this really happened with the real Sunny Bunny when we fed him strawberries!) and the pinwheel that looks brown in the photo is really purple...Ashleigh's favorite color, which symbolizes Princess Ashleigh in the story. So..the two little bears start in Princess Ashleigh's bedroom (where they are snapped to stay in place when not being played with), they go out along the diamond border (back yard fence) and any of the brown sashings represent the gate to the garden and then the little bears can just wander the garden as she tells the story.

I cut out one of the Cordoroy bears from the fabric and made it an actual stuffed bear and then designed my own Silkie Bear from some pink fleece (both are about 4" tall), sewed snaps on their backs and on the quilt in the area of fabric that symbolized Princess Ashleigh's bedroom. This way Ashleigh can un-snap the little bears to take them on the "walk" to the strawberry patch!
 
This is a close up of the characters and the fabric I found to make the Cordoroy bear. Silkie Bear is a small piece of fleece from my scrap basket!







  







This is the back. I couldn't figure out something that went with the Cordoroy theme, but Ashleigh loves four leaf clovers, so what better back to have!   I made a label, bigger than usual, and printed on computer fabric,  the starting of the story.."As Cordoroy and Silkie Bear heard the school bus ramble down the road, they knew it was time to get up!....." and a little more like I described above. Now she will never forget how the story starts and know that she is the one that makes up the rest of it! Hopefully one day when she has a little girl she can recreate the wonderful story times! I gave the quilt to her for Christmas last year. She loved it. And she says she does tell the story to her dolls while sitting on the quilt. 

  
QUILT CONSTRUCTION
The pinwheels are 4, 6x6" HST's (half square triangles) and the diamond fence is 4, 3x3 HST's. Just a turn of an HST creates a different block!The brown sashings are 1" wide and the "bedroom" piece is one large piece.A purple 2" border and 1 inch green binding to finish.
But that wasn't the beginning!  
While I was trying to design the quilt, I stumbled on these Cordoroy panels at an online store and just had to have them.  I thought I would be able to use them to make the quilt, but couldn't make that happen. One weekend, I was blessed with Ashleigh being able to spend the whole weekend with me, and she begged to do some sewing...and since I was making pillow cases at the time, I thought I'd teach her to make a pillowcase and advance her sewing talent that I have been teaching her. And then it hit me, what better fabric to use than these panels of her favorite little bear! I cut the pieces and had them waiting for her when she go here and taught her how to make a pillow case!  She was 7 when she made it and it turned out great! She uses it to this day! 


Here's the story about that.....
                                                        

Both of us made so many memories with these two small projects! Just goes to show...you don't need much to make a memory for a lifetime!



Want another "Memory Quilt" idea? How about a T-shirt Memory Quilt..to be loved by ALL ages! check it out here: How To Make A T-Shirt Quilt



Want to read more at Fabric and Memories? CLICK HERE 
 
  Thanks for stopping by and...keep on sewing those memories!

 
This post linked to the Linky Party for the day. Click on the "Daily Linky Parties" tab at the top of my page and join us! Lots and lots of amazing talents on "display"
 


17 comments:

  1. What a great story. These kind of memories are so special, I agree! I'm looking forward to my grand daughters being old enough to learn to sew. Their Mom caught them watching a quilting show on PBS and it made me smile :)

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    1. It is a real joy. I could never get my daughter into ANY kind of craft! But this GD..she is so hungry to learn/do sewing! I just wish we were closer in location! Keep them watching the quilting show...things tend to stay stuck in little minds!

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  2. This is such a sweet post. I love the idea of using quilts as a way to keep memories. I have done sort of the same idea, but in a different way. My kids and my grand kids have quilts using t-shirts or novelty prints that depict what they like at that certain time in their life. I never thought about it being a memory quilt, but I guess it is. Right now I am gathering fabrics to make a quilt for my dad. I found novelty prints of cameras, bikes, pens, records, ties, campers, sailboats, trains, mustaches and more of things he liked in my childhood (we went camping every weekend), and over the years. I chose the pattern Turning Twenty (it uses 20 fat quarters) to make.
    Thank you for sharing your idea, and the tutorial on how you made your memory quilt.
    I am visiting from Sewjo Saturday.

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    1. I have done T-shirt memory quilts too...I wrote about it here....http://www.squidoo.com/how-to-make-a-t-shirt-quilt2

      This is the best way to make them what they want, and the memories they dont' know they will want! Good luck on your dad's..sound like it will be wonderful and "all about him":.

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  3. What a lovely story. It is so great that you are taking time to really focus on special times with your granddaughter. She will never forget the memories or you. Grandmas are such special people. Thank you for sharing. ps...I love Corduroy and that quilt is a perfect rendition of the book.

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    1. Thank you! Yes, being a grandmother is special. And I want her to remember special times in her life as well as the simple times that meant alot to her...and remember me too!

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  4. Such a sweet story and you're absolutely right: we should all keep a journal for the very reason that one day, we won't be able to remember all the important stuff, and it's so easy today, on a laptop, for example. Your corduroy quilt is very cozy and cute and I'm sure your granddaughter loves it!

    Thanks for visiting Poppy View today and hope to see you again, soon!

    Poppy

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    1. I think many might regret not keeping track of memories in some way, later on in life! I know I do! I didn't keep anything from my past...didn't think at the time it was important! Now.. I want my kids/Gkids to have at least parts of their past forever. Making memories into something "usable" seemed the perfect way to me!

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  5. what a wonderful story. It is amazing how so many treasured memories can be tied up in a quilt. I know that my love of quilting came from these kinds of times with my own grandmother. So special!

    Thank you so much for linking up to Needle and Thread Thursday!

    :) Kelly @ My Quilt Infatuation

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    1. I don't have those kinds of memories as.. no one bothered to help me make them or keep them. I want my kids/Gkids to have them both of their own selves and of me. I think so many these days...are going to be sorry that they haven't done something to preserve their childhood memories! They are so special and wonderful!

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  6. what a wonderful story, I'm sure your granddaughter will always remember it. And now she'll have a great reminder.

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  7. This is an awesome story. I love the idea of giving your family memories to hold on too. Thank you for sharing.

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    1. Thanks Karen..yes. memories are the only thing you will always have...however, as personal experience has shown...as time goes on, we don't remember all the things we think we will! I have NOTHING from my past and it saddens me. So I don't want that for my kids and grand kids. I want them to have things to remember with...helps to keep the memories!

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  8. Love the whole idea of quilting and memories. My two daughters took quilts with them to university, with the remnants of their childhood dresses I'd made for them. A nephew, who grew up in UK while we were in Canada was given a similar one as a wedding present, so he could feel part of the family (it included pieces from his bride's wedding dress). Now don't quilt, as they can be too heavy for my arthritic hands: instead, I'm thinking of making memory bears - or any other Cuddly that comes to mind!

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    1. That is my hope Isobel, to give them something to carry with them..after they "leave me". I am working on things for the future now as , I know there will probably come a time when my hands won't cooperate too! And then I'll have something for them "later". The bears sound like a great idea!

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  9. That is a wonderful story. Children learn alot by example. My daughter just recently became a Fashion and Textile Designer and has now started making things like I do. She loves it so much and only now fully understands why I go crazy in a fabric shop.

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    1. My daughter still doesn't...but this grand daughter loves fabric shopping with me!

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