Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Fatihful To The End

Friday I finally finished my last memory quilt.  It took me about 8 months to start and about 3 weeks to finish.

This one was really difficult to even start - maybe because it represents the last death.  Hers was the 3rd in a 4 month period and they were all in their 50's.  Maybe it was because I chose not to attend her funeral.  By the time her death happened I was spiritually, mentally, and emotionally broken from deaths and other life circumstances and could not take another funeral.  In any case I have completed it and it seems a burden has been lifted.

Val started and completed an associates at a local bible college.  She had turn in her early retirement papers and was planning to retire and move in September.  She felt  God was telling her to prepare to move back home.  What she didn't realize (nor did the rest of us) was that God was telling her to get ready for her heavenly home.

She passed away July 4th.  I thought that day was amazing because it was her independence day from pain and suffering.  She had some questions, some momentary fear, and some disappointments but she was faithful to the end.

How I Did It


I have plenty of quilting fabric but when I am doing a memory quilt I tend to shop for fabric especially for the project.  This shopping trip was difficult because as I started to pick fabrics I almost broke into tears (a girlfriend called me weeping Wanda - smile).  I had to talk to myself so I could get what was needed and get out of the store.

Her favorite color was blue so that was the palette I wanted to work with.

For the pictures I bought some quilting cotton and pre-washed it.  Then I pre-treated it with Bubble Jet Set 2000, cut 8 1/2" by 11" rectangles, placed some freezer paper on the back, and printed my pictures using my ink jet printer.

Center Square of Memory Hanging


What I did not do after printing was put an adhesive on the back to stick it to the main block that it was placed on (big mistake so I will not point out the issue).

Afterwards I applied Kreinik Iron-On Threads around the picture to frame it and hide the raw edges.  Since the adhesive is not that great I also stitch it down.

I never really "plan" out the memory quilt - I just know that it will have 4 to 5 pictures and 9 squares.  This time pre-planning would have helped.  I never intended for all the 9 base squares to be navy blue.  All my fabrics were quilting cotton.

I love bright colors and knew if I was going to finish this memory hanging I had to brighten it up.  I added a "zebra" like border around each square but that still was too dark for me.


I wasn't totally satisfied with the green decorative outline I had chosen for the pictures because I wasn't sure how I would tie it into the rest of this blue hanging.  I initially chose it because one of the squares had some green embroidery and I loved the color.

It hit me that I could use some green to brighten it up and to tie it into the whole hanging.  Now I was satisfied with my choice.

During her illness she needed help so there were a number of our church members that helped out - they were her "care" team.  I asked if any of them would like to write a note that I would incorporate into the hanging and there were 3 that chose to write a note.

I embroidered the note with a teeny tiny font and used Sulky's PolyLite 60wt thread for the stitch out.

Note 1 Stitchout

Notes 2 & 3 Stitchout
For the other embroidery I used the standard 40wt embroidery thread.  After all the blocks were completed I combined them.



The final steps were to add a green border and the binding.  I stitched in the ditch with a Sulky 12wt Cotton thread and one of my many decorative stitches.

I did not take pictures of all the intermediate steps. but below are the ones that I did.  The white lines are my embroidery centering lines and they are not so visible on the completed hanging.

Before Border Around Pictures
Pictures with Borders
Each Block with a Border
Blocks Connected
Green Border and Binding





Below are closeups of the individual squares.  Row 1 from left to right.


Her "Care" Team


Middle row from left to right.

Who She Was


Who She Was

Bottom row from left to right.


This was a Picture She had on Her Facebook Page


Conclusion


These memory quilts are easy to do so long as you don't personally know the person.  They are tough when you have a real relationship.  I am glad I have it done.

I will present it to her sister in about a week.  Normally I have the memory hanging professionally framed to protect it but this time finances won't allow it.