November 30, 2011

Deborah: Memory Quilt

A little more about the project I'll be working on  both here at TAST and the CQJP.

My mother had boxes of photographs - snapshots. They've meant a great deal to me over the years. We would often pull out the boxes on a Saturday night and look at them. Each one had a story to tell.

As I got older, I considered ways I could display the photos so that they would be a part of my daily life, not hidden away in a closet or trunk, or even in a scrap book. Of course, I could frame them, and I have done some of them but I wanted to make it very personal and show what the people in the pictures were. Quilting was a big part of my mother and her sisters' lives so I wanted to put them in a quilt.

I looked at many memory quilts but - no harm meant - they just did not speak to me. I saw a quilt at an exhibit at a library (imagine that) which incorporated applique, embroidery, and embellishments along with the photographs and decided I wanted to work on a piece   that at least used some of those elements.

The CQJP will take it a step farther. The rich detail of crazy quilts will give me the opportunity to combine several things I love and they loved - the family pictures, quilting, and embroidery, another skill my mom and aunts passed on to me. I'll be able to personalize each block.

This will be a piece that I will hang in my house to share with the family. I haven't come up with a name for it yet. The colors I chose are some of my favorites and I will add to them as the piece progresses. I struggle with color so here is where I may seek advice. I'm using primarily cotton fabric but may throw in some others - I have a lot of dupioni silk for some reason!

Embellishments will include embroidery of course, lace, charms, buttons, trims - I will keep adding to the collection.  In March there is a sewing expo which I attend every year, and will probably go nuts looking for stuff to add to the quilt. Since I've never really done crazy quilting, my supplies are limited but growing. I'm looking around the house seeing all sorts of possibilities. Nothing is safe. ;-)

I'm going to work with 8" squares. I'm envisioning a center piece with blocks surrounding it, but I don't know what that center piece will be. Something simple. The final size of the quilt should be about 45" square.

I signed up for TAST to learn more embroidery stitches, and to get inspiration from other quilters/stitchers, so this piece will benefit from the expertise of all of you!

Starting this week, I pulled out fabrics and the photos I've already transferred. I'm going to start sorting through more photos and printing them out this weekend. I want to get a head start on the blocks so I can concentrate on TAST  in the coming months. Below are some of the fabrics & photos I'll be using.

Here is the quilt that sparked my interest. I'm sorry I do not remember the quilter's name - it was several years ago that I saw this quilt at the Smyrna Public Library.

I'll also continue working on the Alzheimer Art quilts. Last year I signed up for the $1,000 challenge. Those quilts are important to me, so I'm going to keep up with that although not the Quilt-A-Month club. I think that will be too much pressure. This month I plan on making a few of those to get ahead, or at least plan ahead for what I want to make, and keep them simple as well.

This is going to be a great year of fun, growth, and creativity! I am so looking forward to expanding my quilting horizons!


ladyhawthorne said...

I'm looking forward to seeing this idea grow, I just know it will be beautiful!

Deborah said...

Thanks, so am I!

jenclair said...

"Nothing is safe" caught my attention because new projects mean new ways of looking at things. :)

You have some great projects going, Deborah, especially the Alzheimer Art quilts!

Debra Spincic said...

If you are making 8" blocks, what is your arrangment? 5 x 5 = 40" + border would be about 45"
that would be 25 photos if you plan to put one in each block
you will need pics in the 4" range to also have enough room in the block for patches
you are going to need a keen eye and crop out extrananeous background --- but you want enough background when it is applicable to help tell the story & the time period.

Are all the pictures from one side of the family? You might be able to use fabrics as "codes" for groups of people or generations.
When gathering your embellishments, you can further tell your story by adding items significant to the people in the photo & their life or hobby or vocation. Embroidered names and words are good too. You can write on fabric & then outline stitch the line for words. You can also use type fonts for lots of fun ideas for labeling.
Scrapbookers do alot of people layouts so you might spend some time browsing their sites to see how they highlight people. Then, you can interpret that in fabric.
I'm happy to help in any way. Just holler!

Suztats said...

This will be wonderful! I was wondering if the fabrics you've chosen have any special meaning to you or the people in your quilt? A wonderful idea for a family heirloom.

Deborah said...

Suz, the fabric is not significant in that way. It just appealed to me personally. I wish I still had fabric from some of the clothing I made my daughters but alas, I must have gotten rid of it.

Connie Eyberg Originals said...

Deborah, this is a great idea for your quilt! The inspiration quilt is beautiful. I like Debra's suggestion about codes for groups or generations. Whatever you do, I am sure it will be a family treasure and keepsake for generations.

Jane said...

This will be a great way of doing personalized stitching and embellishing that means deeper things to you.Its hard to put 100% into things you know your going to give a way but I'm sure this project will give you the chance to pull out all the stops and express alot of yourself while you're doing it. Thanks Deborah

Debra Spincic said...

You might be able to find some faux vintage prints--they are popular now and maybe there is something similiar that evokes the feeling of your daughters' dresses.

Deborah said...

Thanks for the great suggestions. Many of them are ideas I've been keeping in mind. Lots to think about.

Cy said...

In the sample quilt you have shown here I notice that the more recent photos are more prominent than the older black & white faded ones. That could work to your favour if you have the recent/colour photos either in the centre of the quilt or all around the outside edge. I'm just not sure about the arrangement of the photos on the sample quilt shown above as all the "weight" seems to be in the bottom left quarter of the quilt and it keeps me from looking at the rest of the pictures.

Debra Spincic said...

I definitely agree with Cy that the photo prints are a major design element to consider. You will have to pay extra attention to them so they tell your story but are visually interesting too.

Deborah said...

All the photos will be black and white. Any color photos I use will be scanned and converted. I do not think color photos will work. You're right, they would draw all the attention away from the older ones. In fact, I may stick to the old photos entirely for this piece. Each picture I plan to use at this point has a special meaning - I will find a way to communicate that somehow in the block. This will be the Da Vinci Code of quilts. :-)

Deborah said...

I agree about the photos in the finished piece. Maybe it was done before photoediting? Those color photos could have been edited to look older and blend in with the overall concept.