This is a compilation of QUILTNET postings about rememberance quilts. All comments are the OPINIONS of the person who posted the message......................

Rememberance Quilts FAQ

Name: Karen
Purpose of Quilt: Grandmother's 80th birthday

Theme: Family Tree
Who Helped make it: I sent 12 inch squares to each grandchild and great-grandchild, and requested a painted or stenciled picture that they felt best represented them. (Total of 12 grandchildren)

How Long did it take: About 2 weeks to get the squares back (not too bad), then about a week to assemble (not working on it full time).

Special details: Large central panel (36 x 45) contained an appliqued tree with the names of the children and spouses. Granchildren blocks were bordered individually, and then set around the side and bottom edges. The top center block (which would have covered 2 of the twelve inch block areas contained a stencilied family tree and inscription "For Memere with love from all of us". Due to a lack of time, the top was tied and not quilted. All in all, a very popular gift. She'll be 87 this August, and the quilt has not left the bed since we gave it to her (except for its annual cleaning)

What would you do differently: I would have liked time to quilt it instead of tying.

Any advice: Go for it...I never thought I could get everyone to contribute in such a short time, but it worked out well.

Name: Joanne
Purpose of quilt: Parents' 50th Wedding Anniversary

Did it have a theme? No, but I've named it "Everyone had a hand in it".

Who helped to make it? Entire family and guests at party, but I did the piecing and my sister-in-law will be quilting.

How long did it take? Started it 17 months before party, and we're still working on the back.

Special details: Chose one color for each child's family (Navy blue, purple, green, gold, red) and black prints for my parents. Using a different fabric for each person (my parents, my siblings and I, our spouses and our kids), hands were traced then machine appliqued onto 12-inch muslin. These were signed with each person's birthdate written below their hand. (We tricked my parents into tracing their hands.) Their b/w wedding photo was transferred to muslin. I made a "Tree of Life" block for the center - sort of like a medallion - using scraps of the hand fabrics and a printed muslin. Sashed with green/black print. At the anniversary party, guests were given squares of muslin (pressed to freezer paper for stability), and fabric pens to write their best wishes to my parents. These will be pieced for the back, centered around a family tree to show the growth of the family. (Two grandchildren are already married, a third is engaged, and there might be a great-grandchild on the way soon!) My sister-in-law will get the honors of doing the quilting. Before we give the finished quilt to them, I want to write an essay on how the quilt came to be, and include some of the amusing obstacles we encountered - like mailing blocks to far-away places like Hawaii to get them signed, and running out of sashing fabric!

(We presented the finished top to my parents at the party, and it was greeted by many ooohs, aaaahs, and quite a few tears!)

What would you do differently *next time*? I wouldn't slack off once I got started. (Yeah, right!)

Any advice for someone starting a similar project? Get everyone involved. My sisters, who can barely sew let alone quilt, helped to cut muslin squares and press them to freezer paper, and that was a big help to me. Having the party guests sign the muslin squares was a big hit too. Using the freezer paper on the back of the squares really helped. As you can imagine, most of the guests at the party were in their "golden" years themselves, and I wanted to make it as easy for them as possible.

Name: Jan
Purpose of quilt: Christmas present for Mother

Did it have a theme? No; everyone used the same pattern, a simple bird shape with a calling card in his mouth (applique).

Who helped to make it? I mailed pattern and instructions to Mother's friends and family members.

How long did it take? 4-5 months

Special details: Participants mailed completed blocks to me, and I set them together with pale green sashing (Mom's favorite color). It was given to her as a top; she had her church ladies quilt it. I did a similar thing for MIL with a large applique butterfly pattern; friends signed their names on the body section of the butterfly.

What would you do differently *next time*? :-) Next time I'm gonna make a Sunshine &Shadows block (I think that's the name, it's a 12" square divided into half diagonally; one triangle is black, and the other is diagonal stripes.) I'll embroider the names myself on the longest stripe. I'll also quilt this one before I give it away...or else give the top with the under- standing that they are to give it back so I can quilt it. =-)

Any advice for someone starting a similar project? Most of the women who participated in both quilts were in the "60 and over" age group; most of them knew how to applique and embroider. Know the skill level of your participants. Maybe they could just donate fabric for a block, if you have your heart set on a specific pattern and they don't know how to hold a needle...

Name: Sharon
Purpose of quilt: My sister-in-law's high school graduation gift.

Did it have a theme? The theme was to make two blocks that portrayed significant aspects of the quilt block maker's relationship with Nancy, my sister-in-law.

Who helped to make it? It was made by friends and relatives. In the case of some male friends that didn't know how to sew or quilt, the guys helped with block choice and design and the blocks were made by their mothers.

How long did it take? This took three months, but I wish I had started sooner.

Special details: At the time I made this quilt, I was not living in the area of any friends or relatives of Nancy. So I mailed two squares of fabric the size of the unfinished blocks to each person. This kept the colors coordinated. People could either cut these blocks up and use them for piecing or applique or use them as background and applique directly on them. The thing which made this harder than expected was that only about 70% of the people who had agreed to make blocks really did so, so I made some extra at the end to have enough. Most of the people who did them, finished and sent them by the requested date and they were gorgeous. However as you can imagine, these delays meant that I had to quilt the whole thing in only a few weeks.

Toward the end, the quilting situation became funny though. It was time for us to make the 10 hour drive to the location of her graduation. We arrived several days prior to her graduation, but the quilt was unfinished. Everyday when she went to school we got the quilt frame out of the trunk of the car where we had it hidden and assembled it. Then we retrieved the quilt from its hiding place and quilted as fast as possible until shortly before she arrived home from school when we disassembled everything and hid it. We buried the thread clippings in the bottom of a garbage can at that time as well. Then we involved ourselves in some other project around the house and tried to sidestep those questions about what kind of fun things we had done all day.

We finished it in time and had the joy of presenting it to her at her graduation party. I will always remember the look of stunned speechless joy on her face as she realized what everyone had done for her, and then her added pleasure as I told her who had done each block and the significance of the memories connected with what was portayed in that block connected as well.

What would you do differently *next time*? :-) If I did one like this again, I would ask everyone to write a letter to the recipient and make a notebook of them. I would also make a label for the back that told who did each block and also include name of recipient and information about the occasion. I would have done that at the time, but had never heard of anyone doing that.

Name: Judy
Purpose: Parents 50th wedding anniversary

Theme: Memories of the golden years

Who helped make it? I sent a short letter and two 6-1/2" 100% off white cotton squares to 60 friends and relatives of Mom and Dad. (this also included all immediate family members). 48 people returned their completed squares. Many also sent a letter for mom &dad and many also sent "old" photos.I gave suggestions on how the square might be embellished and told them the only requirement was to use their imagination, creativity, and love for mom &dad when completing their square. (some suggestions were simply writing a message using pigma pens, cross-stitch, fabric paints, applique, photo transfer, etc.)I was not real specific because i did not want to limit anyone's creativity. I asked only that their square represent a special memory they have of mom &Dad (or of a time they shared with them). I gave them a two month deadline to respond. I also enclosed a self addressed, stamped brown envelope to return their square (and my phone number :-) I had my sister help me arrange the squares (this took HOURS) once they were all completed and returned. I machine pieced and machine quilted it.

How long did it take? My first mailing was the first of september with an october 31 due date. I finally received the last square i was to get the first week in january (after many long distance phone calls and some idle threats. i understood if they didn't want to participate, but when they said they would and then didn't get it done.....) I teach, and over my two week Xmas break, i assembled all the tiny nine patches for the corners of every square and the triple sashing strips to join the 9 patches. i asssembled and quilted it over the next 6 weeks. Their anniversary was march 6. My husband made a handmade inlaid wood quilt hanger for it (the size was about 75" X 50"). My parents love it and treasure it! They cried and cried when it was presented at the celebration (110 people, many from out of town, aattended). I took photos of the quilt &mailed one to every person who contributed.

Special details: i made a big square, heads only, of mom, dad and the four children (size of 4 squares including sashing, corners etc) using photo transfer (at my local tshirt shop), and hand applique and hand embroidery. The pics were all different sizes and each had to be separately done so the heads would all be the same size. The cost for 6 transfers was about $54 but WELL WORTH it. Make sure that everyone signs their square on the FRONT. I used Thermore batting which is wonderful. It hangs beautifully. I quilted (in the ditch)on all squares, sashing, and 9 patches. Since the squares finished to 6" size, a also quilted around one or two things inside each square. The squares returned were awesome. I never knew people could be so creative and do such beautiful work on a 6-1/2" square. I had hardanger, intricate cross-stitch, fabric painting, fabric applique, photo transfers with ribbon embellishments, hand embroidered memories and poems, etc. The time and love that went into each square is very evident!

What would you do different the next time? Nothing, this worked fine!

Any Advice for someone starting this? Start way ahead of time. Plan thoroughly, keep things simple. Plan on quite an investment of your time and money. make sure you include self addressed, stamped return envelopes, and send a picture of the completed quilt to all who respond.

Name: Diane
Purpose of quilt: Wedding quilt for daughter and son-in-law

Did it have a theme? A block for each of the 80 guests at the wedding to commemorate the wedding celebration.

Who helped to make it? My daughter's mother-in-law, who organised the wedding, gave me a list of all the guests at the wedding, arranged into groups such as college friends, groom's family, groom's high school friends, his high school teachers, members of church congretation. My daughter-in-law helped me to put quilt on basting frame and to pin baste it. I did all the rest.

How long did it take? Five months as my major activity. That is working at least a couple of hours a day on it. I hand embroidered the names of each wedding guest into the centre of each block. It took an average of 1 hour per embrooidered name. Women's three and four part names took longer.

Special details: I was not able to go to my only daughter's wedding in the US because of health problems. My husband and I spoke to daughter and her husband and to son and his wife, to my mother and other relatives and to new in-laws while they were at the wedding dinner. I had said I would make a wedding quilt and my daughter had picked about 100 fabrics from my cupboard before she left to be married. The quilt was a way of participating in the wedding without having been there, and extending the participation for months. We presented the quilt when our daughter and son-in-law came to Australia for Christmas 16 months after the wedding.

The quilt was made up of simple nine patch blocks using two fabrics which both harmonised and contrasted in color and design for the outside squares. The centre of each block was a cream-colored square of fabric leftover from the wedding dress, on which I embroidered each guest's. I made all the squares first, using favorite fabrics, with blue-green and mauve-violets perhaps dominating. No real effort made to coordinate fabrics and each fabric was used only once. When blocks were all finished I chose special ones for the people I knew (favorite colors or styles, etc.) and embroidered names on the others from the list as they came up, using the plaids and more 'masculine' fabrics for older men I didn't know just incase they did not want to be represented by purple lace. Nine patches look from a distance like crosseswith light centres.

To harmonize the diverse colors and styles of the name blocks I did blocks with a slender diagonal cross. These blocks had smaller, less exhuberant prints and the crosses were in tone-on-tone prints that read from a distance as solids. Colors were chosen to give a particular color tone to the quilt as a whole.

To assemble, I laid out the name blocks around a central X block. Bride and groom names on either side, block above with place ofwedding, blockbelow with date. Then all the guests are laid out in groups, grooms family and friends on one side, brides on the other, shared friends above, members of the congregation below. With very careful planning each person block is related to those next to, above, diagonal, etc. Colors did not always harmonise with the blocks nearby,so the X blocksfor the spaces in between were placed to create visual harmony. Works very well. From a distance the X blocks make diagonal connections across the surface of the quilt, enhancing the visual sense of community.

The quilt back uses the same X formation without the actual X: Broken Dishes pattern of four triangles four different large scale prints for each square. If the front of the quilt is wedding guests, the back can be seen as the wedding food, melting ice cream, cake, and salads.

I used the same fabric in as many colorways as possible so that children will be able to have fun looking for matching and almost matching pieces.

What would you do differently *next time*? Hand quilt. It was a pleasure to make and I would have like to make it last even longer.

Any advice for someone starting a similar project? The best and most satisfying part of quilts like this has to be the individuality and particularity you bring to it. Choosing a pattern you really like, fabrics that have or can hold some sort of special meaning, special details. Our son drew an image of a telephone for me to embroider in the corner of my block and my husband's to indicate our telephone presence at the wedding. Don't plan it all in advance. Leave room to adapt, alter and embellish as you go along, to include unanticipated memories and details.

Name: Pam
Purpose of quilt: To commemorate a 25th anniversary

Did it have a theme? My Aunt and Uncle and their family

Who helped to make it? I did it myself

How long did it take? About 1 year

Special details: I used the Twin Cities pattern from Judy Martin's Ultimate Book of Patterns. The center square was a cross stitch piece. Each square represented one family member and had 5 symbols depiciting them, their likes, hobbies, and what I loved about them. Even the dog was included in my cousin's square sitting on the boat she (my cousin) liked to sail. There were six squares total and it was a wallhanging. Machine quilted and pieced.

What would you do differently *next time*? :-) Not have it be my first ever quilting project-although I am hooked now! Take a picture!

Any advice for someone starting a similar project? Start early and borrow books with cross stitch patterns to reduce the expense. Be prepared for many tears and feeling really good that you spent the time and effort!

From : Sherrie

Years ago my elderly neighbor gave me alot of old dresses and aprons and such after his wife died. He said maybe I could wear them (she was a small woman and I am a good size 14 ! At any rate the clothing was from the 50's !!! and not in the best shape. As most was cotton, I washed and dried it and then started cutting sections that were dec ok and then made square and finally a good sized lap quilt made from the dresses, aprons, his or his sons old shirts and his daughters dresses. I used an old flannel blanket for the bat and an old tablecloth for the back - things he had also sent over. Only the border was newer material- a navy cotton. At any rate, it was the fastest that I've ever finished a piece--just tied, but I wanted to get it to him as soon as possible as he was so lost and alone without his wife of 60 years or more. I brought it over to him , not wrapped, and placed it in his lap and he looked at me and said "What's this?" and I replied " A memory quilt.." and then I pointed to different squares and told him what they had been, a small boys shirt, his wife's dress, a girls jumpsuit, etc. and suddenly his face lit up and he started pointing out pieces to me and telling me what he remembered-- I'll tell you, both of us were in tears but his were shining with wonderful memories instead of grief. I never felt so blessed as I did at that moment. A short time later, he took a turn for the worse and had to move to a nursing facility but he took the quilt with him. The family said it was on his bed and only let him to be washed by family and only overnight, so he would not be without it for long. When he died, his wish was that he be buried with the quilt over his suit--so it was buried with him. The family said that they hoped I didn't mind! I was so honored.... and so thrilled that it meant so much to him.)