Joining Blocks – A Commemoration of Children

I’ve been working on a fascinating project for a local woman – fascinating because it touches upon a fascinating aspect of being alive – the passage of time and the fact that our kids grow up!

This remarkable mother saved a healthy sample of every item of clothing, every blanket, every costume, every outfit that her kids treasured from the time they were babies all the way to Prom! And now she wants them all put into a quilt. This quilt will visually really impress upon the viewer the evolution of life as demonstrated by garments, and will, I am sure, bring her many hours of joy.

Now, I have in my day made many a commemorative quilt – and I have been known to make quilts out of T Shirts, ties, and any other item of cloth I wanted remembered, and as a mother myself I can certainly relate to the desire to hold on to some of the precious things that take me back to the many epochs in my now-grown-up kids’ lives, but I don’t think I’d ever run into someone who had both the foresight and the ability to actually go through with saving tubs and tubs of clothes – making sure that they are washed, moth-free, undamaged by mold or other storage issues, etc. As someone who has changed homes more times than I would have preferred, I can for one attest to how difficult it is to hold on to relics from the past, which is why I actually possess such few of them. But for those who have the ability and desire, this quilt idea – which is clearly something she’s had in mind for at least two decades – is a great way to commemorate their kids’ passage through life.

Obviously she did not save every last piece of clothing ever worn by her children, but, even with saving one of two favored pieces for each stage of their lives, that’s still quite a few!

These tubs represent just how many clothes were involved. And, as the top photo strives to show, the diversity of garment and cloth is extensive, and presents many challenges.

There are lots of kids’ stuff, with teddy bear patterns and pastel colors – some cotton, but some are crazy fabrics. Then there are children’s clothes, all in different colors and different fabrics, and then you get to the jeans and fancier teen stuff that can be made out God knows what weird tinsel and lace.

A lot of them had to be stabilized, which is a term that describes a process whereby quilters stabilize fabrics that in general are impossible to quilt due to the fact they lose their shape easily – things such as part of sweaters, fringe things, lace, parts of blankets, fleece, polyester, and silk. It definitely took a while to get all the blocks stabilized and ready to go.

She already had cut up the squares roughly into the 5″ squares she wanted into a quilt that was to be 125x110inches with a black border. I still had to go in and cut the squares more precisely, stabilize them, as previously mentioned, and also had to quilt each one. This essentially became a quilt as you go process.

But now I am finished with the most troublesome part of it all, and am now putting all the squares together and all rows together and after this will go pretty quick. and am ready to move on to the phase of joining all together, then adding the border and backing – easiest yet to come, which is always nice in any process.

Following are photos of the process as it has unfolded.

I definitely hope I can capture, with my process, whatever it was that she wished for, when she saved those garments for all those years.

Joining Process beginning

Joining Process

shows backing on stabilized pieces

joining process!

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