A month ago I went to a quilt retreat and met a wonderful group of women and men.  As happens at these things we all talk and share what we are doing and have done.  Sharon told me about the memory quilts she had done and I asked her to share them with me so I could share them with you.

The first one was made from upholstery fabric from her brother-in-law, who was an upholsterer of 15th century antique furniture. Each muslin piece in the center contained signatures that she copied as well as the birth date of the person.  It was given to her mother on her 75th birthday.

This quilt she made from pieces of quilts made by my Retreat mates.

Finally, this last one is for the 30th Anniversary of Ordination for her husband. The blocks are from the states and/or cities in which he lived and worked. The signatures are from their family, his colleagues, friends, and professors. They were generous to provide their signature so she could copy them on muslin. With the help of three quilting friends she completed the quilt.

I love all these quilts! They are all very unique.  There are some important take away’s from these quits for people wanting to do one.

You can use almost any block or design for your quilt. Don’t be afraid to think outside the box.

Don’t be afraid to use fabrics other than quilting fabrics, especially if, as in the case of the first one shown above, they have a family and emotional connection to the person.

You don’t have to mail people fabric and pens etc, to get their signatures, you can have them send them to you in an email or letter like Sharon did. Doing this saves postage, time and the worry that people will write too big for the block you send and have the writing get lost in the seam allowance.  Technology is wonderful and we need to take advantage of it when we can.

This brings me to an important detail often overlooked by people doing signature/memory quilts – you MUST notify the person writing in the block you send that they need to leave a minimum of 1/4″ all the way around for the seam allowance.  Not everyone knows to do this. You end up with some that go into the seam allowance and you lose some of the writing.  I have had several people do the blocks before talking to me and then send them to me to put into a quilt.  Several of the blocks lost writing into the seam allowance.  NEVER assume people know to leave the space, most don’t.

There are many kinds of memory quilts. I love that Sharon thought to make a fan of memories from her quilt retreat. What a wonderful, novel idea.  I always encourage you to think outside the box and try something new and different. These quilts show what you end up with when you do just that, wonderfully special and unique quilts.

I would love to hear about your experiences making signature quilts and see what you have done. If you aren’t on the blog feel free to email me the photos at quilter@HappyMemoriesQuilts.com.

Happy Memories, Happy Days