2021 In My Studio

Good morning! I hope everyone enjoyed the holiday, whether religious or secular in nature. Here are most of the projects I’ve done this year:

Magic Kaleidoscope, 30″ x 30″

Practice for Charm Weave, 40″ x 40″

Mill Wheels, 51″ x 51″

Super Simple Squares, 52″ x 52″

Oriana, 47″ x 48″

Rumble In The Jungle, 54″ x 54″

Splendid Stars, 51″ x 53″

Sunrise, 75″ x 50″

HST Stars, 78″ x 53″

Fossil Fern Stars, 59″ x 44″

COVID swap block quilt, 55″ x 72″

Hayden and the bag he made

Fabric bowl, from the Modern Fabric Bowls book

Christmas napkins

And the Japanese Maple in the fall!

A Wedding Dress Memory Bear

My friend Kristine makes memory bears and recently made one from a wedding dress.

She also made a storage bag for the bear, using a large decoration from the dress to accent the bag

The dress was beautiful, but the owner especially wanted the bead and sequin trims saved.

The bride wearing the dress

Here’s a better view of some of the trim on the dress:

And here’s the bear coming out of her bag!

After consultation with the owner of the dress, Kristine selected two coordinating shades of upholstery velvet for the bear. Although you may not be able to see it, some of the beads from the dress are bronze/brown and coordinate very well with the velvet colors.

In addition to using much of the trim from the dress, Kristine made the bear a bouquet to carry from some of the roses on the dress.

This picture shows how well the brown beads coordinate with the bear’s colors

The two sides of the bear’s face are the same color, but because of the way velvet reflects light they look different in this picture

The owner of the dress was very pleased with her bear, which Kristine made twice as big as her usual memory bears to accommodate the trim successfully. The ears are lined with satin from the bodice of the dress.

I can’t imagine a quilt made from a wedding dress would be very practical, but I think a memory bear is perfect!

If you want more information on how she did this, Kristine says you can contact her:

Kristine Rimmey, kjrimmey@gmail.com



Memory Bears: The Memory Quilt Alternative

A friend recently started making memory bears. I had never heard of them and hers are so cute I just had to tell you about them.

Some of Kristine’s bears

She has made these using discarded clothing as well as yardage. She has also successfully used upholstery fabric for some different textures.

This bear was made from a flannel shirt

If you want to give it a try, here is the pattern she uses. It’s available from Studio Stitch. (If you don’t see it on their website, just phone them.)

If you want to know more, here is her contact information. I refer friends who want a memory bear to her, since making stuffed animals is not in my skill set!

Kristine Rimmey, kjrimmey@gmail.com

Next week I’ll tell you about a particularly spectacular memory bear she made from a wedding dress. Please stay tuned!

Memory Quilts

If you’ve been quilting long, chances are someone has asked you to make a memory quilt. The most common request is to use the clothing of a deceased relative, though I’ve also seen memory quilts made from baby clothes, napkins used for a wedding reception, and even wedding dresses.

My grandmother made what I call the original memory quilt–I can find in her quilts a few scraps from dresses I remember.

vintage quilt

Some of the pieces I inherited; I recall some of this fabric as dresses!

So what do you do when asked to make a memory quilt? I have one friend who just made several and considered it an honor to be asked. Another friend has made several but I believe she was “guilted” into them.

People who make these requests are not quilters, so have no idea of the hours of work and financial cost of making a quilt. Figuring it was information we could all use, I asked a few friends to estimate the cost in hours and materials of making a lap-size quilt (approximately 60″ x 72″), assuming all the fabric for the quilt top came from clothing provided.

Here’s what I came up with:

How many hours does it take to make a lap-size quilt from a simple pattern? Please include the time required to deconstruct the clothing and prepare it for use.

Estimates ranged from about 80 hours to about 160 hours. Several people noted that preparing the clothing for use in quilt construction takes a considerable amount of time.

quilt blocks

Shirt fabrics made into blocks

How much would you typically spend on batting and backing for a lap-size quilt?

$45 – $75, though one quilter noted that she uses up stash for quilt backs so considers this a benefit rather than a cost!

tutorial quilt from shirts

Quilt from clothing fabric including khaki pants and pockets from both a shirt and a pair of jeans. Tutorial here

How much would you typically pay to have a lap-size quilt professionally quilted?

$90 to $115, with quilting thread included in this price

What other costs should be considered?

Thread for piecing and quilting is expensive, with Aurifil currently $13 a spool!

Many clothing fabrics need a special iron-on backing to be usable, and that can be expensive.

Some clothing fabric requires research and problem-solving. For example, one quilter recently backed an eyelet fabric with plain fabric after researching her options.

One quilter noted the “cause-and-effect cycle” as a cost 😀  She notes that any quilt leaves just enough fabric to start another quilt, which will require buying additional fabric to complete it, which will leave scraps…you get the picture!

What other issues should be considered?

A couple of quilters noted that it is meaningful to both the family and the quilter for someone familiar with the deceased to volunteer to make a quilt, vs hiring someone outside the family.

One quilter noted that she included stained clothing in a quilt because she knew the source of the stains and that makes her smile.

One quilter noted that it is a privilege to have the skills, materials, and time to make a quilt and she feels it is an honor to use those to help other people.

Memory quilt blocks made by Jerri Szlizewski. Each block has 77 pieces! But she selected the design and wanted to do it.

And a final note from me: I read an article many years ago suggesting that, if someone asks you to make a quilt, it’s fine to say yes, BUT specify that you must be the one to select the design. I think this is wise advice for many reasons.

So, what do you think? Do you make memory quilts? Why or why not?

Thanks to Chela, Jerri, Laura, and Linda for taking time to answer my questions.