Pieces of the Heart Quilts: How they came to be
In March of 2006, my lifelong friend called to tell me that her Mom had passed away. She was saddened that her mom would never be able to see their new home which was under construction. This came up every time we spoke, so I decided something needed to be done.
Late one night, the answer came to me. I called Karen the next morning and asked her to bring over some of her mom's favorite clothes. I wanted to make her a quilt so that her mom would "be there" every morning when Karen got up.
The challenge then was to go through clothing and select just the right items to celebrate her mom...right for Karen, her children and grandchildren. Fortunately, her mom was affectionately known for the fun seasonal and holiday sweatshirts she loved to wear. So those and a few favorite house dresses, a robe, plus the pants she wore on her final trip to the hospital seemed just right.
The next task was to select a coordinating back fabric, which was easy because of her mom's love of birds, especially cardinals. I found the perfect fabric filled with her favorite birds that had surrounded her home. The quilt was named "Grandma's Sweatshirts," and thus was born the idea of a memory quilt.
And the idea blossomed. One day at Jazzercise I mentioned to a friend my quilting and Karen's mom's quilt. She was dumbfounded, as her daughter-in-law had just lost her father to Lou Gehrig's disease and was looking for someone to make a quilt of his clothes.
While meeting with this young woman with her newborn and toddler in tow, I heard wonderful stories about her father. What eventually emerged was a quilt of men's shirts: rugby, polo, Michigan, and Hawaiian, with a dash of bathrobe, a favorite suit and a Burberry raincoat mixed in for good measure.
This was the turning point for me.