Thursday, June 10, 2010

Memory Rag Quilt

Last night, I decided I was going to make a rag quilt. I had so many t-shirts from my mom sitting in a bin in my closet. My mom passed away a little over 5 years ago of brain cancer after a 13 month battle. I was two months pregnant, and because she wasn't able to comprehend or talk the last few months, I don't think she ever knew. It has been pretty hard to deal with having watched her battle cancer, and to lose her before I had babies or got married (yes, baby came first, then marriage).

So, I took some of the items of clothing she had and saved them. They were favorite shirts, favorite dresses; different meaningful items. I've had them tucked in my closet, wondering what to do with them.

I've been seeing a lot of posts about rag quilting lately, and lots of items in my sewing magazines, so I thought I'd give it a try. I knew it wouldn't be the full-out rag quilt look I saw in those places, as many of her t-shirts and such were a jersey knit and therefore don't fray - but I thought it would look great all the same.

I also wanted it to look scrappy, so I sewed "x" across each square with white thread. I just wanted it to look...raw would be the best word, I guess. I don't LOVE the "x"'s now that I see them, but they are okay.

And, just because I'm that nice, I'm going to post a little lesson learned: Don't use your fabric cutter at the same time you are watching the Stanley Cup game and your team is making a comeback, lol! I had my cutting board and t-shirt, my square stencil and my fabric slicer all set up on the floor in front of the tv. Bad idea, I know, but hey, hindsight is 50/50! One exciting play and *slice* - I sliced into the top of my pointer finger (luckily I'm not left handed) and cut halfway through the nail. Yowsers! I think my nail will probably fall off, and it hurts. And bled. I won't show pictures because that would just be mean, but, can I get a little sympathy, lol?

I used some clothes that I remember her in, and some we bought during her treatment. I know, people ask why would I use something from when she was sick - wouldn't it be a reminder? It is, but it reminds me of how hard she fought, and some of the fun we had together during that time. Other pieces are of clothing I bought her to make her comfortable, and I like the comfort I get from those same clothes in return now.

So anyway, here is the finished product. I used a square picture frame mat to cut the squares out. Each square was 10 x 10. Sewed an X through each one, sewed them across, 5 to a row, with an inch border on each one to make the raggy parts. 8 rows of squares down. There are a couple duplicate squares, to fill in spaces.

I love it. And the best part is, I get to snuggle up with it and feel like my mom is still around me. I can't wait to start using this, as I just finished it last night, then washed and dried it overnight. I can use each square to tell my kids my memories about their grandma, who they were never given the opportunity to meet. And that will give me a chance to remember her more often, and maybe over time my heart will heal a little more.

Thank you for reading! Have a GREAT day!

This square is from a shirt I bought her right after her diagnosis, because the brain tumor made her forget words or stories or how to say things. So we'd laugh it off, and she loved this shirt!

This square is from the shirts we wear for the Relay for Life in her honor. Our team is "From Dusk til Dawn"

This is from a shirt that had the rhinestone "D" on it, and she got me a matching one with a rhinestone "A" for my name. I loved wearing that shirt. I put my matching shirt square on here, too.

This is from the American Brain Tumor Association's 5k that we did last month, in honor of the 5 year anniversary of my mom's passing.

This is from a shirt we bought together. It had a matching jean jumper. We shared both of them - we did that with a lot of clothes. And jewelry. I couldn't bear to donate this when we donated most of her clothes, because it was from one of our last shopping trips before she got sick.

This was from her FAVORITE dress. She wore this jumper all the time. And she went through some trouble at some point, because she sent it to get drycleaned and it got ripped and she went through a battle with the place to get them to fix it, which they finally did. But it was hysterical, her stories about it!

And this is from the pair of pajama pants I brought her when she was in the hospital the first time. I wanted her to be comfy so I bought her some new pajama pants and jogging pants. I've been wearing these myself, but wanted them as part of the blanket.

I'm linking up here today:


  1. What a wonderful way to honor your Mom! I just love this! Thanks for linking it to Modern Craftswoman Monday! Rory

  2. That is so sweet! I love it!

  3. It is beautiful and wonderful. I am sitting her at my computer having a little cry reading your story. I'm glad you had many happy memories with your Mom. Yes, it is hard not having a parent ever see you get married or have babies (my Dad died a year before I met my husband). But, I like to think that my husband and children know my Dad through the stories that I share. And now your whole family will have this lovely quilt to talk about.

  4. Lovely quilt! Thanks for sharing!

  5. That is so beautiful and I am very sorry for you loss. It is very painful to lose a parent.

  6. that is such a great story! My dad is currently battling cancer, so I have felt that fear of losing him. I started crying reading this because I can tell from it how much you loved her and think it is a wonderful tribute to her!

  7. What a lovely idea. Thank you so much for posting this! My grandmother is suffering from severe dementia and doesn't understand that I am pregnant with my first. She and I were always very close and it's hard for me that my son will never know her as I do. I am totally inspired to make something like this so that I can wrap my son in memories of his great grandma.

  8. I can't believe that I came across this post because I am doing almost the same thing with my husbands grandmother's clothes. She died about 6 months ago at the age of 103. I saved most of her clothes and I have been cutting them up into squares. I have never sewn before but I wanted to make some quilts out of her clothing for her son who is 85, one for her great grandchild who is 2 and one for us. I love the thought of snuggling with them and remembering her and all the beautiful times we shared. I can still smell her presence even though all of the clothes have been washed. It is a very moving and sacred feeling to be making these quilts. Thanks for sharing the pictures and all of your thoughts and memories about your Mother. You made a beautiful quilt and an amazing memory.

  9. This touched my heart .My mom just died from a fall she hit her head .We buried her August the 24th she was only 69 yrs old,I miss her terribly,and trying to keep my brain from running away from me found this sight ,I'm thinking of things to do to stay busy so I don't cry as often as I do and I thought sewing and don't even know how I got here,You touched my heart and I'm thinking of her nightgowns and booties that I have of her ,But don't know how to sew : ( .I pray the warmth of your blanket brings you some comfort .Maybe one day I will learn I would love to so ,I too can have a memento of my Mom.Thank you for sharing this with me <3



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