Many years ago, a very sweet coworker by the name of Brenda, found out she had cancer. A very severe form of cancer in her throat. She would have to travel to Gainesville, Florida and stay there for many weeks for radiation and chemo therapy. She was very upset not only for her health, but also because she would miss her granddaughters while she was gone. Brenda is a very devoted mother and grandmother. A very religious and family oriented woman.
This was in the very early days of my desire to make quilts. I wanted to do something special to cheer her up. I asked Brenda if she would like me to make her a memory quilt using her granddaughters clothes. That, of course, made her very happy. She brought in a bunch of their favorite things, including the receiving blanket, and I went to work.
That quilt made her so happy. I brought it to work and when she picked it up, she had her granddaughters with her. They were little. Seems like maybe five and six. They kept looking at the quilt saying I remember that shirt. Oh look at that! Everyone was happy. She sent me pictures later of her wrapped in that quilt during her chemo therapy treatments. She would tell all the nurses how I made it for her. Brenda survived her cancer and is still with us today. 💗
Flash forward to about 2017. Brenda’s mom passed away. She comes to my office to tell me and has a request. She had come home after the funeral with several bags of her Mom’s clothes and wanted me to make her five memory quilts. One for each of her sisters, her daughter, and I believe a cousin.
She met me at my house and showed me all the clothes. She gave me complete creative license to do whatever I wanted. She picked out one shirt that she wanted to base each quilt on and then gave me the name of the person who would receive it. So while I was working on each quilt I knew the name of the loved one I was making it for. It made it kind of special to me too. 💗
I sorted all the clothes by color and divided them up so that I had five groups. Sometimes I use some of my fabric to trim the quilt but Brenda said she only wanted her moms clothes on the front of the quilts. I also used them for the binding. She provided the backers. This was the project of a lifetime and I was so happy to do it.
This was the first one. I used some of the red, black and white clothes. There is a picture in the middle that says “Born in America A Long, Long Time Ago”. There was also some white fabric with flowers on it. I loved it. Of course I fall in love with all my quilts. 💗
The second one I used all the denim, whites and yellows. The picture doesn’t do it justice but it turned out so nice. The yellow picture in the middle was a T-shirt with a family picture that read “This is what 85 Years Gets You”. I loved that. 💗
Number three was with a T-shirt that said “Grandmas are Special Friends”. I used a combination of burgundy colors. 💗
Quilt number four was based on a very pretty blouse. So pretty I did not want to cut it into squares. I left the front complete with the trim and buttons and worked around it. I believe a pretty nightgown was used as the trim. The quilt was a combination of turquoise, black and white. It was one of my favorites. 💗
The last one was based on a lovely sweater. It was one of those sweaters we wore back in the 70s and 80s. It had a zipper on the front. I left that zipper on it. I wanted to do it so you could open it and hide something in it but I can’t remember if I actually accomplished that. That was one of my favorites also. 💗
It was the best project ever and I will always love Brenda for trusting me with the abilities to accomplish it. 💗
“This is what 85 Years Gets You!!”Carol A. Bishop November 17, 2019.