I am always touched by the glimpse into the life of the person for whom a memory gift is being made. I have made a lot of T Shirt Memory Quilts for high school graduates, which is a celebration of the high school and grade school years. I’ve had the opportunity to create baby quilts from Mom and Dad shirts, a celebration of two lives coming together to make a new one! I’ve also made a few quilts in memory of deceased loved ones. This past month has been filled with making memory items – quilts and pillows. When I work on the quilts, for example, I am touched by the types of shirts that I see and get a glimpse into the ordinary life of someone.
Last week, a mom of Annie’s friend from school brought over her brother’s high school varsity jacket (or letter jacket.) She asked me to make a pillow from it. She told me that he was not doing well but that it would be a comfort to his family. She is also planning to make a T Shirt quilt and her brother’s wife is going to use the football patch to make something else. (I already removed the patch in the photo above.)
The jacket was a lovely, vintage style jacket, made with wool. It is quite different from today’s style which has leather in it. My son, who loves all things sports and vintage, couldn’t bear to see me cut into it. I had a hard time cutting into it, too.
Until Annie learned that the jacket’s owner had died. He was my age, I noted, by the ’81 class year on the arm. So I quickly set about finishing the pillow. I purchased the only fabric that I could find as a border fabric but when I got it home I simply didn’t like it. I decided to go back and look for a grey wool or wool felt. In the end, I selected a charcoal grey polar fleece.
The main motif is from the back of the jacket. For the back side of the pillow, I cut apart the hood. The jacket had a snap on hood with a zipper so that it would lay flat on the jacket. (Another nice feature which has gone by the wayside in the modern jackets.) I had enough fabric to piece together the back side.
I added an invisible zipper so that the pillow could be removed and cleaned if desired.
I continue to be amazed by the struggles of those who battle cancer. It is my hope that this pillow can bring a bit of comfort and some happy memories to a hurting family.
What a wonderful service you offer to families. I can only imagine how joyous and at times sad and heartfelt, making these are for you. I am sure the family will treasure this gift.
I think what you do is wonderful. Giving people their memories in cloth form.
It turned out wonderfully!