|Brynwood Needleworks - Grief Quilt|
Yesterday, I helped a friend with a very important project. Amanda, asked me to help her in her effort to fulfill a request from her sister-in-law to create a grief quilt, using important elements personally chosen by the mother.
Amanda came over in the morning with a bagful of various items. There were t-shirts, baby clothes, blankets and tiny caps. Each was rolled up with a note, secured with a rubber band. The notes explained the level of importance of each piece, and its significance to her.
You see, my friend's sister-in-law lost her sweet baby girl thirty six hours after she was born. She was severely compromised and doctors actually never expected her to live to be born. Her parents chose to take her to term and were able to hold her so she could feel their love before she passed.
|Brynwood Needleworks - Grief Quilt Little Birds|
Once I had an understanding of the significance of all these elements, I decided that everything would be treated with equal importance. To this mommy, they all represented the life of her lost baby. The finished project will be her tangible link to a child she can no longer hold in her arms.
We opened up every rolled treasure, and discussed how to use them to the best advantage. Because of the variety of fabrics, colors, textures and "stretchiness", I determined that we should stabilize many of the fabrics to keep them from distorting before they could even be sewn into the quilt. So, we cut and immediately fused the t-shirts that we cut, and then we fused other items that were taken apart to keep them stable, too.
|Brynwood Needleworks - Grief Quilt Mommy's Sweetie|
We opened the seams of this sweet baby onesie, and then fused the front to the woven stabilizer. Once it was secured, we zigzagged the little monkey edge to one edge of the fabric she chose for the background for this block, and then turned and fused the opposite side of the onsie to the block to be hand appliqued'. The fabric with the tiny lavender and green buds is the fabric that will be used for the quilt. (The blue and brown hearts to the right of the onsie are actually my table cover on the table in our dinette area, and not a part of the quilt at all.)
Amanda is going to take the lavender flower off this little cap (which perfectly matches the little bows and lettering on the garment) and sew it over the missing sleeve, as shown.
|Brynwood Needleworks - Grief Quilt Hawaiian Ruffled Fabric|
This child's mommy and daddy loved Hawaii and spent their honeymoon there. They brought back a sweet ruffled top and bloomers. I took the outfit apart, salvaged the elastic ruffles and the long pieces that were gathered to create the top. I also kept the labels which will be worked into a seam next to this fabric. (You can see how she might incorporate those elements into the quilt if you look back at the first photograph.)
|Brynwood Needleworks - Grief Quilt Fabrics|
Once Amanda had a concept for the quilt, she was ready to go home and tackle the rest of the prepping for the quilt. She took the tiny lavender bud fabric (and another coordinating piece) I gave her and headed to the fabric store for a coordinating sashing, backing and binding fabric.
These are the fabrics she chose. the strips over the top of the bolts are the two fabrics I shared with her. She's actually planning to make two different pieces; one for each parent. The bottom (white) is Pellon Shape-Flex Lightweight Fusible Woven (SF-101) which will stabilize the other stretchy garments she's cutting up. The greens will likely be the sashing and backing, and the top, dot fabric was chosen for binding.
I'll likely see her again once everything is prepared for joining. I'll help her trim and join her blocks, and help make her fabric decisions for each application (if she asks).
I do know one thing is certain...Amanda's efforts will result in a beautiful pair of grief quilts for her family members, and will offer some comfort to them in their deep grief. I was honored that she asked for my help in such an important piece.