For as long as I have been Piccolo Studio, and even before, I have been making memory quilts. Some are publicly shared, some are privately given and all are gifted by me to families who have lost children. Over the course of the past 4 years I have been lucky enough to work closely with grieving families to give them something tangible to hold onto and wrap themselves in. I am a strong believe in the power of fabric and the memories it holds. We underestimate these memories until they, along with photos, are all we have. And it is an absolute privilege for me to turn pieces of clothing, blankets and wraps into a quilt that I hope provides comfort when needed most.
Beau’s memory quilt is the first I have blogged because most were done before these writing days. I plan however on posting some of my earlier ones to here too over the coming weeks as a way to keep them all together. For many of my families sharing their story is powerful especially in terms of the support they receive as a result. It is super hard to send these precious pieces to a complete stranger and trust the process and I get that completely. And I also get that grief looks different for every single I family I work with. That is why making these quilts does not come with anything other than love. It is never for self promotion. I share as much or as little as families are comfortable with and, if that means not one single picture gets shared, then I am completely fine with that. My sole aim is to wrap as many grieving families up as I can in the course of my lifetime. It is a super special part of what I do as a quilter, and like I said an absolute privilege. Maybe it is because I am Hannah’s mother I feel the connection more strongly? I like to think she has made me a better mother and person over the course of her amazing life.
One thing that strikes me most is that when sending clothes to me it is rarely the fancy ones that get sent. Usually it is the grubby t shirt, stained onesies, old pilled pjs that make the pile. Why? Well because that is where most of our daily memories and smiles are made. Some times I get a small bag, other times multiple boxes. I work with all of them to create the best quilt I can. It isn’t about being a technically good quilter although you have to have a great knowledge of how different fabrics work together especially when stretch is involved.
And the stories. They always break my heart. No mother should be sending me clothes to make these quilts from. I have so much respect for their grace, courage and strength even in the face of tremendous grief. Watching a memory quilt be made can be harrowing as you are bombarded with memories from all those tiny squares. Good memories, sad memories and all the mundane ones in between that suddenly become the most important of all.
Beautiful Beau was 22 months old when he passed suddenly without warning. He was so loved. A gorgeous little brother to Noah who was only 3 at the time. His lovely mum still lives with questions that could possibly never ever have answers. Beau’s clothes were simple as boys clothes usually are. Filled with images that showed just how loved he was. I aimed to keep the images as whole as possible in so the quilt can never be planned until I have the pieces in front of me. In Beau’s case it turned out to be a simple quilt that tells the story of a much loved little brother.
One little feature I kept was the pocket from Beau’s tracksuit pants. I decided to keep it functional so a small photo or other memory could be placed in there if wanted. I think it adds a sweet feature to the quilt.
As you can see from the quilting it was important to me to protect the stability of the fabric first and foremost so the quilt could be used and loved for ever without fear of it damaging or stretching. simple lines just over an inch apart will keep everything all nicely together and safe.
Sweet Beau, I wish your family love above all else. Thank you for trusting me with your special memories Jen, I hope I have done them justice