Friday, November 18, 2011

Ties That Bind is finished

Last year when my father-in-law, Pop died I knew I wanted to create something out of his shirts.  He was such an amazing influence on us as a married couple.  I lived with Pop and Nana while Bear was in basic training and Gadget boy was only 2.

I learned to love my in-laws very much during that time and respect who they became in my life.

Pop was such a frugal man. He regularly shopped at yard sales, but brought home only what he knew he could use.  He regularly repurposed items--old wood, old tools, wooden handles, etc.  Tape, wire and staples were what held much of his surroundings together. 

So when I thought about how I would recreate a quilt memorial in his honor, scrappy became the method.

Nana, Bear and I stood near his closet as we pulled clothes out and scanned them all.  His shirts were plaids, beiges, yellows--homespun and earthy--just like he was.  I took a dozen shirts and about as many ties. 

On the way home from our visit, I cut apart his shirts and pulled off buttons.  The ties sat forlorn in the bottom of the bag.

Frankly, they scared me. 

Cotton is easy to sew with, and I can handle the occasional double-knit polyester "snuggle quilt." I recently even made a cute baby quilt out of t-shirt knits.  But slippery ties in silky fabric, that have been cut on the bias and pulled, folded, and tied for years didn't seem that easy. So they sat.

I eventually started taking them apart--if I did it carefully, I could just pull one string and the chain stitching would unravel. I pressed, and folded and then they sat in a small container on the top shelf of the sewing room closet for a few more months.

Meanwhile I worked on the quilt for Nana.  She needed to feel the comfort of a quilt around her shoulders. Her quilt was finished in time for her birthday, in February the following year.  Her quilt can be seen here.

Recently Nana said that Jane has been feeling really overwhelmed and reclusive.  I think she is just now beginning to grieve after a year.  Grief can be a difficult thing to deal with and if we don't allow ourselves to properly deal with loss, it can trip us up and make other areas in our life fall apart.

Bear went back home to help Nana with some winterizing and he suggested that it was time for Jane to have something tangible to help with her grief. 

I felt also that I was now better equipped to tackle the tricky job of all those slippery fabrics.

I adhered them to lightweight interfacing and cut them into strips.  I pieced them on top of rectangles of old phone book pages and made strippy blocks. 

I ran out of blocks before I had it big enough so I searched through my Bonnie Hunter of Quiltville-books and came up with an appropriate border to use. The rick-rack border on this quilt seemed to fit the style of Pop's quilt.  After looking at it for a while it reminds me more of the lattice that covers the covered patio in their backyard.  I think it's an appropriate design element.
The final border is also a criss-cross pattern that reminds me of the sunshine and shadow patterns around the patio.

It is quilted with hearts and swirls to "wrap arms of love" around my dear sister-in-law. The border is the same feathered flower that I quilted on Nana's quilt.  Poppa loved to garden and flowers and feathers remind me of him.

I can't wait until she sees it at Christmas time.


Mary Beth said...

What a wonderful memorial and they are beautiful. The article is so touching. I could feel the love your family has. Thank you

Reenie said...

Oh, that is GORGEOUS!!! What an undertaking. I think it would have scared the devil out of me to even try this! GREAT job!!!

Michelle said...

I think that's the neatest looking tie quilt I've seen!

Melody said...

What a fun blog! You visited mine, so I returned the favor. If you're interested, I'm finally back from a blogging vacation I took this summer. I may start posting on a regular basis... Looking forward to "getting to know you" better!


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