Last week was both sad and shocking for our church family and for our community of Lillington, NC. A wonderful, Christian young man, leader in our church youth group, lost his life in a tragic car accident. The heavy rains on Tuesday afternoon precipitated hydroplaning conditions, and Michael lost control of his car, crashing into a utility pole. Hubby and I grieve for his family’s loss yet know his heavenly home is a far better place.
One of the ladies in our church’s Wednesday morning sewing group suggested that we make a memory quilt for the family. We knew, however, that we should not ask for t-shirts or other clothing so soon after Michael’s passing, and we knew we did not have time to make a quilt prior to the memorial service on Saturday. We decided to lay the groundwork for a memory quilt by providing the opportunity for friends to sign fabric panels that we will later use when constructing a quilt.
Anticipating a large crowd at the memorial service, I purchased 2 yards of Ready for Dying (RFD) fabric at Sew There! Quilts and More in Angier, NC. And my friend Kay picked up a package of 6 Sakura Micron pens (permanent ink, archival safe). Since RFD fabric is not coated with dyes, chemicals or sizing, I surmised it would accept the ink better. I cut the fabric into half yards and then divided the half yards in two, slicing on the fold. Then I measured and cut pieces of freezer paper 18″ x 23″ to fit the pieces of fabric. After pressing the waxy side of the freezer paper to each piece of fabric with a hot, dry iron, I marked a grid on each with a blue water soluble marker. Each square was about 4 1/4″ x 4 1/4.” (Click on the picture to zoom in to better see the grid lines.)
In the reception area, Kay and I set up the fabric and pens along with a framed invitation to write a message of love and encouragement for Michael’s family. I believe this activity gave Michael’s friends an opportunity to express their overflowing emotions. There are spaces left in the fabric grid, so folks who did not attend the service can add their sentiments prior to our making a quilt. Providing a grid for signing increases our options for using the panels. For example, we can simply use the panels on the front or on the back of the quilt. Or, since most people stayed within the blue lines, we could cut up a panel and incorporate the squares in patchwork on the front of the quilt and use other panels on the back.
I realize this has not been a happy blog post full of brightly colored quilt patches, but I thought it useful to share an idea that you may use in the future. Memory quilts bring comfort and encouragement, and the fabric preparation process detailed above could help you in a similar situation.