A memory baby quilt: Reminding a mother in a gift for the next generation
When my mothers second great-grandchild was born I decided to make this quilt to give him something of his great-gandmother
Baby quilt: From grandparent's textile, to a baby quilt
Clasien her mother died in March. When they were clearing her house they found a beautiful piece of embroidery and a lot of red handkerchiefs.
Her mother lived on a farm, and farmers in the Netherlands traditionally wear red handkerchiefs.
Her mother was very excited about an upcoming great-grandchild. Sadly, she didn't witness the birth of that kid. So Clasien decided to make a baby quilt for the young boy with the embroidery and handkerchiefs, so he would have something of his great-grandmother.
She decided to use a cat quilt pattern because her mother and the father of the grandchild love cats. They even have cats that were born on the farm!
Listen to Clasien tell the story of her memory baby quilt:
Quilting to process grief
The making of this quilt took several months. It helped me to say goodbye to my mother.
Making a memory quilt is not only a good way to keep the memory of a person alive. It is also a way to process grief and to say goodbye to a person. Making this cat baby quilt helped Clasien to say goodbye to her mother, and making a quilt of her sister's clothes helped Floor to process the anger and grief of loosing her sister.
Using the embroidery and the handkerchiefs in the quilt is a way of keeping the memory of my mother for the next next next generation for a bit.
Quilt Technique meets meaningful design
I found pictures of cats on the internet and I managed to turn them into a patchwork pattern. After that, it was a bit of a puzzle to place the hankerchiefs.
Making a memory quilt is a beautiful conversation between the fabric you want to use and quilt techniques and design. It's a process of remembering people, places or events while finding a way to make the important fabrics stand out in a quilt.
In this quilt, Clasien has used the handkerchiefs to give texture to the head and the body of the cats.
The fabric on the background has text on it 'hope, inspire' etc. All things you wish to a newborn in his life.
Conclusion: Adding a name to the quilt
The centrepiece of the quilt is her grandmothers' embroidery. The name of the young boy is added to tie the generations together.
In this way, the history and the meaning of this quilt will be remembered for as long as the quilt will be treasured. And with a quilt this special and cute, that is going to be a long time!
That is also why labelling your quilt is important. It's a way for future generations to know who made the quilt and with what intent.
Conclusion: Quilt storytelling as meaning-making
This story is part of the Quilt Chronicles. With the Quilt Chronicle project, I invite everyone to share the story of the quilts in their life. This shows how quilts add and create meaning in everyday life. Today, Clasien shared her story of the memory baby quilt to connect her mother and her mother's great-grandchild.
Do you also have a story to tell? Share it in the comments or email me.