keeping warm.

by @according2kelly on January 22, 2008

have you ever been given a gift that didn’t just tug at your heart strings, but pulled & pulled them hard? several years ago i got married… i remember we were at a bridal shower for me. surrounded by many of our nearest & dearest. the next gift in the pile read “love, mom”, & i was excited to see what she had chosen for me. a waffle iron? that kitchen-aid i’d been eyeing? bed linens? towels perhaps? you never know what you’re going to get from my mom, she’s always liked surprising us kids. so, when the present finally arrived in my lap, i tore into it, as eager as a child on christmas morning. totally expecting some BIG item off my registry, you can imagine my surprise when i found a blanket beneath all that beautiful wrapping paper. that surprise quickly changed to joy, love & a plethora of other feelings as i realized what i was holding. i had known she had been working on a special project, but i had had no idea it would be this. (click on picture to enlarge)

now, to the untrained eye, this appears to be simply a blanket, you might even go so far as to call it a quilt. but if you were to really study it, you would realize that it is made of clothes. you might even notice a clothing label or two, perhaps a shirt pocket, a couple of buttons, even a logo or two. and to you, the untrained eye, this might seem a bit odd. but for me, a soon-to-be-bride, it meant the world. for each & every square, each piece of clothing portrayed a memory. there were the pjs my dad wore nearly every day, his work shirts & golf shirts, bits of the shirts he wore to church on sundays… pieces of his life. (click on picture to enlarge)

and once you realize & understand that i knew my dad wouldn’t be there with me, celebrating my big day, having this quilt, meant that i would always have a piece of him with me, & that meant more than anything, i’ll ever be able to put into words.

just recently, actually for christmas, gavin & owen each received their own special blankets from my mom. once again, the gifts were a total surprise. this time around instead of using clothes, her medium was photos. using pictures of everyone in our family (that she had printed on fabric), she made the boys (& my niece kate too) their own patchwork blankets. the kids spend a little time, every day, just looking, pointing & naming everyone in each of the pictures. now, even though we don’t live as close as we like, we always have family with us. (click on picture to enlarge)

it’s been said that “our lives are like quilts – bit & pieces, joy and sorrow, stitched with love.” i for one definitely agree, & have at least three quilts to prove it.

22 comments
Dutchnic
Dutchnic

That is absolutely beautiful!

Darilyn
Darilyn

Thanks for sharing this Kelly. I've been saving my girls favorite pieces of clothes since they were born to make them a quilt when they graduate from High school. I have 4 more years to go until my first one graduates and recently I was wondering if all my saving has been worth it. Will they really care? Will it be worth the work? But your post has helped me feel so much better about this long term project of mine. Thanks.

Lacey
Lacey

Kel, that is one amazing quilt! I never met your dad, but I have always heard amazing things about him. What a great post!

Amanda
Amanda

What a wonderful story, thanks for sharing those beautiful quilts with us. How fabulous that you are able to have those memories.

Brent, Bethany, and Brooke
Brent, Bethany, and Brooke

Hi Kelly, I think we've been emailing back and forth about getting me in the travel swap, and I'm not sure you have been receiving my emails. I'd leave all the information in this comment but I'd prefer not to leave my street address in it! Will you let me know if you received the emails? Thanks! Bethany_468@hotmail.com

Mom2fur
Mom2fur

Oh, what a beautiful idea! Please, write down the meaning of the patches and keep it in a safe place. Someday, a child or a grandchild will love to know the stories of 'grandpa'!

Julie Julie Bo Boolie
Julie Julie Bo Boolie

Those are beautiful. I gave my mom a calendar with family photos in it for Christmas this year.. it was definitely the HIT (and my sisters both asked for one too). A memory quilt is even better!

scissorspaperglue
scissorspaperglue

what an amazing wedding gift your mom gave you. just such a beautiful sentiment.

RoRo
RoRo

Those are the best quilts! I have heard of making quilts out of the clothes your kids love to wear, or from your favorite jeans etc... What a great wonderful mom you have:)

The Days
The Days

What a sweet way to remember your dad and have your family with you! My mom did that for my Grandma this year who lives far away from all of us. It's really the little sentimental things that are so priceless!

gab
gab

This is so precious! What a priceless heirloom. You are so blessed to have a wonderful mother.

crystal
crystal

These are heirlooms! Treasures, all three. What a mom.

Ashlee
Ashlee

Honestly, I almost had to wipe away a tear...I love gifts from the heart. So much more than any other kind.

ginger
ginger

It is so wonderful that your mother held on to the pieces of your father, and was able to make them into a quilt for you to hold. Sometimes something tangible is all we need to get us through a rough spot.

mama jo
mama jo

gee, thanks kel, that was a sweet post...not because i made them, but just reading your sweet thoughts...the blankets made of dad's clothes are very special to me also...whenever i wrap up in them, i think of him...actually, i think of him more than that...but, you know...

Traci
Traci

What a neat idea for sure! Blankets can have so much meaning! Love the picture ones too your kids got! You mom is awesome!

Stie: My Favorite Things
Stie: My Favorite Things

What a beautiful post. I love that you have that quilt made from your dad's shirts. Your mom is fantastic. And the picture ones? Adorable.

April
April

What a nice mother and what nice blankets.

marta
marta

this is so sweet. i love this idea and can imagine having your dad's beloved favorite clothes near you would bring such comfort! mama jo is the best! i love that she made itty bitty blankets for the wee ones. what a thoughtful grandma!

Andrea
Andrea

This is just beautiful. What a special gift. My husband works in the film industry and I have been saving T-shirts from the movies he has worked on and the studios he has done work for just for something like this. On another note, I sent the info to the other email so hopefully you received it. Let me know or try me at andrea.mulholland@gmail.com

Make and Takes
Make and Takes

Love the memory quilts. Especially the clothing one, but I love the photograph one too. What will your Mom do next?

declanium
declanium

beautiful, just beautiful.........i think that there is a service that makes these too, and seeing as i am not artistically inclined, i might have to employ one.

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