One of the loveliest ways to commemorate the life of a departed loved one is to construct a memorial quilt. This project is not to be taken lightly, as it requires many hours and lots of skill to complete well. But most legacy projects similar to this are worth the time and effort and the results can be amazing!
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Here are some memorial quilt ideas for what items to use to construct a memorial quilt for your departed family member. Even if no one in your family has the patience and skill to complete a project like this, you may be able to hire someone to do the task for you.
Memorial Quilt Ideas and Themes
Quilts are lovely family heirlooms because they are attractive as well as useful. Using a quilt made from a loved one’s belongings is especially comforting to a person in mourning.
Here are some memorial quilts ideas that you may consider making in memory of a deceased friend or family member.
1. Apron quilt
Was your grandma known for wearing colorful aprons as she worked in the kitchen or outdoors? What will you do with the aprons once she is gone?
Someone extra crafty could create a quilt using the fabric from the larger aprons to create a series of small aprons on the quilt panels. If not enough material is available from the aprons, the fabric from your grandma’s familiar clothes could also be used.
2. Uniform quilt
Did your family member wear a uniform for work? Did he or she wear a self-imposed uniform? If you never saw your grandpa wear anything else than a denim work shirt or if your aunt worked as a nurse for decades, you may want to create a quilt made out of these well-worn clothes.
Don’t worry if the clothing has small holes or the collars are frayed. This “wear” will add to the charm of the project.
3. Grandma/grandpa/mom/dad t-shirt quilt
Did your parents or grandparents have a lot of “World’s Best” t-shirts? If he or she were given at least one of these often-gifted articles of clothing on every Mother’s Day or Christmas, you may have plenty to create a quilt. The only tricky part of creating this project is deciding who will be given the quilt to keep.
4. Favorite team quilt
Did your dad love the Yankees? Did your Mom always cheer for Duke? Create a quilt out of the old t-shirts, sweatshirts, pillowcases, or flags that show support for the favored team. This project is especially worthwhile if other members of the family are fans of the same team.
5. Favorite color quilt
Perhaps your loved one was known for having a signature color. If this is the case, you have a golden opportunity to create not only a project in memory of a loved one, but it could also be especially beautiful. If a color is your only consideration, you can go to your favorite quilt store to purchase fabric in your favorite style.
6. Favorite animal quilt
If your sister had an affinity toward cats, you could create a quilt to honor her with cat-themed fabric or patterns. If your uncle raised dairy cows, the quilt to honor him could include the black and white Holstein pattern. A favorite animal is an excellent opportunity to memorialize what made your loved one unique.
7. Profession quilt
If you have never taken the time to browse through a quilt shop, you may not realize that material is available that celebrates particular professions. Not every job may be given a fabric of its own but the most popular options are probably available.
Those who worked in education, the healthcare industry, served in the military, or worked as a farmer could be memorialized in a quilt. Of course, these specifically designed fabrics could be mixed with pieces of uniforms so the project feels more personal.
8. Holiday quilt
Did your mom go crazy every St. Patrick’s Day? Did your cousin especially love Halloween? One way to memorialize your loved one is to create a holiday-themed quilt to commemorate the life of a special person.
9. Tie quilt
If your dad or grandpa was known for wearing lots of formal clothes, especially ties or bowties, why not incorporate some favorites in the design? It may take a gifted quilter to complete this project but the results could be stunning.
10. Photo quilt
Through the magic of current technology, an image can easily be transferred to a piece of fabric. If you have memorable photographs of your loved one that you would like to be displayed along with meaningful pieces of fabric, why not consider making a photo quilt?
Memorial Quilt Sayings
You’re only limited by your own creativity when you make a quilt. Just as some people choose to remember a loved one by embroidering a T-shirt, sweater, or dress shirt pillow with memory pillow sayings, you can also use your favorite commemorative phrase on your memorial quilt.
This saying can be something specific to your loved one. For example, perhaps you would like future generations to know Papa’s often-shared words of wisdom. Or maybe you would like to share your husband’s favorite verse from the Bible. The quote could be about death, love, courage, or education.
Here are some sayings to consider.
Tip: Many of these sayings can also make meaningful additions to an online memorial page. Cake's online memorial pages are simple and streamlined, so you can set one up quickly and easily. They allow visitors to leave their own tribute messages as well as donate funds if you enable fundraising.
11. “All You Need Is Love” by The Beatles
John, Paul, George, and Ringo hit the nail on the head with this simple song title and lyric. Create a beautiful quilt around this saying using images of your loved one. This quote would be especially appropriate if the deceased was a fan of the Fab Four.
12. “A sweet friendship refreshes the soul” from Proverbs 27:9
Do you long for the time when you could sit for hours with your best friend? If you recently lost someone important to you, consider making a memorial quilt on her behalf.
13. “The song is ended, but the melody lingers on” by Irving Berlin
Was your loved one musically talented? Why not create a music-themed quilt with this quote in the center? Just as the melody lingers on in your mind after hearing a favorite song, memories of your loved one will become a part of your thoughts as well.
14. “Not all those that wander are lost” by J.R.R. Tolkien
Do you have a lot of travel T-shirts from your departed family member? You could create a travel-themed quilt with this quote displayed in the middle. Purchase fabric that looks like a map for the binding material.
15. “The sea, once it casts its spell, holds one in its net of wonder forever” by Jacques Cousteau
Was the beach your loved one’s happy place? Why not create a quilt made of tranquil blues and greens to capture the color of the ocean? Use this quote by Jacques Cousteau to tie it all together.
16. “Until I feared I would lose it, I never loved to read. One does not love breathing” by Harper Lee
Consider using this quote on the quilt if reading was an essential part of your loved one’s life. Ask for book-related material at your local quilt store or create a quilt that looks like a bookshelf.
17. “I cannot count a day complete, ’til needle, thread, and fabric meet.”
Did your loved one leave behind boxes of unused fabric? Perhaps your deceased loved one was an avid quilter or crafter, and to memorialize her, you create a quilt with materials that she picked out while living.
18. “The goal isn’t to live forever. The goal is to create something that will” by Chuck Palahniuk
When a person creates a quilt, he or she may view the piece as an heirloom. If handled carefully, quilts can survive generations.
Tip: Another way to honor a loved one with a permanent memento is with a memorial diamond. Eterneva specializes in unique, gorgeous diamonds created with ashes or hair.
Commemorate Your Loved One
How are you going to memorialize the person you lost? Maybe you’ll organize a concert of all your mother’s piano students. Maybe you share bulbs from your aunt’s flower garden so friends and neighbors can enjoy her irises. Or perhaps you are inspired by one of our ideas and you decide to create a quilt. From custom urns from Foreverence to unique mementos like quilts, there are no limits to how you honor your loved ones.
Quilts are beautiful ways to commemorate those we have lost. Even though they take a lot of time to create, the quilter can use the hours to reflect upon the life of the individual who is now gone. The work involved in creating the family heirloom can be a labor of love.