More Memories

On Saturday, I promised another group of quilts from the book “Memory Quilts – with T-shirts, Autographs, and Photos” from Better Homes and Gardens. As you may recall, we looked at photo quilts and T-shirt quilts in our first post. Today, we will look at autograph quilts.

When most people think of the word ‘autograph’, the first thing that comes to mind is a famous person’s signature. Well, for these quilts, the famous people are the important people in your life. I’m actually going to use the term autograph very loosely for this post – because as you will see a little later, one of these projects doesn’t even use signatures!

For the first quilt, something that you might expect to be called an autograph quilt – and a great idea for a graduation party, wedding or baby shower! This project is a 30″ quilted pillow cover – see all of the white spaces? Guests at the graduation party will sign this, and it will be a great gift for the grad who is going to be living miles from home and familiar faces.

Autograph Pillow

For a project like this, make sure you use a true permanent marker – that is intended to last through the wash. If you don’t know what type of pen you will need, check with your fabric store, they will be able to help you.

This next quilt is more inspirational, with phrases like “be creative”, and “my first quilt retreat” on the borders. Looks like the phrases here may have been designed to encourage the creator of the quilt – what a great uplifting type of project that would be! Once again, this quilt uses permanent fabric markers to ink the messages.


And the final project is a wallhanging, designed to be a family tree of sorts. Family names have been embroidered onto the quilt, along with wedding dates for each of the quilter’s children.


Did you notice anything else about these quilts? They are all made using the same wallhanging pattern – but the various fabric choices really make each of them look very unique. With all three of these quilts in the same room, most people wouldn’t see they are all the same pattern at first glance.

We’ve talked about using permanent pens to autograph your quilts, and you’ve seen the results of using an embroidery machine. But there is another option that can be used, and we discussed that in an earlier post – you can use photo fabric. Transferring signatures or messages onto photo fabric paper and then incorporating that into your design. Think of preserving a message from a person who can’t be there to sign the quilt themselves – their message could be photocopied onto the photo fabric paper, and you could do all sorts of things with it! For those of you who haven’t seen the post on that idea yet – here’s the link.

Sheila Reinke, Heart of Sewing

Book Review: “Memory Quilts” by Better Homes and Gardens

Hello all! I bet you thought I’d forgotten you! I assure you that isn’t what’s happened, things have just been a bit – well I’ll say it’s been unusual and leave it at that! But you didn’t come here to read about what’s kept me from posting – you want to see what I have for you today, right? Then here we go….

Today, I’d like to share with you some quilts that were made from a great book titled “Memory Quilts – with T-shirts, Autographs, and Photos”. The book is by Better Homes and Gardens. This time of year, with graduations, new babies and weddings just around the corner, we all have great memories to preserve – and what better way to do so than with something you have designed yourself?

The first type of quilt discussed in this book is the T-shirt quilt. T-shirts can say so much about the owner of the shirt, and putting together an entire quilt of them can really be a great way to showcase their interests, accomplishments, and passions.

Also, making a quilt from those shirts that will probably never be worn again gives them a great new life! Particularly for the graduate who is moving onto a new stage in life, the shirt that was worn with pride at a high-school football game may not come out of the closet once they get to college. But a quilt made with those shirts will be displayed and used with pleasure. This book has great ideas whether your t-shirts are all the same size or you have to be creative to make the different sizes work together.

T-Shirt Quilt

Here is a T-shirt quilt made by Bev of Elkhorn, NE. What a great quilt for one of her kids to remember some high school activities. There weren’t enough T-shirts for a whole quilt, so she used some of the ideas in the book to make pieced blocks to fill in areas that might otherwise have had another T-shirt patch. The closeup view on the right will show you a bit more detail on the blocks if you click on it.

It’s rare to find T-shirts that have been made for different events and with different themes that all come in the same size. So determining a block sized based on your largest t-shirt patch can help in creating your design. Sewing the final quilt together becomes a snap – as you only have to decide how the blocks look best together.


This quilt had even more of a challenge when it came to block size – so the quilter become a bit more creative. As you can see if you click on the photo to the left, I have marked some areas where borders and fabric strips were added to the quilt to make things properly.

This style of filling in the spaces makes the quilt seem a bit more difficult, but if you lay things out ahead of time, you will find that it really isn’t too tricky. As you can see, this particular quilt has 5 bands going down the length of the quilt. Each band has it’s own width, so once you get going, it’s hard to make a mistake.

Of course, this is about memory quilting – not just T-shirt quilts. And what better way to preserve your memories than with photos? Many of us have groups of photos on our computer hard-drives, just waiting for that ‘perfect’ way to display them. But you don’t always want to make a photo album. Why not a memory quilt with photos?

What a cute quilt this grandma made featuring her granddaughter, Katrina Rose. And years from now, imagine Katrina enjoying the site of this quilt that was made just for her!

Photo Memory

Just imagine all the ideas you could do with this idea. Feature a wedding anniversary, church events, school days, etc. In the book it will teach you how to work with fabric sheets you can print photos on (you may remember that earlier I did a series of ideas on photo fabric printing).

Take a closer look at this image on the right – a digital photo, printed on fabric, and then a picture taken of that fabric – and it’s still beautifully clear! What a great way to preserve those precious memories!
Pick up this great new book! Get the family and friends involved in making memory quilts!
Sheila Reinke, Heart of Sewing
P.S. – watch for another idea from this book in a day or two.