Stitch Generations Together with Photo Memory Quilts

For the last few years I’ve been working with the same talented crew twice yearly at “Quilting Arts TV” tapings. While the TV show and videos are being recorded, I sit in the control room along with three videographers and monitor the action. It is a friendly crew with a fun and youthful vibe, and we look forward to reconnecting at each session.

Last fall I noticed that Kara, one of the editors, was wearing a particularly fun vintage skirt. The dark fabric had a unique 1950s look–lots of aqua accents and distinct graphics. Clearly, this was no ordinary piece of clothing. It must have a story.

custom quilt by vivika hansen denegre
My memory quilt featuring a photo of
Kara’s grandmother wearing the skirt,
flanked by Kara’s grandfather and her mom.

It seems that Kara was the lucky recipient of her grandmother’s mid-century skirt collection. But there’s more: here’s a photo of Kara’s grandmother wearing the same skirt–more than 50 years ago. I don’t know about you, but this gave me goose bumps.

The very afternoon we had this conversation, Lesley Riley filmed her Quilting Arts WorkshopTM video, Modern Memory Quilts: Tell Stories in Fabric with Image Transfers, Crazy Quilting, and More.

back of memory quilt vivika hansen denegre
The back of this memory quilt features a photo
of Kara wearing her grandmother’s skirt.

I tapped Kara on the shoulder and said, “Send me the photos and any scraps from shortening the skirts, and I’ll make you a memory quilt inspired by Lesley’s video.”

Sure enough, the next week I had a box of fabric, a stack of photos, and a very excited friend waiting for her personalized quilt. With Lesley’s wonderful instruction, a package of Transfer Artist Paper, a few of my own reproduction fabrics, and some wonderful vintage inspiration, the final quilt was a joy to make.

I love how quilting connects me to others. Making a modern memory quilt of my own not only brought me happiness, but now my friend can also enjoy the connections she has to her past every time she sees this custom quilt.

photo transfer on a pieced purse vivika hansen denegre
Here’s another way to use photos and fabric together to preserve memories.

Making memory quilts, accessories, and more with photos is easy with TAP and Lesley’s instruction on Modern Memory Quilts.

P.S. Do you have vintage clothing or fabric passed down from a relative? If so, how do you like to use it? Share your fabric memories below.

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2 thoughts on “Stitch Generations Together with Photo Memory Quilts

  1. After my mother died, I used her clothes to make a quilt for my dad and teddy bears for the grandchildren. These gifts helped everyone heal after losing her to a long illness.