Mini Keepsake Quilt-Along ~ Passage Quilting™ Tutorial ~ Part 1

I am so impressed with all of the comments about ideas and materials for keepsake quilts, by those of you who entered the Whip Up Mini Quilt Book Giveaway. The possibilities are endless.

Choosing Your Materials

If you have gathered your materials and are ready to begin, guess what? You have already completed the first, and one of the most significant steps, of the process. For those of you still on the fence, choose materials and pieces of clothing that resonate most strongly with memory and meaning. These will be the heart of your piece.

  • Choose the most resonant materials for the heart of your piece.
  • Supplement with less resonant pieces but good colors, texture, pattern, etc.
  • Don’t limit yourself to woven cotton materials. Anything goes except for leather.
  • For a mini quilt try to limit yourself to two or three pieces.
  • Beware of too many t-shirt logos.

For the Mini Quilt that I created for Kathreen’s book, I asked my friend Liz to provide only two pieces of clothing, one from her son’s infancy and one from her pregnancy. These two pieces represented her passage into motherhood, while celebrating the life of her first child.

A mini quilt is a small format so I recommend that you limit yourself to two or three pieces of clothing. Include more pieces if you want to make a larger quilt. The finished size of my mini quilt is only 30″ x 24″.

Cutting the Clothing Apart

You can always cut your clothing into small squares and create a nine-patch keepsake quilt. However, Passage Quilting™ is about the process of transition, growth and healing. For this reason I work with the architecture of the clothing to create an improvised quilt without a predetermined pattern.

  • As you begin to cut your clothing apart consider which architectural features you want to include in your quilt and cut accordingly.
  • Cut the clothes along seam lines.
  • Remove extra linings and bulky seams.
  • Prep, cut apart, all of your materials before moving to the piecework.

Next Monday, in Part 2 of the Keepsake Quilt-Along, we will begin making blocks or sections from our clothing parts. I will also review tips on improvisation and curve piecing techniques.

What was it like to cut apart your meaningful materials? Was it liberating? Scary? Sad? Joyous? A relief? A surprise? A mixture of emotions? Please share!

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3 Responses to Mini Keepsake Quilt-Along ~ Passage Quilting™ Tutorial ~ Part 1

  1. Tricia C says:

    I’ve followed your blog for a while and have loved your keepsake quilts. My father just died this past Thursday. As we’ve gone through his belongings, I have been collecting his shirts and ties. I’m a teacher, so I plan to make two quilts from his clothing while I’m off this summer – one for me and one for my sister. Still can’t quite wrap myself around his death; I’m hoping the quilt process will help. Thanks so much for posting your process.

    • sherrilynn says:

      Tricia, I am sorry to hear about your father. I hope the quilt process will help too. It may be something you do right away or maybe a little down the road but if you set aside some of his clothing now you can take your time and come to it whenever you are ready. I made quilts from my mother’s clothes two years after she died and it was a comfort to collaborate with her, through her clothes and my memories of her in my heart. Be well.

  2. Shirley R. Deslatte says:

    Good morning – This process intrigues me. I’m a 77 yr. old quilt “addict” who had to be away from the quilting world for several years (due to changing circumstances). However, returning now.

    I wish I had heard of this method (& been a quilter) over 20 years ago when I lost one of my 30 yr old twin daughters, Alyne, unexpectedly. She left 3 children (grown now w/kids of their own) & I’ve been in the process of making quilts for each of them. Unfortunately none of her clothes are still around.

    Alyne’s son who is now nearly 40 has a family of his own, & they lost a baby 5 days old several years old. If his wife would possibly have any of his baby clothes, I would be interested in trying to make something small like this for them. Maybe a small wall hanging or something small & not too intruding – just a memento. I am not very “creative” to come up w/something on my own, but give me instructions & I can usually follow.But I have a cousin who has A LOT of the clothes of her mother’s (my aunt) who died over 15 yrs. ago & she just can’t seem to get over her. She isn’t a quilter, but perhaps if I could help her w/something like this, it would help her be able to let go.

    I would like the info on where I can get one of your books for making this quilt. I LOVE the little one from the baby quilt.

    I have a Grandmother’s Flower Garden made by my maternal grandma & great grandma they made in 1934 the year my mom was PG w/me. It is of course VERY special to me. I’m sure it was probably made from scraps that were from her clothes, or even possibly from dresses of my mom & aunt. I can just picture a few of the in “house-dresses” that they all wore during that time.

    Thanks so much for sharing your art form in quilts –

    Have a blessed day & Happy quilting
    Great-great granny
    (yes, I am a BLESSED GREAT-GREAT grandma)

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