Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Curl up in a keepsake

A lap quilt or wall hanging commemorating special events or the life of a loved one can make a wonderful keepsake. Fabric and other mementos from graduations, weddings, the birth of a baby, sports activities, scouting, anniversaries or even clothing items from loved ones that have passed away can all be incorporated into a memory piece. Mary M. Wiseman of Patchwork Keepsakes in Reading, Ohio specializes in creating these one-of-a-kind, custom quilted memories.

According to Mary, memory quilts and wall hangings are based in our past. Many of our ancestors brought patterns and quilt themes from their homelands that are still incorporated into patterns we use today. The pioneers of our nation took their prized possessions west in covered wagons in hopes of finding land for a new home. Among these possessions were quilts made of family clothing, weavings and other precious bits of textiles. When a loved one died on the trail, the family often buried them in one of their precious family quilts.

Mary has lost two very dear loved ones, her mother and her husband. While the grief was very intense, she still had the desire to preserve and remember the good experiences she shared with them. Through her memory quilts, she has followed in the traditions of our ancestors, burying her loved ones with precious memory quilts, as well as adding a new tradition of her own, creating memory quilts for her family to cherish.

Depending on the theme of the memory quilt, many items can be used to create the piece. If the quilt commemorates an event or involvement in an activity, clothing, patches, medals and other mementos can be used. For a memorial quilt, Mary usually uses a loved one’s clothing for the fabric, such as blouses, dresses, coats, jackets, jeans, pajamas, robes, ties and t-shirts. The items selected are then cut into patchwork pieces. A photo can be also scanned and printed onto fabric and also incorporated into the design.

These quilted keepsakes are then machine pieced, with the fabrics and designs chosen for the memories on the top, cotton or polyester batting in the middle and cotton fabric on the back. Other hand-stitched details or phrases can also be added, as well as beads, buttons, cross stitch, embroidery, lace, jewelry, medals and pins.

For more information contact Mary M. Wiseman at Patchwork Keepsakes, 513-473-6424 or

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