Grief and memorial quilts are a very traditional aspect of quilting. People take the clothes of someone who has died and create fantastic memory quilts that can bring back so many memories. Often made after a period of time, it can be a great way to help someone work through their grief and other emotions.
For so many of us, quilting is a form of therapy. For me, this was very true. After I lost my son in 2005, I turned to my quilting to keep me sane. Every stitch I put in fabric was a thought, a feeling, a tear or a laugh.
Gradually, my grief changed and mellowed, but I continued to use quilting to help manage my anxiety and emotions in general.
You can tell how I’m feeling by the way I’m holding a needle. There is an angry jab, a contemplative easing, a happy poke, or a distracted miss-stitch.
Sitting at my sewing machine, I can let the up and down of the needle just work through my thoughts and problems.
When you spend hours or days or weeks on a project, you get very involved in it.
From seeking out that perfect fabric and pattern to pressing, cutting, piecing and eventually quilting and binding, it’s easy to get lost and just let everything melt away.
Whether you are actively trying to work through something or simply recharging and relaxing, letting your creativity lift you up is so soothing. You end up putting a good deal of yourself into a quilt.
One of the things I love about quilts is that you can feel the love that goes into them, and even if you can’t be with someone, they can wrap themselves up in a quilt you’ve made and be given a warm hug no matter how far away you are from one another.
I have three nephews, two of whom live over 700 miles away, and all of them have quilts from Aunt Cara. For years, the two who live so far away only really knew me from the quilts I had made them. There is something so special about holding something made just for you by someone who loves you. That quilt can remind a child having a bad day that someone cares, can comfort someone who is sick, and just make you smile after a crappy day.
So the next time you’re feeling low, let your craft help you pick yourself up, and wrap yourself in a quilt made with love and think of the thousands of stitches put into it—each one a thought and wish for you.