KQ Employee Karrie was asked by her good friend, Melissa, to make a memorial quilt. This was her first time making a quilt from clothing, and since this is a project our customers often have many questions about, we asked her to share her experience and discoveries.
Ramsey Wayne Ewing Memorial Quilt
Ramsey was born on 08/02/12 to Melissa and Bobby Ewing. He weighed 1lb. 15oz. and was 13 in. long. He was a very strong, beautiful boy and did remarkably well for his first two weeks. On Friday 08/17/12 he started showing signs of NEC (Necrotizing Enterocolitis), which is a bacterial infection in the intestines. On Saturday 08/18/12, he was transported to another hospital as he was not doing very well. By Sunday, a little after 2:00 in the afternoon, he died in his mother’s arms.
His mom is one of my closest friends. The day after, she told me that it was killing her to see all his clothes hanging in the closet, but she could not bear to get rid of all of them, so she went through his clothes and handpicked her favorites and boxed them up and sent them to me to use them to make a quilt.
His services were on 08/23/12, and when I got home from work on that day, the box was sitting at my door. It broke my heart to open the box and see all his little clothes. I decided that, since I lived too far away to be able to attend the services that evening, I would start the process of preparing the clothes.
If you want to read and learn more about NEC, Missy has started a facebook page called “Ramsey’s Story NEC Awareness and Find a Cure”. In her experience, Missy realized there was not much known about this condition, and she wanted to help raise awareness.
Carrie’s Quilt Directions:
- I took the clothes and very carefully removed the seams. I wanted to save as much of the fabric as I could.
- The next step was to decide how I wanted to lay it out. I decided I would do 6″ squares. There were cute little animals on the backs of some of the outfits, and some animal faces on the feet, so I cut these out. I did not have enough whole squares at 6″, so I also cut strips of 3¼” by 6″ and some at 2¼” by 6″ and pieced these to make the rest of the squares I needed. I tried to include as many details from the clothes as I could.
One of the little jackets had two pockets, so I cut them in 3¼” by 6″ strips. I took the feet that I had saved from the sleepers, and I attached them to some of the solid 6″ squares.
- The next step was to use some kind of stabilizer. I chose a lightweight one. Doing some research, I also read that some people will use a spray adhesive and apply the pieces to flannel. I think the stabilizer is the easiest, and it is sold by the yard. I laid out about 9 blocks at a time, wrong side facing up, and put the stabilizer on top. I ironed it and made sure all my blocks were attached well. I then cut them out.
I decided that I would embroider some of the blocks with his name and dates. I asked his mom what she would like one of them to say. I am just learning to embroider, so they are not perfect, but she told me how she wanted it to read.
- Next was to sew all the blocks together. I started by sewing 7 blocks together to make 9 strips, then I sewed the strips together.
I also decided to add a border. I cut 2½” strips from black flannel, thinking it would almost make it look like a picture frame.
- The next step was to pick backing fabric and batting, and layer it together. I decided to tie mine and to use the backing by bringing it over to the top to form the binding.
It turned out to be a really soft and cozy quilt, and I am hoping it will bring my friend some comfort. I did this in a little over a week’s time. I wanted it to get back to her as soon as I could get it done.
I still have all the pieces I did not use in the quilt. I saved everything, so I am making Ramsey’s 3 brothers and sister pillows with his name on them. I am also making both sets of grandparents pillows also.
I had never been asked to do anything like this before! I have never even made a T-shirt quilt. I did not find it difficult to do, although working with the tiny clothing did take a little patience.
I can say it was a very emotional process; it breaks my heart to see the pain the family is in. I finished the quilt on 09/03/12, and sent it overnight to her. I did not want to take any chances in anything happening to the quilt; it could never be replaced. My friend loves it and sleeps with it at night, and I think it brings her some comfort. I think if I am ever asked again to do something similar, I definitely would, because it really is a special way to remember and to keep a loved one close.
If you want to read and learn more about NEC, Missy has started a facebook page called “Ramsey’s Story NEC Awareness and Find a Cure”.