Patchwork quilts honor memory of sister

Homemade crafts celebrated life of sibling who died of brain tumor
By Gay Ingram
December 2008
Add to My MSN

MEANINGFUL CRAFTS: Gay Ingram, of Big Sandy, Texas, honored her late sister by crafting miniature quilts with material her sister once owned.
– Gay Ingram

Content Tools

The appeal of making patchwork quilts is that you find yourself crafting with your soul. Woven into every quilt we make are bits of imagination, history and memories. One of my most rewarding projects was a collection of miniature quilts that had a special tie with my family.

Even the material used had special significance. I had the privilege of caring for my youngest sister during her last few months, before she died of a brain tumor. We worked together, tying up the loose strands of life’s business. An avid crafter, my sister gave me permission to pack up anything I wanted to take home with me.

When I returned home, I gave some thought to what I’d like to do with my newly acquired supply. I wanted some task that would commemorate my sister’s passing and help ease the grief of her loss. I decided to use the material to construct miniature quilts for my three remaining sisters and myself. Because we all lived in different states, these quilts would be a way to remember one another and the sister who was no longer with us. I decided to make them using my sister’s accumulation of Christmas prints.


Getting started

I am a novice quilter, so, my first attempt was a basic nine-patch quilt that went to my sister in Connecticut.

My next project followed a pattern called the “Snail’s Trail.” I knew the intricacy of the pattern would be appreciated by another of my sisters, who also loved to sew. This quilt challenged my skills, but after a few false starts, I was satisfied with the results.

By now, creating quilts was taking up an increasing part of my life. Several patterns appealed to me for a quilt to go to my sister in Arizona, and I couldn’t decide which to do. I solved the problem by making my next quilt a sampler. I made individual blocks of each of the patterns and put them together in a single quilt.

The following Christmas, each quilt was lovingly packaged with a note and mailed. Not until a year later did I find time to make a last quilt – my own. Each time the Christmas season comes around, I take it out and display it. It reminds me of growing up as part of a loving family, and causes my thoughts to dwell on those I love – those here on earth and those who have gone ahead.


Post a comment below.


Subscribe today

Capper's Farmer Early Spring 16 CoverWant to rediscover what made grandma’s house the fun place we all remember? Capper’s Farmer — the newly restored publication from the rural know-how experts at — updates the tried-and-true methods your grandparents used for cooking, crafting, gardening and so much more. Subscribe today and discover the joys of homemade living and homesteading insight — with a dash of modern living — that makes up the new Capper’s Farmer.

Save Even More Money with our automatic renewal savings plan!

Pay now with a credit card and take advantage of our automatic renewal savings plan. You save an additional $5 and get 4 issues of Capper's Farmer for only $19.95 (USA only).

Or, Bill Me Later and I'll pay just $19.95 for a one year subscription!

(* indicates a required item)
Canadian subs: 1 year, (includes postage & GST). Foreign subs: 1 year, . U.S. funds.
Canadian Subscribers - Click Here
Non US and Canadian Subscribers - Click Here