We originally created this blog to keep family and friends updated about our little man Jacob, who was diagnosed in the summer of 2011 with a rare, life-limiting genetic disease called Niemann-Pick (type A/B). Jacob earned his angel wings on November 15, 2012, but remains our daily inspiration and constant reminder that we must live in the moment and fill each day with JOY, LAUGHTER and an abundance of LOVE.

Monday, July 7, 2014

Memory Quilt Made With Love

I've been so excited to share something very, very special that I have been working on for many months with a LOT of help from my Grams. The "lot" is bolded and underlined because I truly could not have completed this project without her guidance and crafty hands. I will preface this blog by saying this 'project' --  more a labor of love, is something that I have wanted to do since Jakey earned his angel wings, but something that took me over a year to finally start because -- I just wasn't ready. After scouring Pinterest boards, purchasing books and Google searches galore, I realized that I wasn't prepared to part with the pieces of Jake that would soon be put to a better purpose. Shortly after the first of the year I decided that with a baby on the way, it was important to complete this project so that I could have something that was more tangible than a picture to hold onto when I was missing my baby so much and something meaningful to share with our kiddos. With that said, here it is...Jacob's Memory Quilt.

We LOVE it!! Every fabric chosen has a memory attached to it. Every cut and every stitch was filled with love.
I took pictures throughout the memory quilt making process because I thought it would be nice to share with other families who might be considering making a quilt of their own in memory of a loved one. Creating a quilt like this is a true labor of love and for me, it was filled with a tremendous amount of emotions. Part of the reason I waited so long to start the quilt was because Jakey's clothes still smelled like him - something I could not bare to part with. The irony is that the scent that lingered longest was actually from permanent stains in his clothes where his g-tube had leaked onto his PJ's and blankets during overnight feeds, which happened nearly every night when his body had started to slowly shut down. We adjusted feed amounts to deter that from happening, but it was just a part of his NPA progression. Crazy that a thing like that was something I felt the need to hold onto. 

Picking out shirts. I had gone through all of Jake's clothes well over a year ago and selected some of the outfits that held the most special memories or significance. Our "little man" loved music and strumming the guitar with his grandpas. He was also a big Niner fan (and Raider fan too - Josh made sure of that).
Some of the border fabric that I chose...music notes, because he loved music.
Gasp...1st cut into the shirts. It was VERY difficult for me to cut the shirts up. We cut the backs and arms off each shirt as a first step to prepare the fabric to be cut into squares.
My grandma Sharon (a.k.a. "Grams") teaching me how to measure and cut out the squares of fabric to be pieced together for the quilt. This part took a looooong time. With a one-year old racing around the house we also had to be careful to hide the rotary blade from slicing off little fingers, eh, who am I kidding...I had to make sure I didn't cut off my own fingers!

Jaker's favorite cartoon - SpongeBob Squarepants. Jake's Great-Grandma Jeanne brought these jammies for him on one of her trips to visit. I don't think she even knew how much he loved his SpongeBob. This also happens to be Kelly's newest obsession, so it's by far her favorite part of the quilt.

Since I couldn't iron and take a picture, I'll just tell you that all the shirt pieces were ironed onto a special paper to reduce the amount of stretch/flex in the fabric. We then laid them out on a giant piece of felt on the wall to give us an idea of how we wanted to design and piece it together...by "we", I mean my Grams. She did all the sewing. I'm just not very good on the sewing machine and this wasn't the type of project you re-learn how to sew on. Not much room for mistakes, so I let the master crafter take over. She's been making quilts for years, not to mention sewing, knitting, painting, crafting...you name it, she does it!
Here's the quilt blocks pieced together with all the fabrics and borders We still moved things around a bit after this because we weren't quite committed to the layout. The outside border was a fun checkered pattern, which I chose because Jake used to rock checkered Vans and he liked watching NASCAR with his Grandpa Dennis (hence the Jeff Gordon #24 shirt). We then sent it off  to the quilter - the woman who did the quilting (sewing together of the layers of fabric) used a really neat heart design throughout the entire quilt and hand quilted around certain parts, like the monkey to make the different pieces more pronounced.

Ta-da!!! Had to get a picture of me and my Grams holding this amazing labor of our love. Countless hours went into the making of this treasure, filled with so many special touches. A friend of my Grams even embroidered Jacob's name onto the top in blue, super sweet!

Little sis' Kelly Joy checking out the quilt and admiring her favorite "Bob-bob" (her pronunciation for SpongeBob)

Josh was so excited! He wouldn't let me show him anything throughout the entire process because he wanted to be surprised with the end product. He did help me decide on the fabric for the back. I had spent hours searching for a fabric for the back and narrowed it down to a top 3 list. He liked the elephants the best because it reminded us both of Jacob's favorite stuffed animal, his elephant "Ele."

A closer look at the soft flannel elephant fabric. I especially love how the elephants are snuggled up like we used to with Jake.

One of my favorite parts - a little ladybug love scattered around the edges. These spotted love bugs were my Grams idea because I couldn't find a masculine looking ladybug fabric. She had no idea how many she would do or where she would put them, but ended up with six. I know it's not a coincidence because there were six known children with Niemann-Pick type A living in the U.S. at the time of Jacob's diagnosis.

For the record, every Bay Area football and baseball team is equally represented as Jake was a big sports fan. In fact, the Giants World Series win in 2010 sparked the mustache craze that unbenownst to us would provide some great pics for the Mo'vember fundraiser that was held just a short two years later when Jakey earned his angel wings {mustache shirt proudly represented}. I included a couple pics because I just love seeing my little man with a mustache.




A couple other favorites on the quilt are...
  • Jake's 1st birthday shirt and super studly tie, which he wore for his cake smash!
  • Jakey's Beatles onesie, which reminds us of his song 'Here Comes the Sun'
  • A "teeny weeny kiwi", which we took off an outfit gifted to Jake by Amber Jelsma's (another sweet NPA angel) family when they visited from New Zealand.

Jaker's birthday suit : )
Raider jammies, which were cut into little squares to include in the quilt.
The real superhero in our lives.
The only picture I have of Jake sucking his thumb because it was the only time I ever saw him do this.
And here's why we have the guitars and music well represented on the quilt. Strumming the guitar with Grandpa Dennis
See...Jake couldn't get enough music. Here he is with his Grandpa Paul
First visit to the Zoo in his little monkey outfit









6 comments:

  1. Oh my gosh, Sarah! I smiled through tears reading this post. What a perfect tribute to your little man. And what a sweet way for his little sisters to get to know their superhero big brother. I am a sentimental fool - especially for memories and traditions. Jakey's quilt is making my heart sing! And I especially love that you and your Grams shared this special project together. More memories! :) xoxoxo

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  2. Sarah and Sharon what a Beautiful quilt and tribute to our little angel. I can't wait to see it in person! XO

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  3. Sarah, I completely understand about the smell. It isn't Dan, but it is Dan - just like it is Jake, but isn't Jake. I haven't gotten the courage yet to cut up the clothes, but I absolutely love the quilt. I know my girl could use something like this, just like your girls will. Have you thought about making a 2nd one, so that each girl will have one?

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  4. What a beautiful thing in remembrance of such a beautiful boy. You can clearly see all of the love and care that was put in to creating this wonderful quilt. Thank you so much for sharing this with the rest of us. :)

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  5. How am I just seeing this post now Sarah? This is absolutely beautiful. Brought me to tears thinking of you making this for him, Kelly looking at it in memory of her big brother and how your family can now snuggle beneath it. This is so so special. You did an absolutely beautiful job. Thank you for sharing it on your blog. xoxo Shannon

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  6. Dear Sarah&Josh Kelly Joy & wee Kamey


    always thinking of you all and Never stop missing Jakey Boy

    love you all Dad aka Papa D

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