A Quilt of Many Memories

A couple from Northport, Alabama contacted me about doing a quilt for them back in October.  They were going to deliver the shirts to me at the Madison Street Festival but had a family emergency that weekend and was unable to make it.  So a few weeks later, they drove to Madison to bring me the shirts.  They did not want to put them in the mail. These shirts belonged to their 25 year old son who overdosed and passed away 3 years ago.  They told me his story and also showed me photos of him wearing these shirts.  These shirts are priceless to them!

I finished this precious quilt in January and they picked it up a couple of weeks ago.  Their son, Trey loved hunting, John Deere, and the Alabama Crimson Tide!  Each shirt has a story to tell!

On the back of the quilt, I added Deuteronomy 25:19 – The Lord has given thee rest from all thine enemies.img_0693

On Tuesday, I got this message from Trey’s mother:img_0745

I know how important all of these shirts are!  I will take the utmost care of your priceless memories and make them into a meaningful quilt that can be passed on to future generations.

Be sure to check out my Shop section on my website.  To see the price per block/shirt used, please click on View Details.


Spreading some Christmas Cheer


Sitting here watching Elf and Christmas Vacation, I am wondering how I got to where I could actually sit down and blog!  Sorry it’s been way too long but I had quite a few memory quilts….15 to be exact to complete by Christmas for clients and now I can say I am DONE!  I’ll share all the photos after Christmas once everyone gets their gifts!

I am hoping to get this one complete but I don’t want to rush the quilting so it’ll have to wait until next Christmas. Who knows, I’ll see what I can accomplish this weekend.  I did a quilt along with Lori Holt/Bee in My Bonnet this fall and finished piecing it Veteran’s Day weekend. img_0657

I love the fabrics!  I even used them for some cute Jingle shirts!IMG_0769.JPG

When I first started my quilting journey in the late 1980s, I made this tree skirt.  As you can see my cat, Cooper loves being under our tree.img_0201

The one at the top of my blog was made back in the 90s!

I made this quilt four years ago and made three total….gifts for my mom, my sister and of course myself.  img_0203-2Just sharing some Christmas cheer with my Christmas quilts! Merry Christmas!

Sue Bee

Hardest Quilt I’ve Ever Done

It wasn’t because it was a difficult pattern, it wasn’t becuase the front was 100% Tommy Bahama silk shirts and Tommy Bahama linen/cotton shirts on the back, it was because each shirt was worn by a friend who recently passed away.

My long time friend, Dan Swayne was killed in an accident in Abu Dhabi. Dan was an Air Force pilot and had over 4,000 hours of logged time.  He loved being a pilot. He died doing what he loved.  Unfortunately he left behind a wife, a step daughter, a son, and three grown daughters, a brother and parents.

Kate, his wife, asked me to do this quilt and chose a pattern.  I finshed it earlier this week and mailed it to Bethesda, MD.  Today he is being buried in Arlington National Cemetary.  His wife and step daughter are flying in from UAE and the quilt will be waiting for them.  They will be able to take it back with them and snuggle under it and remember the times Dan wore these shirts. He LOVED his Tommy Bahama shirts. Kate said they are his “signature” shirts. Please keep them in your prayers!  img_0130

Should I Donate Them?

Remember all those fun times in high school and college and all the fun t-shirts you got for all those different band trips, sorority events, sports, games, etc?  T-shirts provide memories of your childhood, college days or any time in your life.  I am kicking myself for not saving all of mine!  I gave so many of mine away.  There are lots of things you can donate, but don’t donate memories.

I am currently working on a t-shirt quilt for a sweet lady who has travelled the world.  I bet there are over 50 shirts that will be on this quilt!  So many of us buy those souvenir t-shirts. Wouldn’t it be cool to see them  all on one quilt?  Once I finish it, I’ll be sure to share it with you all!

img_0075I also just finished this one for a young women who is a ZTA at Auburn. SO many fun memories for her I am sure! Preserve your memories on a quilt oe even a pillow!  Order your quilt and get 40% off your pillow (like above  in the photo – regular price is $50 and you’ll get it for $30 ). You won’t regret it! Text me or call me at 256-617-3167 or email me at suebartlow@me.com

Losing a Loved One


This year my grandmother (mom’s mom) passed away at age 92. She lived a full life raising three children, my mom, my Aunt Linda and my Uncle Carl. I always loved visiting her when I was younger especially since there always seem to be kids around. My Uncle Carl is a little less than two years older than me and I had lots of cousins. YES you read that right, my mom and her mom pushed strollers together! 

I never knew my grandfather since I was only 2 when he passed.  Later in my grandma’s life, she dated my dad’s uncle but they never married. As a kid I never appreciated “old” people and the stories they shared.  As I became an adult and a mother raising my own two girls, I became more and more interested in our family history especially since I started scrapbooking and doing geneaology.

Scrapbooking and quilting seem to go hand-in-hand when it comes to preserving memories.  As I worked on this quilt on the leftimg_0015, thoughts went through my head about what the woman was like who wore timg_0016he clothing, how many kids did she have, how did she impact their lives, and how did she interact with her grandchildren.  I just loved the Grandma sweatshirt on the back.
I make every client’s quilt from beginning to end but the most important part is the prayers I pray over each quilt for the person receiving the quilt.

Recently when my sister and my parents were going through items to sell at a yard sale, I was given the crocheted quilt and an old quilt in the above photos.  They came from my Uncle Earl on my dad’s side.  I love old quilts and think about who snuggled under them, what kids played “tent” with them, etc.

I am about to embark on one of the hardest quilts I’ve made to date.  My friend Kate asked me to make a quilt from her husband’s Tommy Bahama shirts.  Her husband, who was also a dear friend of mine died in a jet crash while doing what he loved the most…flying and teaching others military members how to fly. She’s a quilter and has entrusted me to this project. I am super honored, but also very saddened that those shirts will never be worn by him again.  I do know that Kate and her daughter Grace will treasure this quilt for the rest of their lives and be covered by the love of a husband and a dad.

Memories are so important in preserving. Clothing of a lost loved one invokes lots of feelings. Why not save clothing of a loved one and make a gift that will always be pricesless to your family!  Send me an email or a message so we can plan your next project.  suebartlow@me.com | 256-617-3167

Visit my website for other ideas.

It’s almost October! What?

pSLPumpkins are appearing, pumpkin spice latte at Starbucks and other pumpkin spice flavored stuff is here and Christmas is only 3 months away! Where has time gone?

October is my favorite month…it’s my birthday month, it’s beach month with my best friend, and of course it’s cooler weather and changing leaves time too!

It’s hard to think about Christmas but I’ve already been working on a couple of Christmas projects and a bunch of “inventory” items for some upcoming booths I have.  September 24 is Mooresville Mercantile Fall Gathering, October 1 is the Madison Street Festival, and November 5 is Taste of the Holidays at Asbury UMC.


This weekend I finished this quilt for a bedroom in our house.  I named it after my daughter Julie and her artwork she created in high school.  The pantograph I chose was not too easy so it took me about 6 hours to quilt it. I love the final product though!



I’m excited for tomorrow night’s quilt guild meeting!  Lisa Bongean with Primitive Gatherings is coming to share her wool techniques with us.  Here she is on the cover of a magazine! Happy Hump Day!




Do you have UFO’s….unfinished objects?  I have so many, but last weekend I spent 2.5 days with my new Stitchers Group at Grand Oak Retreat.  I got quite a bit done and am pretty happy with my progress.

IMG_9447.jpgFirst to finish and now is ready to quilt was my “Utah” Row-by-Row souvenir. Back in June, I went to Utah with my husband to see a rocket firing and went to four quilt shops.  I figured buying the kits was much more fun than buying a Utah souvenir….AND best of all, I got to see all the wonderful quilt shops!!!!!!


Second project was more time intensive…probably spent two hours cutting out strips and 8-10 hours sewing it together. It is a true labor of love for one of our bedrooms in our house. This room is my 21 year old daughter’s bedroom, but since she’s at Memphis College of Art, she only comes home on occasion. This is what it is going to look like.  I’m just going to do some all over quilting

Third project was a simple table runner and then I tried out some 6″ blocks from Farm Girl Vintage (which I just purchased from The Fat Quarter Shop) with my leftover Moda Hello Fall charm pack.

So I have also been pondering about how to use my Jan Shade Beach fat quarters so at the retreat, I played around with EQ7 and came up with this. The center blocks in 5 of the blocks will contain her preprinted block graphics.  I plan on using my Shimmer pattern for another quilt.  This one will be a wall hanging. It’s Sunday   and it took me a week to finish this blog.  It was just one of those weeks!  I hope you have a blessed day!

screen for snowflake quilt

Staying busy as a bee transforming t-shirts and clothing into memory quilts.