Bereavement t-shirt quilt made using Wilson North’s clothes

Wilson North – Patricia’s husband

Patricia sent me a large box of her husband Wilson North’s clothes over a year ago. She wanted bereavement quilts for many people in her family, which I made over time. Finally I made the t-shirt quilt above for her. The label she requested read “Memories Wilson North – my life’s  traveling companion.” The t-shirt logos speak to the many places they visited during their years happily spent together. 

Upon receiving the quilt, Patricia wrote, “How delighted I was that you were able to put sports, surfing travel & photography, abstract art and gardening into coherent whole . . . To make the colors match and to use his camouflage gray along with the salmon. I practically had to hogtie Wilson into his first salmon T-shirt but wearing it he receive so many compliments that it became a favorite color of his along with his camouflage grays and blues.” 


Wilson was a man of many interests and talents, one of which was surfing. The very first quilts I made for Patricia were Christmas gifts for his two grown nephews, quilts which each had a definite surfer theme.

A “surfing quilt” made as a bereavement quilt for one of Wilson North’s nephews

These two “surfer quilts” (above and below) are quite similar – each made using Wilson North’s clothes and each made for a nephew who himself likes to surf. According to Patricia, Wilson taught both nephews how to surf.

Bereavement quilt made from Wilson North’s clothes for his other nephew

Compass Quilt and Pillow

Patricia liked the idea of a compass quilt, especially since Wilson’s last name was North.  So I made her one, mostly using Wilson’s clothes. This picture was taken on a dark day, so the border displaying swatches of his lovely shirts are difficult to see, despite my camera’s best intentions.

Bereavement quilt made with Wilson North’s clothes using a compass pattern

I also made her a compass pillow.

Bereavement pillow made with Wilson North’s clothes using a compass pattern

Seascape Quilt

As I’ve made quilt after quilt for Patricia, using her husband’s clothes, I’m reminded of the famous scripture involving the loaves and the fishes. No matter how many quilts I made, there miraculously  seemed to still be fabric for one more quilt.

Wilson North’s clothes used in a seascape quilt

As I made the quilt above, a seascape made for Patricia’s niece, I was using various left over scraps plus a few items that I hadn’t yet used in another quilt. This is one reason that there are loads of waves or changes in color in the sea below. This was all that I had to work with. And frankly, I loved the overall appearance of a tumbling sea.

Closeup of seascape quilt showing how the fabrics depict a turbulent sea

But my favorite find was a shirt that had gradations of color from very light blue to dark blue, which I used for a darkening sky (see below for closeup). I used every bit that was left of that shirt. The gray hills in the far distance were placed there to cover up the fact that there was no more “sky material”. I think it worked. The bare tree at the side was a good cover for the ragged edges on the right side of the quilt, and I also liked the way it partially framed the picture. 

Another treat for me was finding the bit of camouflage material that mimicked sheer cliffs on the side of the gray wall in the distance. Below the wall you can make out a narrow strip of beach.

Closeup of the seascape quilt made with Wilson North’s clothes.

I think there are still a few more items that Patricia wants me to make!

Patricia wrote that “I found your work on the web  and your way with color and making [quilts with]such a variety of colors and materials with different weights is what attracted me. I knew I could trust you to make it work and you succeeded beyond my expectations.”