A few months after my Grandpa passed away, while my cousin Valerie and I were helping my Grandma sort through some of his things, I was inspired. While we could have donated his clothes to Goodwill or let my boy-cousins sort through for things they would want, I had an idea of what could be done: pillows. Pillows made from some of my grandpa's old ties, shirts, and handkerchiefs.
Originally, I had the plans to make them in the style of a "crazy quilt" -- odd shapes and sizes. This proved to be 1) too time consuming and 2) not the right design for the materials. After hours of cutting, pinning, and sewing (and 3 football fields worth of thread), here are the fruits of my labor:
First row: the first 2 pillows I made. When sorting through Grandpa’s items, I came across several of the LIFE roses. Grandpa always had a rose secured to his suit coat. The rose represents the Knights of Columbus campaigns to defend the right to life. A fitting reminder of his Catholic faith and life of service. Additionally, I came across 13 of Grandpa’s campaign buttons when he ran for the Iowa House of Representatives.
As you can see, the tie styles span the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s.
The backs of the pillows were made with “USA” material obtained from my Grandma’s fabric closet. It was a fitting choice; my grandpa loved America.
On the left, is the pillow I felt was ‘most creative.’ I love the blend of the denim shirt and the ties. It’s a fitting representation of a farmer-turned-representative.
The pillows on the right have embroidered “K” handkerchiefs, in addition to the shirt/tie combo.
Now, every Kremer cousin, aunt, uncle and Grandma Ellen have their very own “Grandpa Joe” pillow. It such a fun labor of love!