A few quilts I’ve made have been gifts for members of my family for special milestones in their lives. I was thinking about this the other day when I realized that my daughter will be starting her final year of high school in a couple months and I need to start thinking about making her a special quilt. We’ve saved t-shirts for years from different activities and schools that both my kids attended. Two years ago, I made this quilt for my son with some of those t-shirts.
I thought, how hard can it be to cut up some t-shirts and stick them together and make a quilt. Well… there were some challenges. The t-shirts were all different sizes and some of the logos were different sizes. He became a rower in high school but he didn’t want me to cut up any of his rowing shirts. I struggled with this one. I had a pattern with a square that you were supposed to try to cut the t-shirts to fit into. Then you have to iron the shirt squares to some lightweight fusible interfacing. I decided to use a background fabric to try to fit everything together because many of the shirts just wouldn’t fit into the pattern square. Then I added some quilt blocks in between to even things out. I had recently attended a workshop with Bonnie Hunter where we made wonky letters so I thought it would be neat to put his name on his quilt in wonky letters. That didn’t quite go across the quilt so I added a rowing applique.
When the top was finished, it was thick and I wasn’t sure about quilting over the t-shirt designs so I decided to just tie the quilt. For some reason, I used flannel for the backing so it’s a heavy quilt. I swore I would never make another t-shirt quilt but my daughter keeps adding more t-shirts to the pile so I think I kind’ve have to. This time, maybe I’ll know what I’m doing.
I also made a retirement quilt for my husband last year. This project was so fun to think about and design and sew. He also saves everything so he had lots of his old uniforms and all his old unit patches. I used pieces of his old uniforms as the center of gold stars and then sewed his unit patches onto the stars. I looked everywhere to find some fabric with the Army symbol on it but I just could not find the size and quality that I wanted. He said he wanted an eagle in the middle so I put together an applique eagle. (Applique is not my thing so I was pretty happy with how it turned out.)
The corner squares have his branch insignia and then I quilted the oath of office around the border of the quilt in gold thread so you really can’t see it unless you look at the back. It was a fun project and I think my husband really likes it.