Happy New Year! I’m finally getting back to some sewing and quilting which makes me happy! I got this t-shirt quilt back from the quilters last week and managed to get the binding on in record time.
This is a t-shirt quilt made from rock concert t-shirts that one of the teachers I used to work with collected over the years. There were a lot of t-shirts in her collection! I think there were something like 30+ and I wanted to use the backs and the fronts for most of them. I puzzle pieced them together and used as little sashing as I could to keep the size down. I didn’t have any border but my quilter suggested I add something to keep things from stretching so I added a 1.5 inch border that acts as a “picture frame” for the blocks.
Check out the extra wide backing fabric that I found at fabric.com. It looks like old, ratty blue jeans and goes perfectly with the rock & roll theme.
I can’t wait to return my friend’s t-shirts all made into a quilt!
I’ve been hard at work on a couple of special quilts that have photos in them.
The first is for my mother-in-law. My husband’s grandma passed away about a year and a half ago and my mother-in-law still had a bunch of her clothes in her basement. My father-in-law was complaining about them but I could tell that she just wasn’t ready to part with them yet. So I suggested making a quilt from them so that they weren’t totally gone and she gratefully gave me a big bag of clothes.
The problem sometimes with grandma clothes is that very often they are made from polyester or nylon or those types of fabrics. Now, speaking of grandma’s, mine made quilts out of any fabric she could get her hands on. We have a beautiful quilt from her made from polyester and another made from wool so it can be done. Don’t let the quilt snobs tell you that you can’t make grandma’s nylon nightgown into a lovely sentimental keepsake quilt. But if you do, for Pete’s sake, turn the iron WAY down and keep far from open flames! I’m not sure if I’ll ever get my iron clean again.
I felt like things would go easier if I could use the fabrics in small pieces. I did a search online and found a lovely paper pieced heart pattern from Carol Doak that I was able to print out and sew small pieces of fabric to.
I thought it might be nice to add a photo of my husband’s grandma to the quilt so I asked my mother-in-law if she had a photo she liked. She gave me several.
These photo transfer fabric sheets from Dritz called “Printed Treasures” are my favorite to use. It’s super easy to just feed them into your printer and print just like you would any other document or photo. Then you let them dry for a minute, peel the backing off, run them under cold water for a minute or two and lay flat to dry. They’re soft to the touch and feel like regular cotton – not stiff at all. I haven’t had a lot of experience with repeated washings but have heard that they get softer with time. I’ve actually used them most often to print out quilt labels. I type up what I want my label to look like & then print on this fabric.
I think these photo blocks complete this quilt . I really hope my mother-in-law enjoys this special memory quilt as much as I’ve enjoyed making it.
The next challenge will be to add the backing and quilt it. There were 2 fleece sweaters in the bag and I have a plan to take them apart so that I get large pieces and use them as part of the backing. Not sure if this will work but I thought it would make a warm lap quilt that way. If I do that, I’ll probably have to tie the quilt because it’s so thick. I’ll keep you posted on that progress.
The other quilt I’m working on is a photo quilt for a special young lady at the high school here. I hope to be able to share the rest of the quilt and story with you after she receives it but here’s a preview.
With just a few days to go before she leaves for college, I got my daughter’s t-shirt quilt top finished. I had the plan but just had to order more fabric. I used the black fabric behind the shirt blocks to give a shadow effect and help to place them because they were all different sizes. Then I added a little color with the checkerboard border on top and the little flair at the bottom also helped to even things up.
I like to add a lot of personalization to these quilts. Now it goes on the pile to be quilted and I’ll have a little time to figure out what color I’ll bind it in. To keep it simple, I’ll probably use the same grey as the background.
I pulled my sewing machine out for an emergency session this past week. I learned that someone close to me has the big “C” – cancer. He starts his radiation treatment today and I didn’t really know what to do for him and his family. I thought maybe a lap quilt and some freezer meals would be a small comfort.
I looked online for a simple, easy pattern and found a picture of a charity quilt that was pretty. I whipped up a quilt pattern that was similar but a little smaller. Then I looked through my stash to see what I had that I could use. I decided to make a patriotic quilt since this person is a veteran and I threw in some fabric with musical notes because he’s very musical.
I usually like to use cotton batting or a cotton/poly blend but to save time; I found a fusible batting that I thought I would try. It’s called Quilter’s Fusible Batting by June Tailor. It did save some time. It’s very stiff and it seemed a little lofty to me even though it’s called a low loft. You just iron the whole quilt sandwich together to fuse. After I quilted everything together (very simply) and added the binding, I washed the quilt and that helped soften it up.
It’s a very bright quilt! I used some Project Linus “Hugs for Heroes” fabric for the backing and binding which shows Snoopy in different uniforms. I really hope this quilt can be a source of comfort for this special person as he goes through treatment.
I’ve been cleaning and painting and packing to get ready for our move. I’d much rather be sewing or quilting. But while packing up all these quilts, it’s been fun to look at some of my favorites.
This one I made for my daughter.
It’s a Sunflower quilt for my Kansas baby. I started the quilt in 1997 and finally finished it in 2011. The block is not actually a sunflower block but some other flower. I thought it was a dahlia but not sure about that.
The middle petals are gathered and eased into the block before adding the appliqued center. That’s why it took me so many years to finish. It was a tough block for a new quilter. When I started the quilt; I found this fabric that I used for the back. It has little sayings on it and I thought it would be perfect to pass on to my daughter.
Another favorite of mine is made completely of Batik fabrics. It was so much fun to find and collect all the fabrics. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a Batik that I don’t love.
This quilt was great practice in sewing curves! I used the Crazy Curves templates from Elisa’s Backporch and the Circle Dance Pattern that came with the templates. Cutting the pieces out was so easy with these templates. I was actually surprised how quick and easy the whole quilt went together. The colors are so bright and cheerful; it makes me happy!
I made this quilt while living in Heidelberg, Germany.
It’s called “Trip Across Europe” and it was a block of the month class at the Arts & Crafts center. It was designed by a fellow Army wife, Kristin LaFlamme, who is a textile genius. This is how I learned paper piecing and after a year of it, I had it down.
This is so much more than a quilt to me; it’s memories of my time in Europe.
I hope you enjoyed my little show & tell. Now I have to get back to packing. I have to tell you, all these quilts make great packing material. I was packing some dishes and I looked over at that stack of quilts and thought; why not?
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.
I finished the Double Wedding Ring quilt this past week! Just over one week before the big anniversary celebration. I wanted to make something special for my in-laws 50th anniversary and I’ve always wanted try a double wedding ring quilt. I started this last March and after I started it, I got lots of advise about how long these things can take. I wanted it to be a full size bed quilt but with our move last summer and my general slow-ness, it kept getting smaller and smaller. It’s just a very tedious quilt to make with all the tiny pieces and all the curves. It was a nice challenge. Like I talked about in my earlier post, the Sharlene Jorgenson book and templates were easy to use and follow. If you decide to make one of these quilts, I recommend getting them and you can watch her videos on youtube. Just be sure to give yourself plenty of time.
I wanted to thank my friend, Blanca Nelson, for doing the lovely embroidery on the quilt and Sharon Wilson for her gorgeous quilting.
I got ready to do the binding and was a little afraid. I’ve only done a bias binding maybe once before. I didn’t really think I had enough fabric for the binding (have I mentioned that I never plan these things out?). I wanted to use the same fabric that I used for the middle pieces as the binding but I only had a little over a half a yard left. Of course I bought the fabric back in Germany and I looked at two quilt shops here in Kansas City and couldn’t find it. I tried ordering online but it wasn’t the right shade. I looked all over the internet for help and asked the ladies at the quilt shop down the street for help. They suggested not folding my binding in half and that might use less fabric. Finally, I just decided to go for it and see if it worked. I am always amazed at how much binding you can get from a little piece of fabric if cut the right way! I think I would have had enough to fold and that might have been easier. It was a pain on the corners because the instructions just said to “pivot the fabric”. It felt weird but everything came out OK.
Anyway, it’s done and I don’t know if I’ll ever do another one! I do really like the double wedding rings that are scrappy or I hear that people use pieces of clothing from a bride and make something really sentimental and I like the thought of that. We’ll see…