Months ago I started to make a memory quilt for my friend Susie. Her husband passed away in September of 2018 and some months later she gave me a stack of his shirts to make a quilt with. I first posted here about this project if you want to see earlier pictures.
Yesterday I had lunch with Susie and (finally) gave her the quilt. She is really happy to have it and I am hoping she enjoys snuggling up with her quilt and a good book now that cooler weather is upon us. I think it finished at about 65 x 75″ so that is a nice size.
This quilt is rustic and cozy. Because all of the shirts were plaids, I chose to make each four patch block with a solid (from various pairs of shorts) and a plaid. The shirts were Rick’s favorites and he had worn some of them quite a bit. This made it nearly impossible to get a straight cut on the plaids. But I didn’t worry about it. This is a memory quilt and it will serve its purpose well.
My favorite part of the quilt is the red flannel that was used as the border and for the two red heart appliqués. The fabric was taken from Rick’s bathrobe and it frames the quilt perfectly. I love the deep red color. The binding is a soft creamy flannel that is in the shop. It seemed to be just the right choice with that rich red border. It complements the pale green gingham backing too.
I don’t know the name (or if there is a name) for this pattern I quilted on the four patch blocks. I quilted a diagonal line and then swooped up one side and down the other creating a leaf shape. It was so easy to do and it looks pretty. I first started with a free motion foot and had a heck of a time getting across the main intersection of the four patch. It made me crazy that I couldn’t get over that point without jumping all over the place. When I finally made the switch to the walking foot, it was just a breeze. I didn’t even think of that in the beginning but this design works really well with a walking foot.
I rarely remember to label quilts but I did put one on the back of this quilt. My handwriting isn’t the best but I am glad I labeled it.
There are some tucks on the backing that really gave me trouble. Other than that, this was a wonderful project and I enjoyed making it. I hope Susie takes comfort in it and loves having the quilt as reminder of her many happy years with Rick.
Lots going on around here lately. My husband has finally decided he is ‘done’ renovating our little house in Downieville and it is listed for sale. We bought it some years ago after I saw it for sale during a quilting retreat up in the mountains. We have enjoyed many weekends up there and Ray has really outdone himself with updating it. I suspect it will sell easily and make someone very happy.
This is a shot of the living room when we were first looking at the house.
Want to see more? Here is the kitchen when we toured it the first time.
In some ways we are sad to give this little house up but we are also ready to be responsible for just one house again. Life is always changing!
I did bits of sewing here and there over the past week but mostly I was napping and dealing with a long migraine cycle. Ugh, that is so frustrating. Started Sunday night and here it is Friday and I am not so sure it is over yet. Such a waste of time – dragging around and not accomplishing a whole lot. I am so fortunate that reading does not bother me when I am sick – many migraineur’s cannot read because of strong sensitivity with their eyes. I have a hard time looking at the computer, I think it is because of that little bit of movement that one’s eyes track while looking at a screen. But the T V and books are ok. Anyway, lots of napping and I am crossing my fingers it is over with soon. I did my second monthly injection of Ajovy yesterday. My neurologist said some people experience a benefit right away and it can take others 3 or 4 months to notice a difference. Maybe this month will be better!
The sewing I did do was mainly working on my friend Susie’s memory quilt. I got it basted (Julia helped me crawl around on the floor for that!) I quilted straight lines through the sashing and have been thread sketching an echo of sorts around the two plaid hearts. I think it lends a rustic simple look which is perfect for the mood of this quilt. Next, I plan to work on the short sashing strips between the four patch blocks. Then I need to decide what I want to do with the four patch blocks. I am just taking it easy and enjoying the process.
Julia has asked me to make her a new purse. The last one was made in fall of 2017 and it is looking a bit worn. I love her fabric choices! The blue and gray fabric just arrived last week and I am happy to cut into it and give it a try. It is called Harmony with Nature and was designed by Norman Wyatt. She chose the Mystic Gray (an Art Gallery Fabrics Pure Solid) for the lining.
My sister asked me (a LONG time ago) to make a hanging sleeve for a quilt I made for my nephew. Remember his baseball and football jersey quilt? She wants to hang it on a wall in his room. I finally cut a few strips of this gray dot and will get that off to her in the mail.
Today is my husband’s birthday. I just finished making him a chocolate cake with chocolate frosting. To keep it dairy free, I used coconut cream instead of butter for the icing – it is yummy and I was licking my fingers the whole time I frosted the cake! I used coffee for the liquid instead of milk or cream because the coconut is fairly sweet and I thought the coffee might cut that a bit. He requested enchiladas from our local Mexican restaurant which is a treat for me. No cooking!! Then we eat cake. Probably way too many calories after a week of napping but such is life.
Hoping all of you are enjoying summer. Have a wonderful weekend and if it is hot outside (it is in the high 90’s here!) now is the time to enjoy the cool of your sewing room and make something!!
Last fall I wrote a post to explain our family’s thoughts about raising show pigs. I had received a number of questions and comments about how hard it must be for Julia to raise these cute animals and then give them up at auction when fair time rolled around. The post generated a lot of comments and generally reader’s liked it. Janine of Quilts From the Little House, suggested I submit it to be published. (Thank you Janine!) I thought about it for a bit and decided to give it a go.
In November sent it in to Country Extra which is a smaller supplement to the magazine, Country. But I didn’t hear back from them so I assumed it was not something they wanted to use. Then in April I received an email asking to use the story in their June/July issue. Success!
Yesterday I received a print copy. It is a fun experience to see my story in print. There’s my girl and Olive!
I very much appreciated how careful the editors were to retain the feeling of the essay while having to shorten it. They sent me the proof to check for any errors or changes that were needed. The woman I worked with was so friendly. It makes me feel good about the whole process and certainly willing to do it again should any idea come up worth writing about.
As for the sewing room, I have been working on the memory quilt for my friend Susie. Her husband passed away last September and in the spring she asked me to make a quilt using his shirts. It is really coming along nicely. Today I will finish sashing it. She gave me his red plaid robe that I plan to cut up for the outermost border. I think the red is going to look great. She is happy with the progress and I am honored to make this for her.
Today is the last day of the sale on Art Gallery Fabric in my shop. Be sure to come check it out – tons of gorgeous yardage is 20% off. Happy Sewing!
Linking up with my usuals and also with Em’s Scrapbag, Moving It Forward Monday – check out the projects in this link up for some fun inspiration.
As I mentioned, I am going to be spending several weeks in Vermont. My DIL is away for a 4 week seminar and I have the privilege of hanging out with H for a bit. Of course, I had to plan for some sewing time. This girl is a good napper so I should have two hours in the afternoon to sew. Luckily my DIL has a machine she loans me while I am here!
I brought supplies with me – most of which are duplicates so I plan to just leave them here. That way I know I will have the basics when I come to visit. (Thanks Wendy for the great idea! Up to now, I have been carting them back and forth with each trip.) I think I may have been a bit over-zealous when planning projects but I wanted to have choices!
I plan to make this cute turtle for H. I thought she would enjoy helping me stuff it when I get the body made. The (free) pattern is by Purl Soho and can be found here. I think the Denyse Schmidt print will be so cute for the shell and I have some Andover linen blend for the hands, feet, head and tail. Wool felt will be used for the tummy.
I also brought a stack of blocks I made last year during the Squared Away BOM hosted by Mari (Academic Quilter). I started this but didn’t finish it. I do have thirteen blocks though and Mari suggested I just alternate them with a neutral fabric to make a quilt. I think this looks great! I need to square the blocks and then will stitch the quilt top together. It will need some borders but that can wait until I get home.
This pile of scraps is the leftovers from my Twisted quilt. Some of them are already stitched together and need to be squared but many (MANY) of them need to be stitched and squared. I am excited to get this done because I think it will be fun to use these somehow. Maybe a baby quilt or a springy floral mini? The majority of the fabrics are Kaffe Fassett and it will be fun to have these to play with. First I need to get through the tedium of squaring them all up though. Have to pay to play, right?
Other than Myrtle the Turtle, this is probably my top priority. I posted this picture on Instagram two weeks ago. My friend Susie lost her husband to lung cancer in September 2018. She is ready to deal with his clothes now and asked if I would make a memory quilt. Of course I am happy (honored actually) to do this for her. I have cut the shirts into four inch squares. Some of the shirts were kind of thin but she loved them and wanted to include them. I reinforced them with a very light weight interfacing and I think they will work fine. We looked at patterns and she chose a simple patchwork. I am doing four patch blocks and sashing them with a neutral, low volume fabric in a creamy off-white. She also gave me two photos she had printed on fabric of the two of them. Those will be incorporated as well. I am hoping to get the four patch blocks stitched up during the trip.
I know, this is sort of ridiculous but I have one more project. A while ago, Sarah of Sarah Goer Quilts sent me these sweet fat quarters during a book share I hosted. I love them and thought they might make a cute purse for H to have. There is a tutorial here, created by Pat Bravo. I think it will be perfect though I plan to reduce the size a bit.
What do you think? How much of this will happen during nap time over the next three weeks? It’s anybody’s guess! But I look forward to sewing when not playing with H. She is such a cutie pie and we have lots of plans. There are tea parties to enjoy, the children’s museum to visit, and maybe a trip or two to the library. Such is life while visiting in Vermont!
A while back, my sister asked if I would make a quilt with some of the jerseys her son, Sam, had worn over the years. My sister’s family is quite the opposite of mine. They are all about sports – football, skiing, running, baseball, lacrosse – they all play something! The family also follows pro sports, both football and baseball. My family? Um, not so much. In fact, one year when a dance Julia attended (in junior high) was sports themed and the kids were supposed to wear a shirt from their favorite team, we had nothing. No favorite team, no t shirts or pennants – nothing! She ended up borrowing a t-shirt from her cousin to wear for the dance, making her a Giants baseball fan for those three hours.
Sam pitching for Varsity baseball at Cherry Creek High School in Colorado.
Sam just graduated high school and is off to college in Colorado where he will pitch for their baseball team. He has played baseball for years and also played football in high school and with all of that, he has amassed quite the stack of jerseys. It was fun to look through the jerseys he sent me, but wow, I was so hesitant to start his quilt. I have had the jerseys sitting in the sewing room since April. I would look and think about it but then fold them up and put them away. That slick jersey material and the rubbery numbers and logos made me nervous.
Love the intensity of Sam’s expression in this shot.
I asked around for suggestions and ideas and lots of people came to my rescue. Namely, Sarah Craig, of Confessions of a Fabric Addict, who has made loads of memory quilts. She and I emailed a few times and she gave me a few tips and also recommended a fusible interfacing by June Tailor that she likes.
My first step was to cut the front from the back of each shirt at the side seams. I also saved any smaller logos from the sleeves.
Julia helped me with this and we sort of folded the shirt fronts and backs into similar size squares and laid them out on the floor. Once I got to that point, I just didn’t know what I wanted to do. So, I did what any sane quilter would do and put it back in the bag and set it aside. 🙂
Finally, I did a little more research and found this book, Terrific T-Shirt Quilts, by Karen Burns. It has been very helpful. Somehow, I couldn’t picture what I wanted this quilt to look like. It definitely needed to be masculine and with red, blue and dark blue jersey and logos, there was no question it was a guy’s quilt. But it needed some sort of structure or organization. When I saw this quilt, it gave me just what I wanted. This pattern calls for the shirts to be cut to 12″ x 14″ and stabilized with fusible interfacing. The June Tailor interfacing recommended by Sarah worked really well. It is a woven fabric and adhered to the slick jersey fabric without any problem. Getting the logos to work within the 12″ x 14″ block was tricky. Some of the logos were too wide, others were featured up at the top of the fabric (just below the seam line across the shoulders in the jersey). Because of this, the designs are not centered well within the blocks. This doesn’t bother me a whole lot though.
I love this block with his last name on it but I barely fit it within the 12″ width requirement.
After getting the jerseys prepped and cut, I started to work on the sashing and border pieces. After checking in with Juanita (my sister and Sam’s mother) I decided on gray and red for the fabrics. As luck would have it, I had a great gray and white polka dot in my shop. It is actually a wide back fabric by Red Rooster (and it just happens to be available here!!) In addition to the gray and white polka dot, I chose a cherry red textured solid by PB Textiles. (Why yes, thank you for asking, I do happen to carry it in my shop. Click here!)
Doesn’t it look great?? I am so happy with it and hopefully Sam will like it as well! I added a fourth row of blocks so I could use more of the jerseys. Plus it needed the extra length – Sam is a tall guy. With the fourth row, the length grew to 72″. I have some ideas about using the little logos from the sleeves, as well as some of the wider logos that wouldn’t fit in the quilt top design, to make a pieced backing. For now though, I need to set this project aside once again.
Before I can finish Sam’s quilt, I need to finish a different project I am working on. I am reviewing a new book by Dorie Hruska, called Making Connections. It is a great tool for free motion quilting or long arm quilting with a continuous flow, thereby avoiding starts and stops. Remember my post about my entries at the fair when the judge commented she could see too many starts and stops? Well, this is helping me correct that!! There will be a fun blog hop which begins on Monday (but my post won’t come up until September 8th. ) I will be hosting a giveaway of one copy of the book so be sure to come back and check it out!
Have a great weekend everyone! It is going to be insanely hot so I will be inside taking advantage of the A/C and sewing. How about you?
Linking to my favorites – check them out at the top of the page, under Link Ups.
(This is an affiliate post, meaning if you click through and purchase Dorie’s book, I will receive a small commission.)
This is the tale of my niece and her tshirt quilt.
Long ago and far away (like last April and about 175 miles away….) a very sweet girl contacted her adoring aunt and asked for a favor. She had recently graduated from high school and was getting ready to go to the Culinary Institute in Napa Valley, California. While in high school this lovely girl, let’s call her Lil, had been on the Dance Team all four years. She loves dance and competed while on the team. She is the first cutie on the left.
Dance is Lil’s thing and she hated to see it end – it puts her in her happy place. (Though it looks torturous to me. Ouch.)
Apparently being on dance team for four years means you will amass a collection of dance tshirts. Lil became very attached to these tshirts as they held such fond memories for her. She didn’t really want to wear them anymore but didn’t want them to just sit in a drawer. She texted me one day…. “Aunt Bernie, I saw something on Pinterest, it’s a tshirt quilt. (It all starts with Pinterest, right?) I wondered if you would make one for me.” (She had asked her mom but, let’s be honest, her mom would only be able to do this if she could figure out how to make it with duct tape and a stapler. She may be the best mom ever, but not a sewist, that mom.) I had never made a quilt with knit fabric before so I saw it as a potential learning experience for me and a way to win points as super-aunt at the same time. Sure, I told her, love to. I immediately received text after text telling me how wonderful I was for doing this. Immediate gratification for me, that’s for sure.
Within a few weeks I received these (sorry, lousy quality on this photo). It was a bit daunting to look at these and try to figure out where to start. Luckily, there is an excellent tutorial (yay Pinterest) from Cindi at Seamstobeyouandme.com. It is really detailed and the process is pretty much foolproof.
After washing the shirts and lightly pressing them, I used the method described in the tutorial and cut them into equal squares. Two of the shirts were tiny and I couldn’t get a big enough square (without using the sleeve, which would have left a big seam across the square) so I did have to piece them a tiny bit. It wasn’t difficult though. The squares then had to be reinforced with fusible interfacing or the knit would stretch too much while sewing, and then quilting this project. Really, the pressing, squaring, cutting and fusing took the most time.
She had given me thirteen shirts and two of them had a back side that I thought she would want to preserve. So I did 15 squares and made 5 rows of three squares each. I found a black fabric with tiny polka dots in pink, green, blue and purple and thought that would be a good match for the tshirts she had given me. I created a sashing around the blocks to set each one apart from the other.
I had quite a bit of scrap that I used for a pieced border. I needed to add some width since the layout was 3 x 5 squares.
When quilting this I decided to do it as a sampler. I FMQ’d each square with a different pattern so that I would get in a lot of practice. (In retrospect, if doing this over again, I would quilt this with less density. I think I quilted it a bit too tightly and it gave it a stiffness that I was not all too happy with.) Because some of the logos were so big, I felt like I needed to really quilt it up around the logo. Looking back, I could do a lot less and get a good result. I also quilted a wavy line through the sashing.
Lil asked for a flannel backing (“to make it snuggly”) in either black or blue. So I came up with this:
For me the absolute best part of making this quilt was GIVING this quilt to Lil. She was so grateful and left a voicemail on my phone that will never be deleted. Soooo sweet. Isn’t she?
By the way, dance team may be over but the dancing continues. Now, aerial style. Yikes!!!
Love this girl!
Linking to the following: Linky Tuesday, Sew Cute Tuesday, Fabric Tuesday,WIP Wednesday, Let’s Bee Social, Needle and Thread Thursday, TGIFF, and finally, Finish It Up Friday. All of these links can be found at the tab at the top of my page, under Link Ups. Check them out and see all of the amazing projects people are working on!