School Fundraiser Quilt

This quilt commission has the fastest turn-around time to date – 3 days!  A cousin messaged me about making a small quilt for her son’s school fundraiser.  Luckily, I had all the colors already on hand: navy blue, red, and white.  And I even had the blue flannel backing already as well!

I placed class pictures, the school logo, and the mascot in the center four squares.

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The kids are supposed to sign in the outer four white blocks.

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I like it and think  it makes a cute fundraiser!

Science Quilt

This little lap quilt is finally finished.  I had to keep putting it on hold because of other projects coming in. I found some of the fabric at a neat fabric store that mostly has odd sizes and remnants.  Another section of the fabric was purchased after Thanksgiving at one of the big JoAnn’s sales.  I’m happy that all three fabrics meshed together.  The big symbols were part of a panel.  The periodic table fabric was a remnant.  And, of course, the science geek fabric was the most plentiful.

I decided to go with a medium blue flannel fabric for the backing, and I hoped it would compliment the front well.  My other option was navy blue, but I think this flannel worked out pretty well.  It brings out some of the lighter blue in the front.

This one will go up for sale at the spring craft shows first, and then I’ll put it online if it doesn’t sell at those.

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New Shop!

Etsy isn’t working out for me.  Since they changed their search formula, my shop has been dead in the water.  And this past weekend they had a glitch that charged sellers some crazy, unexpected fees.  Some folks, like me, were hit with only a “small” charge like $78.  Others were hit with three, four, five, or even SIX DIGIT charges!  And though Etsy is claiming it was a “small number of sellers”, the forums I was in paint a different picture.

See here for more news on the Etsy glitch. 

Aside from that, it seems I’m paying them fees to promote my listings each month with little to no return.  Even trying the newer SEO searches hasn’t really netted any results.

So…

I made a shop page on here to see if that made a difference.

So please, feel free to poke around my new shop page and see what all is going on!

Quest Quilts Shop

Memory Quilt Prayer

For the most part, my quilting hobby is fun, especially the t-shirt quilt commissions.  I love the look on someone’s face (usually a sneaky mom who smuggled shirts to me) when they see those shirts made into a quilt their senior will take to college.  But sometimes the quilt commissions can take a more somber tone.  Sometimes I’m tasked with a commission to make a memory quilt from clothes from a loved one that has passed on.  I’ve made memory quilts from clothes of both deceased younger and older folks, and it’s a profound task, preserving memories of someone else’s loved one.

My first t-shirt quilts were from my father’s clothes, and they showed me the healing power of a memory quilt.  My father died unexpectedly, and I had a lot of anger mixed in with my grief.  It was an anger that I didn’t know what to do with, and I felt powerless to confront.  And then my grandmother told me I’d be making four t-shirt quilts for myself, her, and my two other sisters.  And it was in the making of these that I found a degree of peace and finally felt like I could say goodbye. Clothes are probably the hardest part of a loved one to reliquish.  We remember what they looked like in them, which ones they favored, and they even smell like that person for a long time afterwards.

I was nervous when I made a memory quilt for someone outside of my own family.  It was for a young man who had passed away from cancer.  I remember gulping a bit as I finished up the design process and was ready to make those initial cuts into the shirts.  Again, the idea of preserving those memories for someone else is daunting.  So I prayed.  I placed my hand on the bags of clothes and prayed for guidance, peace for the grieving family, and the ability to do that person’s memory justice.  Whenever I have a quilt that has a similar back story, I take the time to pray beforehand, asking for the same guidance.

I thought I would share that prayer with you all in case you find yourself faced with a similar challenge. Feel free to use, adjust, or change as needed.

“Heavenly Father, I pray your guidance as I make this quilt.  Please guide my hands that I may do justice to this person’s memory.  May this quilt bring their family comfort in their grief and remind them of more joyful times.  In your name I pray, amen.”

 

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A memory quilt made from nice business causal clothes. This lady was an artist, so I arranged it by color and placed her own artwork in the middle.
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A memory quilt made from dress shirts. I managed to keep the collars on and featured.
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A memory quilt for a friend using the shirts her father-in-law gave her over the years.
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A memory quilt made from dress shirts and t-shirts. This is the mother holding it after it was gifted to her as a surprise.

What to look for when buying a t-shirt quilt – a published article

I’m very excited that my article on what to look for in a t-shirt quilt was published in my local community magazine.  I’m going to post the link to it, but I’m also going to post the article itself here.

Online link to magazine 

Link to information about ordering a t-shirt quilt from me. 

Article

With the availability and affordability of screen printing, t-shirts have become more popular than ever.  It seems they are the most common souvenir these days – outpacing coffee mugs, key chains, and bumper stickers. Does anyone even collect snow globes anymore?  We even say, “Been there. Done that. Got the t-shirt.” They now come with most events: road races, family reunions, clubs, concerts, VBS, school, and especially anything sports-related.  For many of us, our closets are bursting with t-shirts of which, as a guess, only a small percentage actually get worn. It’s common to have a sacred collection of shirts, be it from high school, college, a fraternity, or otherwise, that we simply refuse to throw away.  But while our memories may be plentiful, storage often is not. Walk through any second-hand store, and you’ll see plenty of discarded shirts from various occasions.  Particularly sad are the uniforms that are donated.

As graduation season looms, many parents may be nervously looking at those piles of shirts their senior has collected over the years, shirt they aren’t “allowed” to get rid of, and wondering what will become of them.  Bags of clothes sit around in closets, garages, and attics, waiting for nothing.  So what’s to be done with these fabric memories?  A lot of people have found that making them into t-shirt and memory quilts is an excellent alternative.  The shirts are seen once again and put to good use.

There are plenty of local folks who offer this service in addition to several online companies.  However, since quilting itself is an art form, not all services will result in the same product or quality.  If you’re interested in getting a quilt made from your t-shirts, uniforms, or any other clothes, here’s a helpful guide on how to ensure the best quality product.

Blanket – is it actually a quilt or a blanket?  A quilt is different from a blanket in a couple of major ways.  A blanket may have one or two layers, but a quilt will have three: a front, back, and middle (called batting). It will have those three layers sewn together with a design.  This sewing of the layers together is called “quilting”, and it’s what separates a quilt from a regular blanket.  It’s why they last many years more than a blanket.

Materials – what’s included with the price? The batting and backing of a quilt can be quite expensive.  Quality batting can go anywhere from $30-$60+.  The backing fabric can require anywhere from 4-8 yards of fabric, and quality fabric from run anywhere from $8-$15 a yard.  So when you look at a price, remember to check and see what that price includes.  A seemingly small price can add up quickly if it doesn’t include the backing and batting.

Stabilizer – do they use it?  If you’ve ever cut a t-shirt, you’ll notice that the material, jersey knit, rolls and shifts a lot.  When making a quilt from fabric like this, a quilter needs to use a material called “stabilizer” to ensure the fabric doesn’t roll, shift, or bunch up as the quilt is sewn together and later on quilted.  Seams that bulge and twist and aren’t straight are usually signs that someone didn’t use stabilizer.  When used, stabilizer gives the shirts a clean look that is flat and straight.

Batting – what kind of batting do they use? Batting can be made of several different materials.  Polyester is the most cost effective, but it doesn’t last over the years as well and isn’t as warm.  Cotton is warm and washes well over the years.  Wool batting is the most expensive as well as the warmest, but it does come with the same tricky washing guidelines that all wool products do.  Most t-shirt quilts will go for polyester or cotton.  Cotton is generally more reliable and longer-lasting.

Quilting – the closer the quilting design the longer it’ll last.  The quilting that goes throughout a quilt holds it together and makes it last over the years.  That being said, most batting does well with a quilting pattern that is spaced 10” or closer.  It also drapes better and lasts through multiple washes longer.  Quilting patterns spaced too far apart will often result in batting that shifts or bunches after a short while, leaving a lumpy and unattractive quilt.

The “Movie Test” – A short self-check that is an easy gauge of a t-shirt quilt or t-shirt blanket’s quality is called the “movie test.”  If you put on a full-length movie and sat down with scissors and a seam-ripper, would you be able to disassemble that entire quilt or blanket by the end of the credits?  If you can disassemble it in that short amount of time, then the quality is lower.  A good quilt takes ages to take apart because of the materials and close-set quilting design.

These are some of the basic elements that will vary greatly among t-shirt quilt services.  Don’t be afraid to ask them for specifics and options.  Pinterest as a lot of great ideas, but be careful in matching your design expectations to costs.  The fancier the design, the more time and materials invested in to it.  Online services offer lower prices, but local services can offer more customization.  Whichever way you decide, here’s to reviving those happy memories and freeing up storage space all in one product!

Darth Vader quilt

Christmas is here, and I can finally make a post about one quilt in particular.  I couldn’t make a peep about it anywhere on any of my social media outlets because the friend it was for was privy to all of them.

While visiting over the summer, a friend joked after seeing my other Star Wars silhouette quilts that I should make one with Darth Vader in the corridor – the scene in both Rogue One at the end and in Star Wars: A New Hope at the beginning.  A little while later, his sweet bride sent me a picture, asking about getting it made into a twin-sized quilt in the style I’d done with the others.

The original image
The original image

Well I LOVED the idea of all that red fabric, and I liked how it turned out as a background pattern for sure.  The silhouette was very simple, especially compared to the Rey and Kylo Ren quilt I’ve done a couple of times before.  I stuck with my usual style of using crepe back satin for the light saber.  I’ll forever love that fabric.

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The biggest surprise with this quilt was it was my first time using wool batting.  I’d heard of it before, but that was about it.  And let’s face it – I live in Georgia.  We don’t need wool blankets except for on a handful of days at best.  I was surprised at how light it was.  In fact, I halfway wondered if it wasn’t actually polyester.  I did some research and tried out the “burn test” on a small patch.  Sure enough, it burned and singed instead of melted, so it was the real deal.

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I made the quilt and then got really scared at the idea of washing this thing.  I have sinned against wool in the past, and I was nervous about repeating that mistake.  I finally decided I would rather wash it and take my chances with me first before sending it off to my friends.  So I washed it on the coldest, shortest, gentlest cycle my washing machine had to offer, and then I hung it out on my back deck to dry.  I’m proud to say that there were no casualties in the making of this quilt – cotton, wool, or otherwise.

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Related Posts:

Star Wars Quilt

Rey and BB8 Wall Quilt

Luke’s Last Sunset Wall Quilt

 

What to do with all those fabric scraps?!

When making quilts, you always have fabric scraps left over, and for the nice fabric quilters will always find a way to use every crumb of fabric.  In fact, there are even quilts called “crumb quilts” that feature all the little tidbits of fabric.  I’m not much of a crumb quilt person, and I certainly don’t have the storage room for them.  I do have a small 2 1/2″ square collection building up, though.

Scraps

When it comes to t-shirt quilts, though, the scraps issue takes on a whole other meaning.  Most t-shirt quilt blocks feature less than half of the fabric actually used in the shirt, and jersey knit doesn’t make for a nice scrap collection.  So what to do with all those fabric scraps?!

Scrap pile
I disturbed my cat’s resting place when I took this picture.

I’m so glad you asked. I make dog/cat beds out of them and donate them to the Society of Humane Friends of Georgia.

I cannot begin to gush enough about this organization or the tireless people who dedicate their time and energy to these precious animals.  Every Saturday you can find them, as well as other groups, stationed outside or inside Petco and PetSmart, trying to find families to adopt animals.  And they are so patient and sweet.  If the dog/cat damages their home, the costs come out of their own pockets.  The time they spend trying to socialize and rehabilitate some of the more traumatized animals is positively angelic. Not to mention they’re always on hand to attend to the medical needs of neglected and injured animals.  And they aren’t just trying to find any home for these animals.  They’re trying to find the RIGHT home.  They list the ideal circumstances for each animal to make sure both animal and owner are happy.

I sent out a call a while back asking friends if they had any thicker/non-quilting fabric that they wished to get rid of.  The thicker fabric does better in the long run as beds – more durable.  I’m proud to say several answered the call, and I have a ridiculous amount of fabric on hand specifically for dog/cat beds.

I tear the leftover t-shirt fabric into smaller pieces.  There’s also leftover batting strips too small to salvage as well as quilting fabric way too small to use (for me, anyway).  Then I’ll turn on a movie and stuff those scraps into the squares I’ve prepped, sewing the opening shut by hand. I can’t stuff them too full, though, or they won’t fit inside the crates.

It’s a small effort on my part, but the knowledge that maybe I’ve helped out the foster parents in some way makes me happy.  They do so much and deserve so much more.  We have two cats and a dog.  All three are connected to this organization in some way.

Eleanor
I love Eleanor. She can be a bit judgey at times.

Eleanor was part of a box of cats that was abandoned in front of PetCo one Saturday morning before adoptions started. Apparently a hearse drove up, dumped off a box of black and white cats, and drove off.  The adoption folks couldn’t take them with their own animals because the cats weren’t vetted up, etc.  But because they are the loving people that they are, they promised that anyone who took home one of the hearse cats would have the cat’s first round of shots and the spay/neuter paid for.

Jordan
He’s an excellent spooning partner – if a little mouthy at times.

If I have cash on me and pass by that store on a Saturday morning (which is a lot considering it’s right beside JoAnn’s), I always try to donate something.  One morning I went and saw a little orange cat.  He twisted, turned, and did the “buy me” dance, licked my finger, and won my heart.  I went home and spoke with my husband and roommate, and we all agreed Eleanor needed a friend. So in comes Jordan!

Diana
I am greeted every morning with excitement twirls. Such a self-esteem boost!

The last family member to join us is Diana (the Wonder Dog).  She came after a lot of thought and consideration.  We went back and forth for about two weeks when I saw a sponsored ad for her asking why no one had adopted her yet.  I put in an application about an hour later, and the foster mom met me on Monday to take her home for a week trial.  She’s been a blessing ever since.  An added bonus is that she likes to slide down playground slides!

If you’re considering getting a pet for your family, I cannot recommend adopting from the Society of Humane Friends enough!

Related blogs and posts:

Society of Humane Friends of Georgia
Savannah’s Paw Tracks

Another Good Dog

Harley’s Dream: End Puppy Mills