Theater T-shirt Quilt

This quilt was fun and a definite break from my usual mold. We divided the shirts into color families. I knew the some of them had rather big designs, and I wanted to make sure nothing “cool” was left out. For some of them, I just cut the central image in half and made sure each was still in. I rather like the crazy-quilt-shadow-box combo.

A fun bonus is that the white section is excellent for signatures! And can I begin to say how much I just LOVE the neat green and gold scroll design on the backing fabric?!

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Dog Scarf Quilt

This commission was unique in that it was a memory quilt for a sweet little dog, Munson, who had passed away.  His owner was so sweet, and she loved him very dearly as was evidenced by her getting choked up just talking about him.  Apparently he had a scarf for every occasion: Thanksgiving, Halloween, 4th of July, Christmas, and many other colors and patterns in between.

After taking a look at them, I realized there were so many variations of fabric and size that my options were limited.  The best option to include them all was a crazy-quilt style design.  I sorted the scarfs by occasion and/or color and went from there.  The owner did give me one t-shirt that she wore, so I made it the centerpiece and worked around from there.

I like that she chose a light blue backing.  It reminded me of the sky, and I thought it fitting.  This was also one of the first times I’ve added a label onto the quilt.  Hopefully I can remember to do it more often.

So here it is – the dog scarf memory quilt.  I just love it, and it was wonderful to work with something new.

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Happy customers!

One thing about making t-shirt quilts and memory quilts is that I don’t often get the see the reaction of the actual recipient.  I get to see how much the person who commissioned it likes it, but the actual recipient is rare.

So when a customer shares a picture with me of their quilt being loved by the recipient, I cherish it.  I’ve gone through and collected some of my favorite pictures from over the years of people loving on their quilts that I made.  It’s a good smile for a Friday.

Tyler
Most recent graduation quilt gifted!
T-shirt quilt 1
The original memory quilt! First one ever made – for my grandmother.
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I think he likes it!
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She loved hers so much she brought it to school. My heart!
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Pre-school director gets a neat one.
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It’s not a quilt, but my dog is definitely a happy recipient.
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My buddy loves his Star Wars quilt.
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Loved this silhouette quilt almost as much as the new mom.
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My husband with this surprise king-size mariner’s compass quilt.
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Memory quilt 1
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Memory quilt 2
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What a fun baby quilt this was to make!
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Brother 2
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Brother 3
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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.
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A graduate holding her t-shirt quilt. I think she liked it.
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Baby quilt made from panels for my niece.
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Little buddy cuddling with daddy’s Darth Vader quilt.

Three Memory Quilts

A dear friend and fellow teacher and church member asked me to make memory quilts from her parents’ clothes.  This commission was particularly loaded because I knew some of the back story and had seen at least some of the struggle this family faced.

The father had been through a long struggle with Lewy Body Dementia.  As a side note, March is Lewy Body Dementia Awareness Month.  For more information about this condition and the fight it involves, click here.  Having seen the family go alongside the father in this fight, I knew it had taken a huge emotional toll.  The mother’s passing was most unexpected.  She was a huge figure in the Agnes Scott College community, and friends who I knew from different circles knew of her simply because they were Agnes Scott alumni.  For more information on this fantastic college, click here. So yes, the family and community lost two special souls in a short amount of time.

So when my friend brought in three bags of sorted clothes to make three lap quilts, I knew this commission would need to be perfect.  Before beginning this quilt, like many of my memory quilts for lost loved ones, I said my memory quilt prayer and then got to work.

The colors were chosen as an homage to both parents, green for dad and purple for mom.  Of course, there are numerous shades of green and purple, so we had to get the right one.

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My sewing area has terrible lighting.  I really should fix that. 

After that was the layout and switching around anything that my friend wanted to shift.

Then I sent one picture of one of the pinned quilts and then a last picture of them all ready and folded up.  I like to save the final reveal for in-person.  We met up, and I was thrilled at how happy she was.  It’s a strange hobby when tears mean a job well done.

She sent me follow up pictures of the quilts as they were gifted to her siblings and one of herself underneath her own quilt.  Overall, it was a gratifying commission, and I’m thankful to have helped give a wonderful family some degree of comfort.  Love you, Abby!

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Harley Davidson quilt

A while back I received a request to finish a quilt someone’s neighbor had begun years ago. It was a Harley Davidson quilt.

“The shirts are already cut!” he told me. Normally I brace myself when I hear that because it means more work for me. Folks cut the shirts without stabilizer or with no consistent size. But this fella’s neighbor had done her homework! The shirts were stabilized and mostly consistently cut.

He wanted a different type of border than I’d used in the past, but I could see how’d they’d done it easily enough. The original t-shirt quilt he’d seen was in a museum in Florida.

And typical me…it was raining, so I didn’t get a finished picture.

Here are a couple of in-progress ones. You get the idea.

New adventures

I love the craft fairs and being a vendor at them.  They’re fun, and I get to meet lots of different people.  But one issue I run in to is that I don’t sell many smaller items.  Much of my inventory is higher priced, so I’m learning what shows work for me.

Lots of folks will come by and oohhh and aaaahhh, but if they aren’t bothering to look at price tags, they didn’t come prepared to shop.  And if you’re selling larger priced items, you need to find shows where people are prepared to shop.  Shows that are focused on something else and have thrown vendors in as an aside don’t often do well for larger-priced items.

So I’ve found that Spring shows haven’t done well for me in the past.  Let’s face it – quilts don’t sell well in warm weather.  I’d sworn I wasn’t going to do anymore Spring shows, but two came up that I just couldn’t resist giving a try.

One is the Riley Day event, April 27th, hosted by the fine people over at the Amanda Riley Foundation. All proceeds from that show go to support families as they deal with childhood cancer, and the more I learn about the Riley family the more I want to support them.  So I figure it’s a win no matter what, and the fact that it would reach my niche client group is a major bonus.

The other event is my biggest event yet – the Vintage Market Days of Greater Atlanta, May 31-June 2.  Vintage Market Days specializes in antiques, recycled and up-cycled art and decor, and they have shows all over the USA.  My daughter and I went on a reconnaissance visit to the Christmas one, and I thought I might do alright at it.  My daughter gave her 8 year’s wisdom and agreed that it was worth a shot.  Again, the people attending looked like they might be in my niche client group – folks who liked sentimental items, especially re-purposed ones.  So I don’t know how my ready-made items will do, but I’m thinking my t-shirt quilt commissions will fair well.

Since the big event is also inside, I’m trying something new with my booth layout, and I’ll use the Riley Day event to test it out.  So here’s hoping the new layout pays off.

So if you’re in the area, come on by and say hi!

 

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.