Sloth Quilt

I finished the sloth t-shirt quilt, and it was so fun!  Originally it was supposed to be a lap sized quilt, but my friend said something that’s music to my ears.  She said, “I trust you.  You have complete artistic freedom.”  Most of the time when folks tell me this, they get way more than what they paid for.  There’s something irresistible about having a clean slate for creativity!

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For this one, since I had 10 shirts, I decided to play around with a similar layout like the Berenstain Bears quilt and make the squares staggered.

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My friend said her favorite color, among many of them, was apple green.  Well for me there’s one color above all that compliments apple green – a very texture unbleached beige.  I suppose it’s like the hay element in my mind.  Anyhow, I found a nice quality unbleached muslin, complete with texture variations, to use alongside the apple green.

My friend did mention she was a very tactile person, so the backing needed to be more than a simple cotton quilting.  I looked around and settled on a green flannel-backed satin.  I love the sheen it has, and the feel to it is cool and sleek – perfect for tactile folks!

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The light here is terrible!  Fabric with lots of sheen never seems to look good in pictures. 

I loved making this quilt and expanding on my normal format for t-shirt quilts.  It’s a great example of why I tell folks don’t worry about not having enough shirts to make a bigger quilt.  I can always play around with the layout.  This one, using 10 shirts, was originally meant to be a lap quilt and ended up being a full-sized spread!

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Three Quilts for Three Brothers

Recently I received a picture of a senior with his quilt that I’d made.  This one was particularly special because it was the third one I’d made, and it was the final one as this was the youngest of three brothers to graduate.

I made the middle brother’s quilt first.  This is a nice change of pace for all you middle siblings out there, I’m sure!  After that I went back and made the oldest one’s quilt, followed most recently by the youngest.

I enjoyed making these and loved that they all used the same fabrics along with the same “G” on the back.  This is the only client I’ve done a G on the back for, and all three quilts have it.

I also had no idea it was possible to be in as many leadership and community service clubs as these brothers were in!  I’m not sure how the school will fair next year since their presence will have moved on to greater sites.

*Somehow I managed to not get any pictures, or save them, of the oldest brother’s quilt.  Oh well, I can assure you it looks quiet identical to the youngest brother’s.

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I used gold crepe back satin to make the G and at the intersections on the front. 
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It won’t stop raining here, so I had to get creative with my picture-taking. 
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The front of the hoodie!
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This signature shirt required a bit of “Frankenstein”ing to make everything fit, but I managed.  
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The first quilt I made for the middle brother.  I had some fun in the school library with an impromptu photo shoot. 

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Hockey Jersey Quilt

*A quick note to say that the picture at the top is one of the in-progress pictures. I forgot to get a final picture.  That happens a lot.

This quilt was a first for me in regards to theme.  It’s a hockey quilt.  If you know anything about the state of Georgia, you’ll understand why I don’t have more of these.  Georgia’s climate specializes in heat and humidity, and what’s “cold” to us is a fair day up in Vermont.  So yeah, it’s amazing I’ve even gotten one hockey quilt.

That being said, hockey jersey material really is like no other, and I loved working with it.  You know when you get your hands on some high quality copy paper?  The good stuff?  You know how you can tell by its texture and thickness that it was made to last?  These hockey jerseys felt the same way – only in fabric form.

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I’ve worked with football, baseball, and softball jerseys aplenty, but the hockey jersey presented one big problem those others didn’t.  A big problem.  Big.  The jersey fonts and numbers were huge because they needed to go over all that padding.  I ended up using my standard block size for all of the rows except the last one.  If you look carefully, you’ll notice the bottom row is slightly longer.  That was the only way I was going to be able to get everything fitted in.  And even then I had to shorten and rearrange some of the trim and names.  But in the end I think it worked out just fine.

There was one element on this quilt that was completely new for me.  The client gave me a couple of pairs of hockey socks and said something along the lines of, “I don’t know if you can do anything with these, but here they are.”  I told her I’d see what I could manage because I had an idea.  I was able to sew them together with no issues, but I sure did bite my lip when my quilting machine went over them, afraid for all parties involved.  But the machine took the knitted socks in stride, and I simply avoided the bulky seam part when possible.  I love pointing to those two blocks and telling people that those were socks.  I think it’s so funny.

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Senior Band Quilt

This quilt was gifted, so I can share!

This quilt is a great example of why I tell folks not to worry about not having enough t-shirts for a certain size quilt.  I can always add in more blocks.  For example, this person had 8 shirts but wanted a twin-sized quilt for her daughter.  So I simply went in and added quartered blocks alternating with the shirts.  I like the overall look.

Layout

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I was still waiting for the embroidered patches to get back to me. Hence the hole in the middle.

Also, I had a couple of clients want to know about embroidery.  That is one service I do not offer as of yet.  Sometimes I think about getting a fancy embroidery machine, but then I remember that I am limited on  space and funds and time.  I don’t know if I would even have the time to fully learn it.  I still have a serger that I am too scared to touch.

One thing about this quilt that I especially love is the backing.  It is made from a fabric called “shirting flannel”.  So it’s extra soft.  Basically, it’s pajama pants material.  Can you imagine?!  A quilt with pajama pants material on the back?!  I keep looking for more ways to incorporate this kind of material into my quilts as it’s just so darned comfy!

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Pajama Pants Material!

In progress: sloth t-shirt quilt

I’m at the beginning stages of a sloth t-shirt quilt and thought I’d share. This one isn’t a surprise, so I can post along the way.

I’ve seen some online tutorials and such on t-shirt quilts, but unless the person is an actual quilter they all forget one thing: stabilizer. T-shirts are made of jersey knit fabric, and that stuff likes to curl, shift, and stretch. So you NEED stabilizer to make your shirts look properly flat and keep the picture straight.

I’m cutting these blocks in a smaller one than usual. They’ll be 12″x12″.

I am happy when shirts are such as I don’t have to re-center them or add on fabric at the neck and shoulders so that everything is squared properly. It makes for a quick evening’s work!

Here’s the layout design.

Senior Quilt

This quilt is a great example of what a quintessential senior quilt looks like.  In this case there are student council shirts, football jerseys, baseball uniforms, and goofy teacher shirts.  The sashing has gold crepe back satin because I really wanted the luster that came with actual gold colors.

I sent her the update pictures as I went.

This mom also asked for a large gold G to be on the back as a nod at the high school logo.

I liked this one so much I had a small photo session in our school library.

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Softball Jersey Quilt

My first t-shirt/memory quilts were the first four I did for my family from my father’s clothes.  The first quilt I did for someone else was a softball quilt I made for a friend.  In fact, it was the same friend who commissioned the Harry Potter quilt!  Since I’d cut my teeth, so the speak, on those first four, I’d learned a lot and was fairly confident in my ability to do her softball jerseys justice.

One thing I hadn’t done before but was confident I could handle was putting a name on the quilt in addition to the jerseys.  For this one, I printed large letters and cut them out against fabric with fusible interfacing.  Nowadays I just use a projector, and I can get more creative with my fonts as a result.

The one surprise I managed to work in for her was a picture of her state champion softball team from the high school yearbook.  She had softball jerseys from every part of her life except high school.  Those had been purged a while back.  But I could tell this was important to her, so I found a yearbook from that year, scanned the picture, and printed it on to printable fabric as a nice surprise.

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School yearbook picture – I scanned this and included it in the quilt as a surprise since she’d lost all her softball shirts from high school.

To quilt this one, I chose to use the invisible thread since there were so many colors.  My machine didn’t like it even though the quilt itself looked great.

I also made a pillowcase from the leftover shirts that weren’t able to make it onto the quilt.  I’m rather proud of this one, but it threw me for one last loop right as I was getting ready to hand it over.

Sometimes people don’t understand that quilts are supposed to “dimple” up, and they’ll do that after the first wash.  As a result, I tend to wash the quilt before handing it over to my client so that it already looks like what it will be, no surprises.  I did the same with this one, but since the shirts had been in a tote in the garage for years the letters didn’t hold up.  I pulled the quilt out of the dryer and panicked when I was cracked and incomplete letters on several of the shirts.  I just couldn’t give it over like that!  I turned around and grabbed some black t-shirt paint I had from a different project and basically “spackled” the letters, filling in the gaps with that t-shirt paint so that they would hold up better.  In the end it worked, and my panic went away.

For the backing, we had a hard time finding a fabric that didn’t scream “baseball”, and in the end we went with this one.  I liked the overall look.

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Softball backing

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Auburn T-shirt Quilts

This was a Father’s Day commission.  I’ve never really been into sports unless I was actually on the team, so I had no qualms about making an Auburn quilt or two.  I’ll admit it was a good thing I didn’t care or have any loyalty to another team because I was up to my elbows in orange and blue for a long time.  Right after this commission I had an order for a Detroit Tigers quilt, so MORE orange and blue.

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Detroit Tigers quilt with alternating frames style

It was fun, though, because these quilts had a lot of “trash talk” shirts, and I chuckled at more than one of them.

I also had some baby clothes to try and work in – a couple of hats and a bib along with a pair of shorts and a couple of baby shirts.  I was able to do it with the help of fusible interfacing and invisible thread.

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One of the trash-talk shirts and above it is a baby hat.

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One of the quilt was my standard size and sashing look.  The first row, second from the bottom, was a handkerchief, and I used the back of one of the other shirts and made it into a block.

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The other one took a little more thought because it was what I refer to as “jigsaw”.  I spend a lot of time working on my graphic paper pad for the jigsaw style because everything has to fit together just right.

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The backing for the jigsaw quilt was fun because we decided to split the back between orange and blue.  I kept my usual method of fold-over binding, so the binding is also duel-colored!  I also did my usual loops and swirls quilting pattern.

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Runner T-shirt Quilt

This commission came as the result of one of my craft fair shows.  It was fun because the colors were not the conventional ones I was used to, but I loved loved loved them!

Instead of my traditional sashing style, I used the alternating frames look and let the harvest orange and eggplant purple frames play off one another.  The backing was the neat brocade print with a darker orange design on top of a lighter orange.  In my head I was referring to it as “pumpkin spice” orange.  As I went on and kept seeing the colors together I began to like them more and more.  I remember debating with my client for a long time in the store over the different color combinations, and I remembering saying something along the lines of “if you want to play it safe, then go for blue.”  But we both kept coming back to the orange and purple combo, and I was eager to start.

One thing that made this quilt more challenging was the runner bibs element.  The client had read somewhere that sewing them was possible, but I wasn’t so sure.  I noticed that one had foam on the back and several had stickers on the front.  I kept imagining how my machine would act when it hit that foam and how the stickers would act once the quilt was washed.  Neither scenario was good.  In the end, she took me up on my suggestion to scan the bibs and then applique them into a block.  She had so many that we used up two blocks to make it all work out. It helped when we realized we didn’t need the sponsors section of the bibs and I could crop them out.  In the end, the bibs were only slightly smaller than the original ones, and she had her original ones back – unharmed.

In the end it was the color combo that had me so excited for this particular quilt, and I still think it’s one of the best and boldest combos I’ve seen.

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I scanned running bibs and incorporated them into the bottom two corners of the quilt.

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