Saturday, January 21, 2012

T - shirt progress

I have to admit, I have never liked the look of the standard, grid-style, t-shirt quilt. They just don't appeal to me, for some reason. So, when my cousin sent me three boxes of my uncle's old Harley stuff and camo and asked me to make a t-shirt quilt with them she gave me an interesting challenge. There were t-shirts with large designs as well as smaller sleeve and front-chest logos. There were also half a dozen patches, a do-rag, and a pair of boxers!

Boxers, disassembled and stabilized with fusible interfacing. I have to admit, I love these.

I have actually made a t-shirt quilt before, here after referred to as The Quiltastrophe, which has never seen the light of day.  It was a victim of a fabric that bled in the wash, followed by a botched attempt to clean the escaped dye.  When I did that one I decided not to use fusible interfacing on the shirts, thinking I could get by without it.  In fact, the shirts worked fine without the interfacing, but since there were going to be so many more shirts in this quilt I thought I'd better stabilize them a bit this time.  What a difference it made!  The materials are so much easier to work with when they're not stretching and warping constantly.  Even the denim shirt, which wasn't particularly stretchy to start, benefited from the interfacing.  Of course I managed to melt the interfacing glue onto my iron in the process, but that's another story.

I flipped through my file of quilting images on my computer until I had an idea for a design that would use all the different sized pieces and not look like your regular t-shirt quilt. I cut each of the large designs into a rectangular piece and paired it with a strip of smaller pieces joined by sashing.  These big blocks will be fit together in a semi random pattern.
I wanted to include fun things, too.  Things to show that these were clothes-- that they came from a person, not a fabric store.  This strip of buttons is from the front of a button down. I put a panel of the boxers with the little motor cycles behind it so the buttons can be opened.
Some day my cousin will have kids who won't ever be able to know their grandfather, but I want them to see things like this and know that he was fun.

Monday, January 16, 2012

(Yet Another) Late Christmas Gift

This one is TWO Christmases late! That's right, I started this project in November of 2010. It was destined, all along, to be a gift for a friend and a fellow artist going through a rough time. She is finally going to receive it this week. The design is supposed to be like Braille. Believe it or not, those four repeated characters (are they called characters?) are four words: "Be still and know" part of a Bible verse from the Psalms. The last set trails off, "Be still and..." I'm not positive it's completely right, since I am not a native Braille reader. That may be wrong kind of "still" (as in "The party is still on" as opposed to "Sit still and be quiet"). The person I am giving it to is not a Braille reader either, so hopefully if it's wrong no one will ever notice.

This wall hanging is about 40"x18" and it uses lovely shot cottons (the ones that have two colors woven together) which gives it a lot of texture. The quilting also gave it texture, and there is an extra disk of batting behind each of the reverse appliqued Braille dots to make them poof up. This will be nice for my friend not only to have hanging on the wall to look at, but also to run her hands over as the texture of the design is so vivid. (Can texture be vivid? I think it should be able to be.) I can't wait to finally give this to her :)

Sunday, January 15, 2012

(Another) Late Christmas present, an art quilt, and a new project

Thank goodness someone had a camera on Friday when I gifted these. This one was for the guy on the left there. I'm not sure what to call it. Nested boxes? Some kind of modified star? Anyway, I chose all flannel and homespun fabrics and did the design with big half-square triangles, so it came together quickly. It is really, really cuddly and soft. This one finished out at about 64"x74", a nice size for a guy on the short side.

Here is a picture I should have posted yesterday, but I didn't have it yet, of my tall friend with his. I like how you can tell he's smiling just by his eyes. The backing for both my Christmas quilts came from the same flannel sheet set, so it tied them together and made them extra soft.

In the wake of the two big quilting projects I'd been working on for so long I decided to do something quick! This was a great way to use some scraps (although it hardly made a dent). I quilted it densely with a variegated blue thread and then washed it on a gentle cycle to fray the "rain" just a bit. It required a major hair cut after the wash, but the finished project definitely came out like I was hoping. I gave it to one of the cat ladies in my life and she already had it hung on the wall!

This box of clothes my cousin sent me is my next project. They are some of my late uncle's clothes and a lot of Harley stuff to make into a memory quilt. I am still mulling over exactly how I want to arrange it all. It's going to be hard to cut these up, even if I know it is to make them into something better.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Christmas Quilts finally delivered!

Today (yes, several weeks late) I finally delivered this year's "Christmas Quilts" to their recipients. I made two quilts for a couple of men I work with a lot in the community theater. The one I am showing first is a Carpenter's Star pattern made with Kona solids for the stars and some lightly patterned browns for the background.

I make my carpenter's stars with Y seams rather then "cheating" with a slightly different pattern to get away with only squares and half-square triangles (example here, notice how every other one of the center squares are larger). As you can see I made 5 whole stars, 4 halves and 4 quarters, and oh, my! The Y seams! I'm afraid after this that I can't even look at another Y seam for at least a year.

One of the issues with this quilt was that the guy I made it for is 78" tall (that's 6'6") so a normal sized throw quilt would have been a toe warmer! I added a zigzag border on two ends to make it longer in that dimension and then put a 5" border all the way around. It ended up about 90"x73ish" (somehow one short end is 71" while the other is 75". Don't even ask me how I lost 4 inches. I have no idea.)

This is what the partially pinned quilt looked like when I quit for the night and went to bed. I had to cover the parts that were already pinned because Wilson (my cat) tries to grab the pins and run off with them. Of course, since they are attached to the quilt, that doesn't work so well and he ends up tugging on the fabric. He's a nut.

All wrapped up with a label and ready to gift!