Saturday, January 13, 2018

A couple of commission quilts from work

Because I've donated quilts at work for raffles and United Way many people know that I make T-Shirt quilts.  I'll frequently get questions about how much it would cost.  Usually I quote a price, they look surprised then say thanks, but no thanks.  But on occasion they appreciate the work that goes into the quilt and ask when I can start. 

This first quilt was for a co-worker's daughter who had recently graduated from high school.  I made it on a similar plan, using columns of the same sized blocks, arranged with color and subjects randomly scattered. 

And this was an unusual request.  My co-worker and her husband are long time season ticket holders for the Dallas Cowboys.  She had a collection of the towels they give out at the games and wanted me to make a quilt for her husband for his birthday.  I wasn't sure how I was going to do it, but agree to try.  I didn't use any interfacing.  And the sewing room looked like it had snowed from all the little bits of towel fluff, but it turned out well, largely because of the fun Dallas Cowboy fabric she found for the sashing. I quilted it with stars, just to keep with the theme.  She tells me he loves the quilt and won't let their little dog lay on it just in case it thinks of chewing.  

Saturday, November 4, 2017

Air National Guard challenge

After the presentation of the music camp quilt, one of the church members asked if I ever made T-shirt quilts for others.  Cautiously I said, "sometimes".  Mostly because I've gotten those requests before from people who think it takes me a handful of hours, worth $50 or less.  When he said how much and didn't bat an eye when I told him my base rate, I agreed.  This was to be a retirement gift for his commending officer in the Texas Air National Guard.

A few weeks later he brought me a bag of t-shirts, and asked that it be large ("king sized").  The only problem was most of the shirts only had pocket sized emblems.  How in the world was I going to make this large?  Well I needed large sashing to start with, so I determined to use the shadow box idea, where it looks like the block is floating above the surface.  But this wasn't even going to come close.  A week later he brought me a few more and I asked him was there any chance of getting shirts with large pictures?  We talked and I thought of putting something large in the center, with the small emblems around the edge.  He asked if I could put the name of their division and showed me one of the shirts had the information needed.  Definitely, that would work.  So I took a picture of the wording on the shirt, printed it out and traced the lettering onto another sheet, then blew it up again.  Using Steam a seam II I cut out the lettering from some mottled black fabric that I was using for the shadows.  I almost forgot to reverse the tracing, fortunately as I was about to start cutting I noticed the problem and was able to pull off the backing sheet and flip it over.  I would have been so irritated had I cut all those letters out backwards! Sometimes my brain does kick in to gear in time.

Before I fused them down I laid out the blocks I had to see what sort of arrangement made sense.  I only had 4 large pictures and several small ones.  I had decided to use some denim colored fabric I had purchased as wide backing material.  I had several long pieces left from trimming a couple of other quilts that worked perfectly and another largish size for the center that wasn't big enough for more backing (yeah, repurposed).  The black I had purchased a bolt when a LQS was going out of business, so the only thing to purchase was the batting and backing, which ended up being extra wide flannel on sale, total materials purchased was less than $30, everything else was scraps from my scrap bin or stash. 

When the blocks were laid out with a large center section reserved for the letters I had an odd space for one more small block.  Hey, why not make an airplane block.  So I went searching through my various books, then the internet for something I liked.  I found a quilt online that I felt didn't look too juvenile, snipped it, resized and traced to make a paper pieced block.  The inspiration quilt also had some blocks that looked like propellers that I also liked so I made some of those too.  For the lettering I decided not to zig zag stitch around each, but instead just straight stitched near the edge.  The fusible material is permanent but I wanted to be sure they wouldn't come lose.  After washing the edges made a nice little fuzzy edge that went well with the denim background.

So here is the finished quilt.  It won't be presented until early December, but the person who commissioned it was thrilled.  It turned out about 90x100, not king size but large enough.  I was tickled, when I showed him a picture of the quilt before it was finished, he asked how I was going to sew the blocks down.  He thought they were floating loose, how's that for a good optical illusion!

Saturday, July 29, 2017

MusiCamp quilt

Every year for the last 16 years the music minister and his wife have conducted a music camp at our church during the summer break.  The culmination of the camp is a wonderful musical production the final night.  They are very talented and very committed to the kids and the camp is a big event in our church life.
A few weeks ago one of the ladies who participated in the camp came to ask if I would make a quilt from the shirts from the camps.  She was able to locate a shirt from each of the 16 years.  I decided to try a pattern I had seen previously and wanted to try.  The wide sashing uses black and white fabric, both with musical notes.
Each of the shirts had a similar size design and a pocket size logo with the name and date on it, all except one.  For that one I pulled out my very old very basic embroidery machine and replicated the information on a scrap of the fabric.   It turned out well enough that it isn't obvious.  This pattern worked very well with the two sizes, though because of the large sashing the quilt turned out very large, almost full size.  I wanted some kind of border that would complement the pattern and decided on large blocks of color picked from the black fabric pattern.  It frames the quilt well and makes the over all pattern very happy.  This quilt was almost as much fun as making an I spy quilt, love the bright cheerful colors.

We plan to present the quilt on the final night of the show this year, at the end of July.  I will post this after it is presented.  I don't want to take any chances that they might see it on the web, you never know.

The presentation was last night after the performance.  It was so fun to see Stacy's reaction when she realized what it was.  She had been talking earlier in the week about asking me to make one in a few more years when they had a nice round 20 shirts.  Oh well, a few years early.  Love that smiling face!

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Aggie quilt

This quilt was made for a co-worker for her son who is headed to Texas A&M in the fall.  She fell in love with the Aggie fabric and wanted to use it for the sashing.  It was a challenge to work with as I wanted to make sure it was straight and the pattern repeated appropriately.  That added significant time and required more than the usual 2 yards.  But she is happy with the result.  It's too busy for my taste but as long as he likes it, that is what is important.

Remembrance quilt

Several times I have participated in my company's Time and Talent auction for United Way.  Last year a co-worker won the auction and I made the theater quilt for her daughter.  This year another co-worker wanted me to make a quilt from her deceased husband's shirts.  He had died in a car crash over 10 years ago when her two daughters were very small.  She had remarried a widower and together they have raised a large family.  But she still had this box of shirts.  She brought them to me along with a couple of ball caps, his military fatigues and fireman's uniform.  I had some misgivings about cutting into these things.  Definitely the emotional attachment was higher than in any other quilt I've made.

 She decided to use thin denim as sashing, supplemented by a couple of plaid shirts.  I was able to find some flannel similar to the shirts to use as the backing.  I used medium loft poly batting since with the denim the quilt was very heavy and I felt the poly wouldn't add as much weight as cotton.  Another co-worker who is in the marine reserves advised me on the proper way to display the name and US Marines from the fatigues.   I removed the patches from the fireman's uniform and disassembled the caps.  The only place I had difficulty quilting was the patches so I went around them.  The batting gave a nice puffy result with large looping quilting.  The quilt is still very heavy but not excessively so.  With the left over fabric from the plaid shirts I was able to make a pillow case.  She tells me her two daughters are trading off, one gets the quilt for a while and the other gets the pillow case.  The family is happy with the result and I am pleased with how it turned out.

Sunday, April 2, 2017

A great idea for when you aren't trying to squeeze in a lot of t-shirts

Disclaimer.  This isn't my design.  I ran across it on Facebook. 

But to me to looks like the BQ3 Pattern by Maple Island Quilts
It really does make a nice design for a t-shirt quilt, utilizing the small patches that are frequently on the front of many shirts.  I haven't tried it yet - most of the time I'm trying to squeeze in as many shirts as possible.  But the first opportunity I want to give this one a try.

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Theater Quilt

This quilt was made for a friend at work for her daughter as a Christmas present.  The mom spent a lot of time and effort gathering t-shirts from teachers, directors, friends as well as cast photos and printing them on fabric.  It turned out really great and is extra special because of all the time and effort she put into it.  She said her daughter cried when she opened it - which is of course the best feedback.