Monday, December 14, 2015

Soccer/Wrestling T-Shirt Quilt

I just finished stitching the binding on this t-shirt quilt and I couldn't be happier with how it turned out! My aunt's friend gave me a bunch of her son's t-shirts and said she trusted me with the layout and the design. I had 16 shirts/squares that I could work with, but I really didn't want to do a big 4 x 4 square layout because I just imagined the (college) kid laying on the couch with his feet sticking out of the bottom. I also didn't love the idea of a 3 x 5 layout because I didn't want it to feel too long and skinny. In the end I decided that I needed the length, so I added some plus blocks on the sides as a border to make it more proportional. I used scraps from the shirts for the plus blocks and I got really lucky when I found a gray cotton chambray in the clothing fabrics section of JoAnn's for the keystones and the background of the plus blocks. It matched everything perfectly and really pulled it all together. I pre-washed all of the fabrics so nothing would shrink out of proportion when they washed it. 
I love the quilting pattern that I found. I tried really hard to make sure the quilt stayed masculine in every way, so I think the squares really accent the shirts nicely.
The plus blocks on the borders are made from leftover shirt scraps.
Again, I was trying to keep things masculine, so I had a really hard time finding a backing fabric that wasn't too girly. (I don't think I've ever made a quilt for a guy before!) Luckily I found a really cool sweatshirt fleece that was super soft and not too thick. My longarm quilter actually quilted it without batting and it's just as thick and warm as any other quilt I've made.
There was one more shirt that got relegated to the back when I decided to use only 15 shirts on the front. It blends in perfectly! 
After initially agonizing over this quilt and how to make it "special", I'm really happy with how it turned out. T-shirt quilts are surprisingly quick and easy, considering the blocks are huge (I think mine were 14" finished). I wouldn't mind making a few more in the near future! I hope this quilt gets used and loved and brings back lots of great memories. :)

Friday, December 11, 2015

"Radiant Blues" Police Officer Wedding Quilt

My cousin Chelsea is a police officer in Fort Worth, Texas. She got married on November 8th, so I got to head down to Texas and see my family for the first time in almost a year! I knew I wanted blue to be the main theme of the quilt, so when I found a Moda turnover full of rich blue, turquoise, and gray solids, I knew I had to use it! (A turnover is a layer cake cut in half on the diagonal.) I used two turnovers, so basically one whole layer cake.

The best part about taking the pictures for this quilt is that I gave my husband a break from being my quilt holder and had my brother-in-law do it instead. (Is it wrong of me to admit that I enjoyed seeing him suffer for the sake of my art?) Haha. :)
This is the face of suffering and frustration after I kept telling him, "Hold it up higher! I can still see your head, duck down! Now it's crooked, hold it up straight! Why are your arms shaking? This isn't that hard!" Poor Abe. :)
In his defense, it was really windy. This is me attempting to help.
This picture perfectly sums up our photo shoot and makes me laugh every time I look at it. Abe is looking at my sister (his wife) wondering when this is going to be over, I'm trying to get the quilt to lay flat and look nice for the pictures, and Wes (my husband) is just leaning against the wall, smirking, because this is normally what I put him through and now he gets to enjoy it from a distance.
Again, windy. I can't really complain about the weather though because the day of the wedding was 65 degrees and sunny. Perfect!
We took these pictures at the rehearsal luncheon, which was held at a retirement community. We spent a good deal of time in the courtyard taking pictures, and I can only imagine what the residents were thinking as they heard me calling out directions and laughing maniacally...
I found the backing fabric at JoAnn Fabrics, of all places. It matched the colors on the front perfectly!
I didn't realize until I was editing the pictures that this label is EXTRA crooked. Oh well. I love the binding though! I used the same gradient gray/black fabric that I used for my sister's Black and Gray X-Plus Quilt.
I was telling my sister to get a picture of one of the spots where the points matched perfectly. I used a glue basting method with these triangles and I think it really helped to keep the triangles from stretching out as I was sewing them.
My sister's photography skills (and camera) are much better than mine. Had to take advantage of it while we were together. :) 
I hope you enjoyed looking at this quilt as much as I enjoyed writing about it! I love the final product and how it just radiates light. I wish Chelsea and Jeffrey all the best and can't wait to head back to Texas to see everyone again! I'll leave you with a picture of my family (and yes, my dad is the king of the selfie stick) and my siblings!