A while back, my friend Mason (owner of WP Valet) contacted me about making a quilt for one of his employees, James. Mason surreptitiously gathered as many tshirts as he could that he knew James also had. Then he secretly shipped them off to me.
We had decided on a queen size, which is why So Many Shirts! o.O I think there was around 30. I tend to fill in any needed space with blanks blocks to show off more quilting.
So, after I did the initial trimming of the shirts and cutting the largest size blocks from all of them, I started to lay them out on the floor for the best design. This is even after I do some math on paper to figure out completed size and square inches based on the pieces cut.
Even though I have a fairly large living /dining room, a queen size quilt takes up a LOT of floor space. Some blanks spaces were left so I could figure out where to add solid blocks from tshirt backs.
Aha! A quadrant I can live with, and the solid areas filled in. Nothing is sewn together here. The challenge after that was getting the pieces off the floor and downstairs to me sewing room AND keeping things in the right order. That is why I take plenty of pictures.
Sometimes I pin sections together and take a small section at a time.
Finally! The top is all sewn together. Still takes up a TON of floor space.
Every quilt need a backing, so in this case I found this fantastic bright blue that just about matched WP Valet’s branding. That black strip down the middle? Makes a great artistic statement and breaks things up.
Or, it might be there to make the backing a bit wider. I’ll never tell.
On the basting.. layering the backing, batting, and top then pinning together with a bajillion little pins. My knees. Ow, my knees.
But then! Finally we get to the FUN part! The actual quilting. For quilts like these, I initially do some “stitch in the ditch” along the seams wth my walking foot to stabilize sections of the quilt. I tend to jump around by thread color, and not work completely from the middle out. I used a blue thread in the bobbin, and various colors of threads in the top needle.
I got a new book of free motion quilting designs and tried a new one on almost every other block.
Solid blocks sometimes get special treatment, where I can get fancy and do graffitti quilting like this.
Sometimes it’s a challenge coming up with a quilting design that compliments the theme of the shirt, but also doesn’t blend into the block next to it. If I do something round and swirling on one block, I may pick something very square or linear for the next one. I might even pull a design element from the print and repeat it in the background.
And sometimes I see blocks and think.. what if I tried this design? And sometimes it winds up super cool, like birds in the wind.
Sometimes all a block needs is something simple – like vertical lines. But it fits. I did use a quilt ruler here to get the lines SUPER STRAIGHT. I’m new to ruler work, but I like it. I followed the angles of the lightening bolts and just extended while outlining the cloud. The W logo is also outlined.
And sometimes I wing it. Warning: this is not a perfect block! GASP! And I left it anyway. 🙂 Most designs are freehand with no marking. For this I think I outlined the heart shape in chalk first. I was trying a feather ruler. I think I’d rather do feathers freehand.
Finally, I got it finished – just in time!
The front is one thing – but the BACK. Well, the back really shows things off. Especially after I wash and dry it so everything crinkles.
Told you that black stripe was a great design idea… 😉
When I have a few solid blocks near each other, I treat that section as one block of negative space and fill it with feathers. I love feathers. Big swooping swirling feathers. I only marked the spine and did the rest freehand.
This was from a baseball tee. I thought it would be interesting to include this as a block because everything else is so square but now there’s this one diagonal line.
Plus I got to try curved cross hatching with a ruler.
This quilt was a surprise, so I couldn’t post any progress pictures on social media. It almost killed me. (not really, but that was the hardest part) So, I finally get to post All The Pictures here.
I mailed it off to Florida, and Mason gave it to James who was SUPER HAPPY about it. They unveiled it at WordCamp USA in Philly and laid it out on the conference floor. Plenty of space there!
Lots of people came up to look and ask questions. I was amazed so many non-quilters were interested in the construction and stitching details.
And since her class has been so helpful, a link up with Amy!