This week I finished a quilt. So far I have managed to finish three quilts in 2012 but I’ve only blogged about one. I am quite pleased about all the quilting I’ve done and I hope to keep this momentum going to finish some more projects. Earlier this year I blogged about my recycled flannel shirt quilt. The first quilt I’m going to show you I finished earlier this spring. Back in March a very close friend and I got together to make T-shirt quilts. We holed up for a long weekend, cutting out the fabric and assembling the blocks for our respective quilts together with lots of laughs and tea. I finished the top, the quilting and the binding on hers; mine is still in progress since unsurprisingly I made it rather more complicated. This little quilting retreat was loads of fun, I couldn’t imagine a better way to celebrate our completion of our M.S. degrees than with nerdy recycled crafting. Time for photos!
Above you can see some of the completed blocks. Since the T-shirts my friend had to work with were of irregular sizes we decided to use strips of cotton to help them fit together. I like the effect of this. It adds more personality to the quilt, giving it more dimension then just a hodge podge of T-shirts and it allowed me to use all the fabric I’d been hoarding to make her a quilt in her quilt. Yay! The cotton gives the T-shirt fabric more stability as well and obviously it allowed us some piecing flexibility for the top. To make the blocks we cut out the T-shirts, fused Pellon interfacing to the back of the desired T-shirt design, and then sewed 2.5 inch thick strips of cotton quilting fabric to the sides. It came together pretty quickly.
To make the binding my friend sewed all the 2.5 inch scraps together into one long strip. I trimmed this strip down, used gobs of starch, and ironed it to form double fold binding.
Above you can see the pile of things necessary for the quilt. The top, the backing fabric (a cotton sheet), the binding, and a giant bag of safety pins. For batting we used low loft poly-fiberfil packaged batting. It worked well.
To finish the quilt I used an allover quilting pattern using silvery grey quilting thread. This was my first time doing allover quilting or stippling and I found it incredibly liberating. It took a lot of upper arm strength to maneuver a queen size quilt around on a home sewing machine, I used a darning foot on a Husquvarna Rose sewing machine, but it was fun making the swooping patterns appear on the fabric. Since we used a lot of starch making the blocks and I starched every seam the top stuck to the batting really well and I actually didn’t have much of a problem with rumpling or tucking on either the top or the back. I like how the pattern of the quilting looks kind of like coral or tree rings or the path of a honeybee buzzing irregularly around a garden patch. There is something hypnotic, meditative really, looking at the lines of quilting.
I like the texture stippling gives the quilt and since it is such a tightly quilted piece the batting won’t shift and it is super easy to machine wash and dry.
I really like how the pieced binding turned out. It looks like more tiny quilt blocks to me. Since I made it double fold and super starched it was also very easy to sew on in one go rather than machine sewing on the front then hand stitching on the back. This way adding the binding was just one fun step.
Above is the top I pieced of my T-shirts for my quilt. It looks pretty straightforward, right? If anything the pieces are of more uniform size than the blocks in my friend’s quilt. Yet I managed to make it complicated. The thing I underestimated was quantity. I hadn’t realized just how many T-shirts I had to cut up into this quilt and I wanted to use them all. So naturally I decided to make my T-shirt quilt double-sided.
I have to finish piecing the side pictured above. I have to sew the columns of blocks together and sew together one more column worth of blocks before the sides are ready to pin together and quilt. I plan to use the same allover quilting technique that I used for my friend’s quilt since frankly I don’t think any other technique would look as good or be as effective at holding the quilt together. But since I will have to maneuver around designs on two sides, some of which will be hard on the needle, quilting this will be more challenging and I will probably have to add ties in some areas to make sure it holds together. I’m excited to finish it though and I hope to be able to post finished pictures of it here before the year is out. I’m really happy that I share not only fabrics in my quilt with my friend but that we share memories of making it together and that I can touch a strip of cotton knowing she cut it out just for me.
I hope you’ve enjoyed the pictures, dear readers. If you have any questions about the techniques I’ll do my best to answer them in the comments section. Stay tuned for Part II: 15 jars of fun!