Wednesday, February 15, 2017

still on the proverbial fence

At the close of 2015 my cousin talked to me about making two memory quilts for Christmas gifts in 2016. I tried to put her off, suggesting she contact local quilt shops and sending her youtube videos, etc. I told her I would work with her in cutting them out. She did help me cut them out, but very clearly wanted me to make them. I talked with several quilters in a group at the quilt shop, and they all groaned when I mentioned the words "t-shirt" quilt. One lady even said she put such an outrageous price on making them that no one asks her any more. And now I understand why.

I made the one on the left first, and it was a challenge. While I thought I was measuring and piecing everything to size, it didn't quite work out that way and I ended up adding a lot of extra strips here and there to make things work. The second I made in rows, and it went together SO much faster. I did have a brief moment of panic when ironing the interfacing to the back of a t-shirt, though (since t-shirts are stretchy and not quilting fabric, they have to be stabilized or they'll distort during the quilting). One of the t-shirts had heavy paint instead of ink, and I didn't think to put a towel or damp washcloth on top of it. And yes, some of the paint came off, and not only got on my iron, but also on a different part of the shirt. I was frantically scrubbing trying to get that off and hoping it wouldn't be very noticeable. When all was said and done, I don't think anyone but me would know.

I think the biggest thing was the pressure. Something that sentimental you don't want to mess up, and you find yourself measuring three times instead of two before cutting, and then slowing your pace down. There's no fabric you can substitute if you mess up, no "eh, I'll just make a different block".  It's that or nothing.

So while 2016 is mostly centered in my brain as the year of crazy election working hours, I did actually start and complete two quilts.

And a day after posting this, I realized my post didn't match my header. This was going to be about how I couldn't decide whether or not t-shirt quilts were worth the time and effort put into them, but obviously I went a direction.

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