Wednesday, May 22, 2013

CSC Luau Champs Quilt

In 2004 two of my boys participated in a competition swim league called C.S.C. or the Cavalier Swim Club. 
Each summer at the end of the season there is a large competition where all the clubs in the 
A-K Valley league gather for a large swim meet. 

In 2004 it was our local Vandergrift club's turn to host.  
There was food and fun, a basket raffle, 50/50, etc. All the stuff that make 
something like this a fun afternoon.

A good friend of mine and fellow quilter, who also had boys swimming in the club, 
decided that the two of us should make a quilt to raffle off for this event. 
We tag-teamed putting it together - she did the cutting while I did the sewing. 
It was so much fun! 

We had a  friend with a long-arm machine do the quilting and a neighbor with a 
professional embroidery machine stitched on the logo. (The theme was a Luau). 

I wish I had a photo of the little girl who won the raffle. She was also a member of the club, 
which thrilled us both! We were so glad that someone we knew won the quilt and pillow.

Mosaic Scrap Quilt


This particular quilt was in a magazine called Quick & Easy Quilts and caught my eye in early 2001.  
It looks complicated with all those little squares,  but when you follow the directions 
(something all quilters learn to do), it works.  I completed my version in 2002.

It was the first quilt that I'd actually purchased fabric for - pre "stash".  
I chose a burgundy and blue color palette. 

I added an extra border to make it just a little larger

The Mosaic Scrap Quilt hangs on my wall to this day. 
It reminds me of what I can accomplish when I put my mind to it.

Friday, May 17, 2013

T-Shirt or Memory Quilts - A Quick "How to"...

T-Shirt or Memory Quilts are a wonderful way to preserve special times, places, events, 
or activities in your life. If you have a collection of t-shirts and are considering making 
one yourself, or having one made, this blog is just a quick look at how they go together. 

Sampler front
Sampler back

This pictorial is not meant to be a step-by-step guide to make a quilt, and if you're planning to put one together on your own, please let me suggest you do some on-line research or purchase an instruction book or pattern. I'd hate to have you use this blog and then realize you need more information than it contains. 

Collect your t-shirts and examine the designs on all that you plan to use. (20 blocks will make a nice sized lap quilt - 4 across and 5 down.) Make sure you measure and note the t-shirt with the largest design. Also note any wording on sleeves or designs on the back. 

 Cut on the side seams and cut off the sleeves. 

Using a Teflon or non-stick ironing sheet so fusible interfacing doesn't stick to the ironing board, 
press your fusible interfacing to the wrong side of your shirt. I use the back of an old t-shirt as a 
pressing cloth over the interfacing. The iron slides better. Press using the setting 
instructions that come with the interfacing you purchase. 

Using a quilters square ruler or template, mark the area to be cut. If using a rotary cutter 
(that thing that looks like a pizza wheel), cut your block around your square ruler. 
A 15" ruler makes a nice sized finished block.

Blocks are cut in various sizes, ready for the framing or "sashing" fabrics that 
bring them up to the block size you have decided to use. You can get fancy and
choose different fabrics that coordinate with the individual blocks, or you can
choose one fabric to frame all the blocks the same. Personally, I prefer the fun, 
"scrappy" look of using different fabrics.

Add your framing or sashing on your t-shirt block. If you have more than one graphic in the block 
(something that was on the sleeve, for example), design and sew the sections together. 
I use 1/4" seams to sew the fabric on to the blocks. 

This is where you decide how you're going to quilt your t-shirt quilt. If you are going to send it out and have someone with a long-arm quilting machine do that step, then you would square up all your blocks to the same size, lay them out in a pleasing design and sew them all together. If you're more adventurous and decide you're going to quilt it yourself, the "quilt as you go" method works very well for sewing your blocks together. 

Cut your batting and your backing fabric about 2" wider and longer than your block, so that when you lay them out to make the quilt sandwich you have 1" excess on all 4 sides. I like to use fusible batting and iron it to the block (being extremely careful NOT to touch the hot iron to the t-shirt graphic).  However, cotton batting will work just as well. 

Once you have your 3 layers, you will need to mark your block for quilting. I used a straight edge 
and a chalk wheel to mark an "X" on the block then echoed it a few times to fill in the space.  
Make sure you check the batting instructions as most will tell you how far apart you need 
to quilt in order for the batting not to shift or bunch up with use and laundry.

Pin the layers well before sewing so the layers don't shift. And make sure you have a "walking foot" 
on your machine. You really need one to keep the layers from shifting while you're sewing.

Once your blocks are quilted, square them up. You should now have 20 (or however many you 
decided to put into your quilt) quilted blocks ready to assemble using the "quilt as you go" method. 

Noah's Quilt - or What to do With our Favorite T-shirts

T-Shirts are funny things. They seem to multiply in our drawers. 
One day we open the top drawer and out pop thirty T's that just won't fit back in again. 

We wear them for all occasions -  we dress them up or we go casual, sometimes we even sleep in them. We love our T's. We collect them for all our activities including our sports, our social groups, our favorite bands, our school clubs. We have them from the time we are babies until we're senior citizens. There are t-shirts for just about every occasion, in every color and for every aspect of our lives. Some have such special meaning and fond memories for us that they are irreplaceable. They might be too small and have holes, but for very personal reasons, they aren't going in the trash!

So what do we do with all those T's you ask?  Come on now - you're talking to a quilter! You know, the people who never throw away even a 2" piece of scrap fabric!!  WE MAKE A QUILT!

Noah is my nephew, son of my SIL. He lives in another state, and sadly we don't get to spend much time with him or his family. So when it came time to make a high school graduation quilt for Noah, I was clueless as to his taste in color, pattern, fabrics, etc. And really, he's a guy, so even if we lived close and saw each other every day, I probably still wouldn't know what he preferred.

That's where my SIL came in. I asked if she thought he'd like a T-shirt quilt (or Memory Quilt as they're sometimes called). She brought me some T's to use. As difficult as it was to "borrow" t-shirts from his drawers and feign ignorance when he wondered where that particular shirt disappeared to, she managed to pull it off and brought a nice selection.

The T's are cut, framed, quilted and sewn together in blocks.

Hey, that's me! We were having "Show & Tell" at the quilt club I 
belong to and someone took my photo.

And this is Noah after opening his quilt. I think he likes it! 
Love you, Noah!!