Monday, July 20, 2009

T-Shirt Quilts

wow--it's already been a week since my last post. i have renewed admiration for you bloggers who blog consistently--it's too easy to let days go by!

today's quilts are some that i recently finished but started late last year. it's a long story so again, feel free to skip to the pictures (that's what i'd do :-)

last year in our church, JH passed away from cancer, leaving behind his wife, PH and 2 young children--the oldest is a year older than my oldest and the youngest is a year younger than our twins. even though i didn't know the family (our church isn't huge, but it's still hard to meet everyone), it was still really sad, especially thinking about the kids.

a few months after his passing, my friend JL who is a talented photographer, offered PH a photo session with her kids. while doing so, she also took some pictures of JH's collections--one of which was a t-shirt collection. he was quite the traveller and there were t-shirts from all over the world--and lots of t-shirts from the Hard Rock Cafe. PH mentioned that it would be nice to make the t-shirts into quilts for the kids but she didn't know where to begin. JL's ears perked up but didn't come right out and offer my services; but she came to me later and told me the situation.

it is not to my credit that i didn't immediately think, oh good, i can make these quilts. instead i was a little hesitant, thinking of all the time it would take to make these two quilts--and that it wouldn't be exactly "fun" --but more tedious work. fortunately, i came around and realized that God didn't give me a whole lot of talents, but that quilting is one of them, and it's not often that i get to use it for His glory!

i introduced myself to PH at church and we got the ball rolling. now obviously, PH is still going through a hard time so it took a long time to get things started-- for her to bring the t-shirts to church (so i can pick them up), and for her to choose the sashing materials (from my stash).

side story: God has such a sense of humor--so while going through my stash to see what would be suitable for a 6-year-old girl (the older child)--i came across a length of Lakehouse fabric that is similar to the flower pattern used in Lakehouse Baskets, but instead of a black background, it's white. i thought it was absolutely perfect for a little girl--fun and feminine without being too sissy. but again, instead of thinking, yay--i have the perfect fabric, i thought, and to quote the great PamKittyMorning, "if i use it, IT WILL BE GONE." it was quite the struggle to add it to the pile for PH to choose from and to be quite honest, i would put the fabric back into my stash, God would nudge me, and i would have to take it out and put it back in the shopping bag. so finally, after months of this back and forth, PH & i finally had the chance to go through the fabrics and when she got to the Lakehouse fabric, she basically said "eww--too bright"!!! i'm sure God was giggling up there at my selfishness!

like i said, it took quite awhile to get organized--a few months actually. in the in-between time, i was able to make the Roman Peace quilt, the Think Pink quilt and the Little Romance quilt --which again shows how God is in control and has only wants what's good for us-- He saw what was holding me back (time) and directly addressed the issue. yay God :-)

so yada yada yada. here's the first quilt. PH chose the Little Romance fabrics (from April Cornell) for her daughter's quilt. very sweet colors.

i wasn't sure who should get this rather flamboyant lady, the daughter or the son, but figured the girl could handle it :-)

here's the boy's quilt. i thought the blue starry fabric & red pindots were a little dull--but a boy probably doesn't need/want "pretty". it was also quite fortuitous in that my husband says that the boy's t-shirts are more interesting to look at. so it works out that the sashing isn't as fun as the girl's quilt. i tried to divvy up the quilts by value in color, and then also equally dividing up the Hard Rock t-shirts.

i wonder how JH got the t-shirt from Cuba? pretty cool.

most of the graphics are from the back of the t-shirt; and the shirts also had a smaller logo on the front. so i ended up with tons of the little logos. i used two of them for labels in the back (PH wrote the labels and they're a tad personal so i won't show photos of them).

after finishing the two quilts, God gave me another nudge, and asked, what about PH? i had one t-shirt graphic which was larger than the 12-1/2 x 12-1/2" blocks i was using--but it was so pretty that i didn't want to cut into it. also, while choosing the fabrics, PH really liked a teal-green one for her son. but i didn't have enough of that one fabric--it was a part of bunch of scraps that my friend ZM had given me while de-stashing her stuff. and the rest of the fabrics didn't seem "masculine" enough for PH's tastes (there was one fabric i had chosen for her son which i thought the design looked like firecrackers, but she saw flowers and immediately nixed it as too feminine).

so with the one big block, and lots of little logo blocks, the design was pretty easy to come up with. (though having said that, while drafting it on paper, i got my numbers completely mixed up and ended up cutting one fabric all wrong!!! luckily i had lots of that one. hats off to you designers out there!!)

the colors are a little washed out, but it's all shades of teal, green and purple. these were all scraps from a leftover project from ZM and she has great tastes so i knew all these fabrics would coordinate perfectly :-) only the 4 corners are from my own stash and that's the fabric that i messed up in the cutting.

this is the block i especially like--it's from the Hard Rock Cafe in Singapore.

i really like the back too--i don't usually piece my backs with such little pieces of fabric 'cos inevitably i sew in some ripples--but these quilts are lap-size--all are 60" square--so it was really manageable. even so, this back was a little smaller than it should've been.

of course all these t-shirts were washed before i cut them up, and even though i used my own laundry detergent, there's still a smell (a pleasant one :-) to them that i think is JH's--these t-shirts were well-used and loved for many years before i got them.

i haven't had a chance to give the quilts to PH yet--i hope to do so soon (of course i had to photograph and blog about them first! :-) at first i really wanted to see her reaction and see if she would love them (and you quilters know how gratifying it is to give a hand-made gift that's truly appreciated). but now it almost doesn't matter what her reaction will be--these 3 quilts aren't really my gift to them. they truly are a gift from God--He drove this whole project--He only allowed me to be part of this process (and was quite gracious about it considering my initial selfishness!)

i hope these quilts will be a comfort to the H family. that they will know though whatever pain and loneliness they experience, that their Father in heaven really wanted them to have a physical expression of His love and comfort. He is still holding on tight to PH and her children.


  1. God gives us opportunities to us our talents but we don't always have the confidence and heed His calling. I'm so glad you answered. These 3 quilts are not only a blessing for this family but for you too. Thanks be to God. Love to you.

  2. beautiful quilts!! very nice of you to be supportive and part with your fabric!

  3. These are amazing, I am sure they will be loved!

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