Tee Shirt Quilt in progress

Having done much research on the net about tee shirt quilts, I settled on the design and prepared the squares over the weekend.  Hence no posting from me here.  A couple of interesting bits I discovered in the process:

  • I don’t like the versions that have different sized blocks, they offend my sense of order (those who see my frequent WOYWW posts of the chaos that is my scrapping space feel free to burst into hysterical laughter now, but do stop before you do yourself an injury!) I prefer the blocks all the same size.
  • Working with well-worn shirts, that have been stretched out through use and washing, especially when the designs are often text-only, makes getting the lines of text straight a struggle. And centering the design, without an expensive quilter’s square in the right size is also tricky. I did a couple of things.  First, I didn’t want to waste the interfacing, so after measuring the designs and settling on what was the smallest size any block could be I cut the interfacing to that size plus 1 inch all around. In my case that turned out to be 16×16 inch squares.  Next, I cut off all the arms and necks, as in the video from yesterday, then, to center the design as best I could I laid the shirt out and folded it over a ruler, so the lines of text were as straight as I could make them, on the ironing board.  I ironed on the interfacing (and in the UK Pelon is Vilene G405 in case you wondered.  It’s lovely and soft and irons on to the tee shirt material very well.) Then cut a square 15×15 inches from matboard.  My matboard is scraps from a local framer, and the piece I used has a sort of velour on one side.  No idea who would have a picture framed in black velour! Anyway, I laid the square on that, which gripped the fabric a bit, and squared the blocks up, correcting when I could and severely wonky lines, flipped it on to the cutting mat and trimmed the excess.
  • I discarded the idea of adding sashing.  DS only wanted black (remember? colour-blind) and adding yet another black to all the already differing shades of black from the shirts felt like too much.  Also, because of the forced size, and the number of shirts I had to work with,  I was limited to a 3 x 5 block arrangement, and while adding side sashing would make the quilt more visually pleasing side-to-side, any added LENGTH would make it less proportionally pleasing.  As it stands it’s about 45×74, which I might correct a little by adding a wider side border when I wrap the backing to bind it.
  • And about the backing.  DS likes soft.  Rough clothes, scratchy labels, stiff fabric, all a def. no for him.  So again, researching, I found that polar fleece can double up as a backing and the batting (wadding in the UK, I think) can be omitted entirely.  Since time is short, that sounds the perfect fit.  And polar fleece is wide, about 54 inches, so once the blocks are joined they will lose a bit side-to-side so I should be able to wrap to the front and bind from a single width.  And 2 meters is about 79 inches, so that makes it economical as well as soft and cuddly.  Result!
  • Finally, the thought of quilting it proper by machine scares me.  I don’t want to cover the designs, and frankly I don’t have the time.  The last tied quilt I made was for our first son, which we buried with him, so maybe time to give that a go again.  Found a brilliant video on YouTube that looks to make basting for tying a breeze, and I think I will give that a go.  I plan to use black thread and put the knots on the back, so all you will see on the face of the quilt is regularly placed little specks of black, which won’t interfere with the design at all. AND I can do the ties sitting in front of the TV at night so good use of my time, rather than using daylight and shopping hours when we have so much to do still.

You can see from the photo that DS likes music (from the Ramones to Fairport Convention – quite a range) and gaming.  Oh, and black – lots and lots of black.

So there you go.  Lots of decisions, most of the final choices will, I think, work out.  I just hope I can finish it in the next few days or he’ll have to wait for Christmas to get it.