I am so excited to be writing a blog post and not doing more behind the scenes website work today. I still have a few kinks to work out, but in general I believe my website migration is complete. Please let me know if you see anything amiss!
As I said, I am really excited to get to share a quilt finish with you today. I received a collection of about 27 TShirts last August, and I have slowly been working to turn them into a TShirt quilt. The TShirts are grouped together to honor friends who have died or “gone west”. As they are all related to the aerospace / flying community, I honored them by placing groupings of the TShirts in a Missing Man formation and setting them against a bright blue sky (using Robert Kaufman Kona Stratosphere).
I got pretty choked up at the response the quilt elicited from my friend / client:
I saw your email on the way home, and have been thinking about this all evening. The top turned out perfect- words can’t do justice to how healing this project has turned out for me. I originally loved the “Missing Man” idea, and think we’ve honored that. Looking at it finished, though, what strikes me about the empty spaces is not so much what has been lost, but what room remains to add- room for friends, memories, and events as yet undiscovered. We honor the legacy of the friends we’ve lost, and acknowledge the impact of the loss- and yet we still have room on the quilt for so much more. Thank you!
I will say that quilting the TShirts was both challenging and not as difficult as I had worried. In general they quilted just fine. A few of the TShirts were covered with thicker ink / pigment. The thicker ink bunched and flowed differently and was fine in the end, but I learned quickly to take my time on those shirts.
The quilt is backed in 108″ wide Essentials Cosmos in Navy that I purchased from BackSide Fabrics (note: BackSide Fabrics is a sponsor, but this is not an affiliate link). As I was putting the quilt into the wash, the voice in my head told me to include a color catcher, and I am glad that I did. If you use the Navy Cosmos backing, I would recommend a color catcher or pre-washing.
Getting the quilt top pieced as an adventure all in its own. As you can see from the photo above, I started with as completed groupings of “missing man” formations as possible and laid them out on my living room floor. My trusty tools (tailor’s tape, calculator, and scratch paper and pencil, seen at the bottom of the above photo) were essential.
I slowly worked my way from the top…
…through the middle…
…carefully sewing multiple Y-Seams along the way.
I would pause to remeasure and check fit along the way. The final step – sewing the top and bottom together – was a welcome finish!
In all, the quilt top took me 15.5 hours to design and piece. The quilting and binding took another 6 hours, for a total time of 21.5 hours to go from TShirts to a finished quilt.
There was enough Kona Stratosphere left over to bind the large (90 inches square) quilt. For the quilting and binding, I used 50wt Aurifil 2715 (Robins Egg).
I will be linking up with Finish It Friday.