Sunday, March 22, 2009

The Most Important Quilt I've Ever Made

Occasionally, as quilters, we get to make some very important quilts. The quilt hanging below is an example. My wonderful brother-in-law, Scott, passed away nearly a year ago. It was very unexpected as he was only 45 years old. This photograph is one of my favorite of him, standing outside, sippin his coffee, in the outdoors he loved, in Colorado. He and my sister were married 20 years. Scott was a fabulous person, a wonderful husband, incredible uncle and friend. Shortly after he passed away I spoke with my sister and told her that I could make a quilt for her using Scott's shirts if she wanted. She sent me a box of shirts that held some special memories for her. For weeks I browsed through patterns, trying to find just the right fit. The shirts were knits and wovens, and some were quite bulky so I needed something that didn't have a great deal of seams coming together, and one that wasn't too intricate. I found the perfect pattern and I honestly couldn't be more pleased.
I used the Atkinson Designs pattern, Slide Show. First off, it seems wonderfully symbolic and secondly it was the perfect pattern to highlight the actual fabric of the shirts. I used ten shirts to make this quilt. I could have used less, but I liked the variety that ten gave. A shirt back is the perfect size to get the two large blocks and then the strips for the smaller blocks. I couldn't believe how easy it was to sew using the bulkier than usual shirt fabrics. The only thing I changed was the ironing direction of the seams. In the pattern you were instructed to iron the seams towards the fat quarters (in my case, the shirts). Changing this kept the bulk to a minimum and my longarm quilter didn't have any problems at all.
When I was finished with the quilt, and it was safely delivered to Marlene Hooten, of the famed Lucky Sew and Sew longarm machine quilting company, I surveyed the leftovers and just knew I had to use them for something. Brenda travels for a living, so I thought a little quilt, or a lovie as we call them in my family, might be a nice thing for her to stuff into her suitcase while she travels.
When the little lovie was complete, I still had more leftovers... That led to the large tote bag. Everyone always needs a large tote bag, right? This one I quilted, following the line of the blocks, both up and down, before the side seams were sewn. Then I sewed the seams and covered them with seam binding cut from the background fabric. This bag will wash and wear like iron.
Here is a shot of Marlene's fabulous quilting on the regular quilt. We choose the "Bending in the Wind" pattern for the quilt. It is outdoorsy and I really like the way it turned out. Marlene never disappoints.
Here is the quilt label. I even used one of Scott's shirts for the label. I was very pleased with the way that the label turned out - all thanks for that go to my beloved Janome 11000! So, quilters, if ever you are looking to make a quilt such as this for a loved one, the Slide Show quilt pattern is the perfect fit for shirts and such.

9 comments:

Greenmare said...

I could just cry all over again, this is so wonderful and so perfect and such an ideal tribute. I'm sure Brenda is VERY pleased and I totally LOVE the Lovie idea. sooooooooooooooooooooooooo special! Another reason that YOU are the BEST!!!

Gizmo said...

I feel so fortunate to know you! You're such a awsome soul. I think the Lovie idea is fabulous too.
xoxo
Giz

The Calico Cat said...

WOW... before I even started to read, I said that is a nice quilt. I could tell it hat shirts & assumed it was a memory quilt, but I had no idea... & the extras... extra nice.

Jackie said...

What a fabulous quilt, lovie, and tote. I would imagine it's the most meaningful and special quilt you've ever made.

Tiffany said...

Oh I'm in tears...what a beautiful gift for your sister.

Brenda said...

I was not prepared to go to your blog and see my wonderful husband's picture there. What a touching tribute to Scott. I cannot thank you enough for my quilt, it is so special to me and I will treasure it forever. I will hug it tightly when I close my eyes at night just like I did to my beloved Scott. Thank you for being such a wonderful sister!

Sweet P said...

What a wonderful story and what a wonderful sister you are! The quilt, lovie and tote bag are outstanding!

sandra said...

There is beauty in simplicity and this quilt, bag and mini quilt are just perfect. A lovely tribute.

Anonymous said...

I again, have tears in my eyes, when reading this wonderful tribute to Uncle Scott...I miss him so much! xoxoxo Looking at the photos, I can recognize some of the shirts he loved to wear :) .... Oh I miss him! Your have such a talent mom!