Wednesday, February 20, 2008

T-shirt Quilt Revealed!

This story began with a pile of ordinary T-shirts. A very large pile! I was asked to put these together in just one quilt but for a king sized bed. Having never made a T-shirt quilt before I gladly took on the task and went home with 4 large boxes of shirts. I had been told there were about 70 shirts.
The number of shirts turned out to be 88 and of those I was to use the back and front of two of these. I had already done quite a bit of research on the making of a T-shirt quilt so I began with step one, which was to sort and measure each shirt to determine the finished size of each one. You can see the mountain of shirts in the first photo. Next I cut out the design with some extra all around on each shirt and labeled it with the finished size as you can see in the next photo. Now the easy part was done. The next step was to fuse a woven interfacing to the back of each shirt. This had to be done with a pressing cloth as a hot iron would melt the fusible as well as the design on the shirts. This process was long and slow but I pressed on...................literally and finally had that chore done.
So now the next step was to find a space to lay these all out. The best solution was the family room where everyone watches TV. I figured a couple of days and I would be done.................WRONG! This process took all of two weeks. First I had to figure out how to lay these all out so they would actally fit in the space that could be about 120x120 square inches...................and let me tell you that is 10 feet X 10 feet! After much arranging and rearranging, and rearranging I finally got them all laid out. Ok all I had to do was get them sewn together with sashing in between. This process took days. I could not really cut lots of sashing and sew. No I pretty much could cut a few planned pieces at a time. Since the setting was variable each piece of sashing had to fit in an exact space and that ment cutting and sewing pretty much one at a time. I sewed on, and on. I took blocks to the sewing studio and worked in sections. Most of the time things worked out but there were a few times that things went wrong and ths required taking apart and redoing. At last the shirts were all in one huge piece with a nice 3" border around the outside. Let me tell you that was one moment of joy.....................and then I went to bed. I had of course accomplished that on a day when I as determined I would finish so I worked pretty late to get it done.
The quilting actuall went without a hitch. The top took up most of the space on my 14 foot longarm frame but not all of the space. I had it easily off the machine the same day. Now the final step was that binding. I played with some instructions for a machine turned binding which did not look perfect so I resolved myeslf to the handturned binding around that fourhundred and ninety two circumfrence. One stitch at a time and two days later it was DONE!
Now that I have done my first T-shirt quilt I think it will be the hardest and biggest one I will ever do. I have learned alot and am ready to do more. Of course they are all going to be smaller and have fewer shirts. I do love the idea of putting those shirts into a quilt!

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Guess I Have Been Busy!

I have not been writting in my blog lately! I guess one reason is that I have been pretty busy. We are getting used to the water situation. At least we are living with it. The big thing is to just be careful to make sure the laundry is really a full load, dishes really need doing as they take quite alot of water so now they get stacked and done less often than I would like.

I have quilted my third large quilt this week! My goal at the beginning of the year was to do 100 quilts on the longarm in 2008. Well I have been working on the t-shirt quilt. That pretty much took up the last two weeks of my quilting time just getting it pieced. I was also pretty busy with the water problem, the kids and stuff around the house so did not have lots of time to devote to my quilting. Well this week I dove in. Monday was a large quilt that got a baptist fan ( I love that template). Tuesday was another large quilt that got an allover loose and easy! Then today I loaded the monster sized t-shirt quilt and did an allover loose meander. Now let me tell you I am feeling a huge sense of accomplishment getting that one quilted. I still need to the binding and that is gonna be alot of binding but the end is in sight at last. I will post a photo of part of the t-shirt quilt when the binding is on................there is really no way to take a full on photo as it is 127 x 116. Now that is a huge quilt................the largest quilt I have ever made. The scarey thing is I have had about 3 or 4 about that large on my quilt frame already. I am pretty happy that I opted for the 14' table.

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Water - At Least More Water

This is our new water tank. I am not too happy that it sits right in front of the house but it is water. This tank holds 1500 gallons of the precious stuff. We have to have someone deliver it to the house in a truck and it is not as cheap as the water that comes thru the pipes (which are still frozen), but it is water and I can take a shower and wash my dishes without having to worry about driving half a mile to the neighboors to fill up the assortment of 5 and 7 gallon water jugs any more.

I will have to say that I have enjoyed camping all my life and know how to use very little water but have never been without water in the house for more than two days. I had always taken for granted that I can turn on the faucet and have water come out until I turned it off when I am in my own home. I think this has been a good lesson for me how spoiled we all are.

Water is scarce in much of the world. With our growing population and population centers spreading out to places where there is little fresh water it is a problem for many of us. Yet we continue to use it freely without a thought. I am posting a challenge here for each of you who reads this to have a look at your last water bill and see how much you used. Then for the next month think about water each time you turn on the tap. See how many ways you can cut back on your usage and tell me about it.

Here are a few things I have done this past week:

Flushed the toilet with water from doing dishes instead of sending it down the drain (this is refered to as grey can also water plants with it if it is filtered). Many people find this a disgusting subject but another saying for flushing, "If its yellow, let it mellow, if its brown flush it down." At the least you do not have to flush every time.

In the shower turn off the water exept to get wet and to rinse off. Ditto for handwashing and brushing teeth.

Only wash dishes when there are enough................if you have a dishwasher never wash less than a full load...............ditto for doing laundry.

I know that I will be thinking about my water usage much more from now on. I got by with less than 200 gallons in a week and a half for a family of four so I am sure I can cut back on my water usage from now on. These will be small changes but I am sure they will add up.

Ok now that the water crisis is over I promise my next blog entry will be more quilt or art related. I am still putting together the t-shirt quilt and now have lots of large sections together and a few single blocks to join. Hopefully by Monday I will have one humongous top ready for quilting. I have ordered the backing fabric online as I could not find any localy and that will be here end of next week so I will have to wait till then to get this quilt quilted. This is my first t-shirt quilt and it is gonna be amazing when it is all together. The customers son has collected all these shirts for running, and triathalon events and there is some amazing history in the quilt. I have been enjoying making this memory quilt and now want to do more. What a great idea to take all those t-shirts and make them into a quilt!