Also known as “Make an easier quilt”.
Yeah. So I had this wonderful idea sometime last year. Like…last summer probably. Or maybe before. Quite frankly I’m too scared to check the timestamp on the photo because I think I started this project over a year ago. Maybe a year and a half.
But it was a really good idea. I swear.
I wanted to make a quilt.
But not just any quilt. I want a quilt that is hand quilted by myself, my grandmother, and my mom.
And sure, there are several quilts floating around that have each of our work in them. But nothing that is just the three of us. And quite frankly nothing that has a significant amount of work on my part in any of them. Lezbehonest…I was a kid and getting me to do anything actually helpful was almost impossible.
So…I’ve realized that a quilt with all of our work in it….is something I want. Something that would be very special and meaningful to me.
Quilting has been a large part of our family. I’ve seen quilts my great-grandmother hand pieced and hand quilted, quilts embroidered by my mom and aunts, and as a child I spent many hours playing underneath that huge living-room-sized quilt frame. My grandfather had my grandmother make a quilt especially for me to remember him by. So quilts hold a lot of meaning for me, but it’s not something I’ve ever had a very active part in assisting with.
So it’s time to step up, right??
And at the time…having only really quilted for random spurts in my teens….I thought HEY I CAN TOTALLY DO THIS WITHOUT THINKING IT THROUGH. And then I thought “I’m poor”. And then I thought “I have a t-shirt hoarding problem”.
And the t-shirt quilt project was born.
Let that sink in.
I decided. To hand-quilt. A t-shirt quilt. WITHOUT INSTRUCTIONS. (Or basting, or interfacing…)
So grandma and mom and I cut my beloved running shirts apart, picked fabrics, and without looking up how to sew jersey knit to rigid quilt cotton…pieced this sucker together.
Look at that concentration…”I’m so totally ready to tackle this” I thought to myself…
And it’s sat in a corner in my house for longer than I care to admit.
However, I’ve found a solution. It’s a 2-part’er.
- Part 1: Beg someone with a long-arm to just put some lines in this beast and call it done.
- Part 2: Start new quilt that is smaller, well thought through, and not t-shirt.
Thankfully, I’ve found a friend who is just getting in to quilting on her mid-arm…and is willing to do it for a nice barter-style deal…and I’ve managed to piece together a new quilt top to a much smaller quilt.
However I’ve learned a lot from this….year long experience. I’ve learned that I really do want something made by all of us. I’ve learned a lot about quilting and I know it’s something I want to continue doing, in a way to keep the heritage going. I know that hand-quilting is a big challenge and I have so much respect for all the people I watched do it as I was growing up. I’ve learned that interfacing is super-important (haha). I’ve learned that some quilts are just too big for your first time out of the gate. And I’ve learned that it’s ok to change direction in a project and admit (somewhat) defeat.
I will hand quilt! I will have a quilt with my mom and grandma! And I will never, ever, ever try to hand quilt a t-shirt quilt again.
Former Perfectionist Tip: If the going gets tough – Long arm it and start something less horrible.
What projects have you had to let go of or re-route? Have you made a t-shirt quilt? Have you hand-quilted a whole quilt? Share your stories down below!