Before I started sewing, in a previous life, I did a lot of triathlons and road (running) races. This was when I lived in Southern California and it literally feels like a lifetime ago. I’m not even sure I recognize the person who did all of these races. At every race, I got a t-shirt which I just threw in a huge bin, thinking that I’d do something with them at some point. When I was looking for a practice quilt for longarm quilting, I decided it was time to finally do something with the t-shirts and made a quilt out of them.
Making a t-shirt quilt was a lot more laborious that I thought it would be. All of my research told me that the key to success was to make a rough cut out of every shirt, then iron on interfacing and then cut the t-shirts to the correct size block. I ended up using whatever interfacing I had, and when I bought more, I bought what was available. As a result, there are a lot of different interfacing weights in this quilt! I think it would have been easier if I used just one weight, but it worked out.
I sashed the t-shirt blocks with random black and white scraps. I’m a little bummed that the sashing of the middle row doesn’t line up with the rest of the rows, but after I sewed it together, I didn’t want to go back and fix it, so I’ll have to live with it.
This was the second quilt that I quilted at the longarm quilter. I decided to go freehand on this one, to see what it felt like to move the machine and to see how good my imagination and artistic ability were. I just sort of meandered around the quilt. I think they call this a loose stiple-ing? It was surprisingly easy to just meander around the quilt – it tens to be a pattern that I doodle when I’m distracted.
The back is mostly IKEA fabric, with a few left-over t-shirt squares (Left-over? ha! I still have an entire tub of more old race t-shirts! I just picked the most colorful for this quilt). The purple is something I get at one of my favorite discount fabric stores :-) I took apart an ill-fitting skirt that I made a couple of years ago for the bottom most fabric.
This quilt is really personal – I love that I’ve found a way to preserve the memories of my old triathlon days. I find myself staring at the blocks and remembering each race. With two layers, the batting, the interfacing and all of the thread, this quilt weighs a ton and I look forward to putting it to use in the fall and winter!