Quilting is extremely difficult, and even after watching three or so videos on ehow.com, I am still not able to do a decent job of it.
|The Practice Piece of Shame|
That right there puts it in the "difficult" category. If I can't watch a video or two online and figure it out, it's gone past the "moderately challenging" level.
So it occurred to me that maybe, like with so many other things, I have started at a level that is above "beginner." I thought maybe if I do a simple quilt, it will give me the background for how to be awesome at difficult quilting.
Also, as I was packing stuff the other day, I found the giant stack of t-shirts that I have been saving to make a quilt with, and I figured that making it would be easier than packing them all up and hauling them to the new house. T-shirts are heavy!
Having already had a tutorial in basic quilting from Bekah and Mrs. Woosley, I started by making a pattern and cutting out my squares. I wanted each square to be twelve inches, since that seemed, from the Google searches I did, to be the typical size for t-shirt squares. It's big enough for most logos. I finally broke down and bought a big rotary cutting mat, so that made things easier, too.
Most real sewing people (people other than me) said that I shouldn't make a quilt out of t-shirts because the material is too stretchy. I'm sure this was very wise advice, but I did it anyway. I'm not sure what the consequences are of the material being stretchy, but I'm sure they are grave. I even bought some interfacing to iron on the backs of the shirts because Google told me that this might help with the stretchy problem. In the end, I didn't end up using it though because A) several people on the Interweb said that they didn't need it; B) when I got home, I realized I didn't buy nearly enough and I didn't want to go back; and C) I was afraid that the interfacing would make the t-shirts not so soft, which was kind of the whole idea. So I just decided to wing it, and I figured if stretchiness became an issue, I could always get more interfacing.
I had twenty-five t-shirts to work with. Some of them, though, only had pocket designs, so I couldn't use them for the quilt (but I saved the pocked designs to make a pillow!). But since some of the shirts had designs on the front and the back, it actually worked out that I had exactly twenty-five squares. Sweet! I also cut out as many blank squares from the backs or fronts as I could, and I think I'm going to use those to make the back of the quilt.
So I laid them all out and started sewing the horizontal rows.
The nice thing about the t-shirt quilt is that it's way less formal that my other one. I didn't even have to iron it! Well, I started ironing it, like a good quilter, but it didn't really help at all because the shirts were so floppy. Maybe that was the stretchy part. But I just pinned all the seams before I sewed them and it wasn't really an issue.
When I started sewing the rows together, I definitely had to pin the seams. I would never have been able to just line it up like I did my other one. But again, it worked just fine, and now I have the front of my quilt finished!
I thought about just tying the front and back together and not even having a batting in the center, but since I am supposed to be using this to practice, and since I think it will help it keep it's "blanket shape" a little better and not be quite so floppy, I think I will. I'm just going to do a simple "Stitch in the Ditch" quilting though, which is just quilting along the seams. (See how awesome I sounded throwing that quilting jargon around?)
I love this quilt though, because it has so many great memories in it. I used t-shirts from high school band stuff, youth group, college, the school I worked at, and shirts people had given me. It's so soft, too, which is the great thing about old t-shirts.
Oh, and I took the scraps from the shirts to my sister-in-law, Pamela, and she showed me how to make some other cool stuff from them. Yay!
'Cause that's what I need right now: more projects to start.