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Cleaning and Quilting

January 10, 2013
by Kelsey Buck , Emmetsburg News

One of my favorite tasks before moving was cleaning out our house as we started to pack. Call me crazy but I've always been a very organized person. Some people are known for keeping everything they've ever received while others find joy in purging unused or outdated items. I would fall under the latter category.

About a month before the move, I started sorting through our belonging so we wouldn't have to move any unnecessary items. Like most people, our closets were full of unused clothing and the perfect place to focus my attention.

I know it's common for females to have a lot of clothes but I'd like to think I do a pretty good job of keeping my closet under control. My husband's closet, on the other hand, was a different story. He never gets rid of anything and therefore probably has more clothes than I do. (Don't tell him I said that.) Due to a variety of hobbies, he has a wide range of clothing appropriate for all seasons. T-shirts are no exception. You wouldn't believe the amount of t-shirts I found overflowing the shelves.

I started to make piles of the ones I had never seen him wear and the ones to be thrown out. This wasn't the first time I've tried to cut back his t-shirt collection though. Every time I have tried I have been greeted with disapproval. Apparently, years of various sports and a passion for Harley Davidson had given these faded shirts sentimental value. Really?

I had no idea a bunch of worn out cotton would mean so much to him. Frustrated because I couldn't get rid of as much as I wanted, I finally decided to offer up my sewing expertise and see if he would like me to make a t-shirt quilt out of them. That way we could clear up some closet space but still keep the memories.

For those of you who haven't seen one, the ever-popular t-shirt quilt uses the fronts and/or backs of t-shirts instead of regular fabric for the blocks. He agreed to the idea so I began piecing together the front of the quilt. I selected 30 different shirts for a 5 by 6 block quilt and was able to include all of the t-shirt graphics in 15" by 15" blocks. The color palette took little planning since the majority of his shirts were conveniently black, gray and white.

Our office, now makeshift sewing room, was covered with shirts and fabric when a man came to set up our internet. He was impressed I even owned a sewing machine. I suppose you don't see a Singer sitting next to a Mac very often.

My mad straight-stitching skills come from years of random 4-H projects I made when I was little. My mom taught me how to sew and quilt and still answers my novice questions when needed. I'm glad a simple skill has become a hobby I can still enjoy and put to good use for others. The quilt ended up being rather therapeutic for me during a busy time in our lives. The binding took longer than expected but I still managed to have it complete by Christmas.

What started as fall cleaning ended up being a fun winter project for me as well as a great gift for my husband. Now he has something he can use and keep for years. More importantly, the shirts and memories should be safe from me when it comes time for spring cleaning.

 
 

 

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