T-Shirt Quilts 101

I wanted to create something special for our son when he left grade school to start junior high.  I had been collecting his t-shirts from sports, camps, events and favorite teams for years.  It seemed a perfect time to put the two together.  I cut each t-shirt into a 12″x12″ square using a cardboard template and a rotary cutter.  After laying them all out on the floor to arrange colors so I wouldn’t have same colors next to each other, I made stacks of squares by rows so it would be easier to sew one row at a time.  I sewed with a 1″ seam allowance because the batting I chose recommended having a gap in stitches no larger than 10″x10″.  Here are some lessons I learned along the way that I’ll share in case you would like to have a little “fun”:

1.  Quilters are perfectionists.  Every seam needs to be perfect for the whole thing to come out lined up properly.  I, on the other hand, love the saying, “Every quilt has one intended error.”

2.  Quilts are not fragile.  In order to sew from one end of the quilt to the other, you need to SHOVE the entire wad of fabric (all three layers) through that little space between the needle arm and the rest of your sewing machine.  No small feat!

3.  Sewing machines don’t like iron-on letters and imprints.  The presser foot gets stuck on them.  Newsprint comes in handy, however, you end up sewing on paper and it’s hard to see where you’re going.  No pain, no gain!

4.  Clear thread is great to quilt with.  If you sew out of line, you can’t see the stitches anyway.  Love the stuff!

5.  Pick a busy background fabric for the back side.  It hides all those errors mentioned in #1 above.

6.  Quilts are not cheap for a reason.  This will NOT become one of my custom design items.  OK, maybe if the price was right.  If you want to have someone else make yours, try www.CampusQuilt.com.  Like I said, they are not cheap for a reason.  However, the finished product is priceless.

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Twin booties

A friend of mine is expecting twins so I thought a pair of matching booties would be a perfect gift.  After checking my stash, I came up with this very light celery-colored nubby rayon yarn (Germaine “Khaki” from Yarn Country Yarns).  I knit up these very simply-styled booties since we don’t know the gender of the babies yet.  I’ll add some matching ribbon to the package in case they need to be dressed up a bit.  Just a little something special for a good friend!

Here are the finished booties – so cute!

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Just planning ahead

The thermometer dipped below 70 and I’m all over that.  The mitten and ear muff box cannot be far behind.  I made this mitten from some really soft Garnstudio Eskimo wool that Mom brought back from Scandanavia for me.  It’s too holey so I think I’ll take it apart and try again with two strands and bigger needles then felt it.  Should end up a nice thick, warm mitten when I’m finished.  Stay tuned for a future post about making wool mittens from an old wool sweater that you just throw in the washer to felt first.  Good kid project!

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Knitting season

It's OK to bury me in this - it took long enough to make it!Go Northwestern!  The first day of our college football viewing season means “get back to knitting” for me.  I love watching the games but my hands just can’t sit still.  Knitting gets me through it!  I FINALLY finished knitting the pieces of my cardigan sweater today.  I’ve been working on this one for what seems like FOREVER!  Now, the fun begins.  At first glance, I’m sure it will be too big for me.  (Mom, do you want to see your Christmas present???)  We’ll see if I can sew it together and make it smaller at the same time.  Really, I’m not that talented!  In case you are that talented and noticed that I knit one sleeve in the round and the other one flat – good eye!  If you can lend any pointers please comment on this post.  I’d love to hear them.  Say a little prayer for me and enjoy the game!

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