Quilter’s Thumb

I’ve heard that quilters are people who cut large pieces of fabric into small pieces and then sew the little pieces together to make a large piece.

Quilts for Hospice

My foray in the world of quilting began in 2008 with the making of several lap quilts for a children’s hospice organization.  The design was simple 6” squares.  I decided this would be a great way for me to use up all the fabric scraps I had taking up space in my closet.  These quilts were a utilitarian sewing project – machine pieced and quilted.

First T-shirt Quilt
First T-Shirt Quilt

My second quilt (2011) was a gift for my niece for her 18th birthday and high school graduation.  Her mom mentioned that she had weeded though her daughter’s T-shirt collection and couldn’t bring herself to throw away some of the shirts.  She asked if I could make a quilt from them.  Cutting the T-shirts and putting them together was like working a giant Rubik’s cube.  I machine stitched the quilt top but hand quilted the layers together.  This necessitated the purchase of a quilting frame, of course!  The gift was well received.  However, I saw the look on her sister’s face and knew I would be making another T-shirt quilt in the near future.

My Quilt

By now I was hooked.  What I thought was a good way to clear out fabric scraps just had a way of introducing more pieces to my growing collection.  Then I went to customer appreciation night at the local quilt store and won a door prize with – you guessed it – more fabric!  I decided to make a quilt for me; big enough to snuggle under while watching TV.  I machine pieced the top and hand quilted the layers together.

T-shirt Quilt #2

The next year, 2012,  it was time to start on T-shirt quilt number two for my other niece.  I changed up the design and cut the shirts into 12” squares and put sashes of fabric between the squares.  I used the pocket designs in the intersections of the sashes.  Again, I machine pieced the top and hand quilted the layers together.  This gift, for college graduation, was also a hit.

The quilt is on the frame ready for hand stitching.

Now I decided to give myself a real challenge…a quilt entirely made my hand.  No machine sewing allowed.  So in June, I chose 15 different quilt block patterns with sashing between the blocks.  First I spent 4 days cutting the pieces for each block.  Then I spent 15 evenings sewing the pieces together to assemble each block.  It took 9 evening’s work to sew the blocks and sashing together to assemble the quilt top.  My project lingered for a while until I purchased the backing and binding fabric.  Then I let it linger some more until I devised a quilting pattern for the top.  After attaching the layers to the quilt frame I spent 6 days quilting them together.  Two more days work to sew on the binding and I was done.

The finished entirely hand-stitched quilt.

It took a total of 35 work days between June and October to complete the quilt.

After this last frenzied bout of quilting, my thumb was hurting so much that I had to buy a thumb stabilizer to let it rest from the repetitive motion of quilting.  This hasn’t stopped me from other creative pursuits.  In fact my mind is already planning a quilt for an auction in June and I have scraps for two more projects waiting in the wings!

Thumbs Up for quilting!

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