A Goodwill Quilt


I’ve been busy working on multiple throw-sized quilts that I’m making for family members who don’t have one yet and a few just because I wanted to try a pattern. This one I did because I fell in love with this pattern on a web site in flannel plaid. Flannel plaid is easy to find but I’m not fond of working with flannel and quilting broadcloth isn’t easy to find in plaids that would work for the quilt I envisioned. I was trying to find a solution as we were moving to our winter home in Florida last fall, knowing the greater Naples area has a shortage of quilting stores.

And then the fun began. I realized that there are a lot of rich old men living in Naples who die each year, and their clothing is given to resale shops. I’m guessing there are well over 50 resale shops for every shop that sells quilting fabric in this area. I found some resale shops who want $20 for a used man’s shirt but I also found that Goodwill had many high quality shirts for around $3. Over the period of a few weeks I found a big stack of shirts that I cut off seams and collars. I cut 3 x 6 inch blocks from all the shirt plaids and complementary blocks from prints that I had taken to Florida and some I collected there the year before. One of my goals of making throw size quilts is to use up some of the fabric I’ve accumulated over the years.

Our friends who gather at the pool every afternoon were intrigued with my shirt project, especially the two quilters. The men stopped wearing plaid shirts when there was a chance of being around me. I finished this quilt top before we left so everyone could see it because I decided it would be a perfect house warming gift for my grandson who just bought a house in Michigan.

I really like this quilt and wavered a little on giving it away, but knew it was my grandson’s when he and his live together partner both said that one of the red plaids was like the old undershorts he just threw away. I don’t think I’ve given a quilt to anyone that had “built-in” nostalgia.

And I still have a whole box of cut up shirts waiting for another project (and looking forward to getting back to Naples to see if I can find some more). I think I will make one with 6 inch plaid squares and 6 inch Ohio Star squares made from fabric stashed away in drawers. I will just dream of that one until I get the three done that I am currently working on. And just maybe I’ll use up the pile of extra bricks I cut out to make another “Plaid Brick Road” quilt.


With a Little Help


Our middle child visited us in May. Our grandson and his family were also visiting and she wanted to meet his wife and her son, and their baby daughter. She wants to be involved with her nephews and nieces but now that she lives in Texas and the nephews are in their late 20’s with adult responsibilities they don’t get together very often. It was a fun time having all of them in the house.

After grandson and family left, I showed our daughter the lap quilt I was ready to layer and machine quilt and she said she really liked it. I told her she could have it… or she could pick out fabric and we could make one for her. Her eyes lit up and we got busy going through my stash picking out fabrics she liked. Of course we had to make a trip to the quilt fabric store to round out the palette and I suggested we go south to Tecumseh because it has a great store and there is a nice little English Tea Room that has great lunches. Oh, did we have fun.

We made the quilt together, me cutting pieces and she laying them out using the finished top as a template. We looked, she switched pieces based on her knowledge of art, I put in an opinion or two based on my quilt-making experience, and we trust each other’s eye for color and composition. We discarded some fabrics we loved but didn’t work and made a couple of trips back to my stash to retrieve fabrics we hadn’t thought would work. I prepared them for sewing and she did the stitching. Then we “had” to make a trip to the fabric store in East Lansing to pick out the border and backing. The top was all pieced by the time she left. I have quilted it with a cotton flannel batting for the hot south Texas climate and now I have it boxed and ready to ship today.

I hope she takes it out of the box carefully because her dad added a secret surprise for her to find. He has been so excited because there is a story behind it – if she takes a photo and sends it to me I will share the rest it in a post. My surprise for her is that she will have to finish the hand sewing of the binding. I started but the arthritis in my thumb made it painful sewing. It truly is a collaborative quilt.

I keep thinking that I am in the best period of my life, now that I am in my 70’s. I have great grandchildren to fulfill my baby/toddler cravings and grandchildren from twelve to late twenties. I treasure my relationships with all of them, but my greatest treasures are my adult children and spouses. Our three children are all fifty-ish and are great people, the kind of people I like having as friends (as are the spouses). They are very different but each enriches my life in a special way. Now that they have total responsibility for making their life choices, we are freed to enjoy time creating fun life memories. It is the best time of my life.

Tagged Q: Quilting

Log Cabin Quilt

Log Cabin Quilt

I’m quilting again – well technically I’m piecing quilt tops together again. I leave the actually quilting – the sewing of the top to the bottom with the batting in between – to someone else who has a long-arm quilting machine. The one in the picture above is finished and I’m just starting on two more twins for our Florida guest room. I had started it over a year ago but then other things got in the way – like photography and blogging and life. The pattern I’m doing now is Friendship Braid which seems quite appropriate for a guest room used by friends. I already cut lots of pieces and started sewing the pieces into strips but it is taking more work than I had anticipated.

Pieces of the Friendship Braid quilt.

Pieces of the Friendship Braid quilt.

As any quilter will understand, I soon realized I needed a few more pieces of medium blue because I’m going to need a lot more strips than… Well, maybe I never thought about how many I would need. The pattern is for a small size and doesn’t give information about a twin size.

At the fabric store.

At the fabric store.

No problem, buying fabric gives me a better-than-coffee-and-chocolate-together high. I have even cut most of the new fabric into the required pieces so tonight I’ll start piecing again.

Cascades 044

I’m going to have to stay focused because granddaughter Emily is turning 13 this summer and today I promised her that I would make her a quilt after she decides on the pattern and the fabric.

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