This past April, my FIL died. He was a wonderful man and we all miss him dearly, especially at family gatherings where he always said grace before the meal. After he passed away, I asked my MIL if I could have his shirts. He did not get rid of his old shirts when he got new ones so there was a very large collection of shirts for me to use for my projects.
I spent much of September washing the shirts, cutting them apart, harvesting all of the usable material and saving all of the buttons. I ironed everything and put it into a bin to take with me to the Beaver Island Quilt Retreat with Gwen Marston at the end of September. At the retreat, I sewed morning, noon and night and completed two quilt tops by the time we had to pack up to go home.
This one is a copy of an antique quilt which was found in a storage locker after my FIL passed away. We think the original quilt may have been made by my FIL's grandmother. I made this for my SIL. Before you ask, that strange "T" block in the lower left corner was in the original quilt and I copied it to put into this quilt.
This one block took quite a while to put together in the new quilt top. The picture above is the block in the antique quilt.
For my second top, I decided to make a liberated medallion for my husband. I started out with a 12 1/2 " square cut from the front of one of his Dad's denim shirts and added borders until it felt done.
I used the yoke linings with the tags on them too.
I had a lot of fun putting this quilt together. I love just letting the quilt "speak" to me to tell me what to do next. The retreat was the perfect venue for this as I had lots of time to ponder the next step and there was inspiration everywhere around me, not to mention, creative quilters ready, willing and able to give me ideas and options on what to do next.
The finished top.
When I got home, I realized I still had 4 more quilt tops to make from the shirts as well as 6 quilt backs--all of which needed to be completed in time to get them to the long arm quilters so she could work her magic before I did the binding. Yikes! My husband knew all along that I was making shirt quilts for him, his sister, his mother and the three grand-daughters but he was not allowed to see anything before the quilts were gifted on Boxing Day. I did all of my sewing when he was out at meetings and at a couple of sewing days. I did banish him to the basement some evenings and afternoons on the weekends so that I could sew. Don't worry, I did bring him food and water once in a while!
The rest of these pictures were taken on Boxing day after everyone had received their quilts.
This quilt is for one of my nieces. It is a disappearing 4 patch pattern that I found on the internet. The outer border is some tool fabric--my FIL had an extensive tool collection which he used to do his woodworking projects and to fix things around their house and ours.
Here is my niece all wrapped up in her quilt:
She can feel her Papa hugging her!
Her twin sister's quilt was made with a Bonnie Hunter pattern called "Rectangle Wrangle". This one involved lots of sewing and cutting and sewing again!
Here is the back:
More hugs from Papa!
Here is a close up of the border fabric and the oak leaf quilting. (The quilting was done by Cathy at Eagles' Wings Quilts--she did a fantastic job but has told me she does not want to do any more oak leaf quilting for a while!) All of the quilts were quilted with the same pantograph--oak leaves and acorns. At my FIL's funeral, my SIL did the eulogy in which she described her dad as being like an oak tree, standing tall and deeply rooted to the land where he grew up on the farm.
My father in law had a little red truck when my daughter was little and she affectionately called him "Red Truck Grandpa" so when I found this red truck fabric, I knew I had to use it in the border of her quilt.
Here is the back of my daughter's quilt. My FIL planted geraniums from seed every winter for everyone in the family. We think of him every time we see geraniums growing. There is a picture in the family photo album of my FIL as a young boy with one of his Mother's chickens on his head so the chicken fabric also made its way onto the back of my daughter's quilt.
Here is my SIL with her quilt. I did not add any borders as the original antique quilt did not have any borders.
All wrapped up in her Dad's love.
Here is the back of my SIL's quilt which includes more tools, farm. and geranium fabrics.
This is my husband's quilt. This is the first quilt I have ever made for him. We have plenty of quilts that we use on our bed but this one is exclusively his. He was reading a book earlier today and I put the quilt on top of him.
Just the right size for keeping warm while reading a book or watching tv.
My husband and his dad went to see a Detroit Tigers baseball game every year for Father's day so there is baseball fabric included on the back of his quilt. This year, my daughter bought two tickets for her and her dad to go to a Tigers game. The tradition continues.
My Mother-in-Law's quilt is another Bonnie Hunter pattern "Bricks and Stepping Stones". She remembered all the different occasions when my FIL wore the different shirts. She shed a few tears looking at all the quilts.
The border is more farm fabric.
The back includes some ice cream sundae fabric. On their first date, my FIL took my MIL our for ice cream--they shared a banana split. The fabric includes some banana splits--I was lucky to find that fabric!
My MIL loves her quilt and I am quite sure it will be used often!
I also made some other gifts but will do a separate post about them in a few days.
This is a new ornament that I bought for our tree this year in memory of my FIL.