October 20, 2023

Yes, it took a while -- and a title change at the last minute -- but it's here! T-Shirt Quilts ... One Block at a Time! is ready to order. 

What I love about this book is that it makes making a T-shirt quilt FUN! Just dive in  and start quilting shirts -- you'll put them all together later on. 

For the quilt on the cover, I found all the shirts at the Goodwill shop in Harlem. I found the T-shirt section and thought I had gone to heaven: there were at least a dozen full racks of T-shirts and they were all arranged by color! 

As I started looking through them I found a lot of shirts with motivational phrases on them, and soon I had a couple of dozen. (There are a lot of fundraisers and corporate events in NYC, and it seems that all the leftover T-shirts end up here.) That gave me the idea to make a "power words" quilt.

I can't remember exactly when I decided to decorate all the shirts with fusible applique, but I had the perfect fabric for it. I had bought a collection of Egypt-inspired fabrics quite a few years ago at Hancock's of Paducah (to the tune of almost $150!). Every time I pulled the bag out of my stash I would think "What was I thinking?" They had SOOOO much gold on them, they were almost gaudy. Whatever enthusiasm I had felt when buying them had long since turned to confusion.

Well, this quilt turned out to be the perfect project for them. I fussy-cut the most florid fabric to add embellishments to the logos, then used other fabrics for the sashing, borders, joining strips and backing. I used up ALL that fabric!

The greatest thing about making this quilt was how it kept my spirits up during COVID. Whenever things seemed just too much, I would go into my studio  and make blocks for this quilt. I cut out fabric and played with different arrangements around the logos. I fused down the cut-outs, layered the blocks, and satin-stitched the edges of the applique. (I used up an entire 3000-yard cone of gold Magnifico thread from Superior.) All through the process, as I looked at the words on those T-shirts, I would think "This is what I want to be able to say about myself when this is over."

Now that it's finished, I love this quilt. I love the power words, I love the glitz. I love the memory of how it carried me through. It still inspires me. Someone told me the other day it was the prettiest T-shirt quilt she had ever seen.

I think if King Tut had a T-shirt quilt it would look like this.

 Happy Quilting! ~ RaNae

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