This project really started about 5 years ago or whenever pinterest came into the picture. If you know my husband Jay, you know he loves a good t-shirt and has a vast collection. Vast. He's kept a box for years of old favourites that he couldn't part with and so the seed was planted. One day I will make him a t-shirt quilt.
Then it happened, one night last November after too much red wine I got that urge. "Start another huge project" it said to me. So I listened, ignored all the household chores and went down into the crawl space and dug up the box.
I'm not sure about you but I get a healthy mix of excitement and anxiety when starting a new project. This one had exceptionally high anxiety though. I was going in with no pattern or plan really. Just a whole lot of idea's, my husbands collection of prized t-shirts and a rotary cutter. His first fire department shirt was in there. One from the birth of all 3 of our kids, the one he won the Handyman Superstar Challenge in, favourite concert shirts... A lot of memories where about to get hacked up. Over 30 shirts in total. I was stressed. Enter more red wine.
We decided to make it an extra large twin size so that if he wanted to, it could go on his bed at work at the Fire Department. Which I think is hilarious. "Nice quilt Captain!" So I figured out how big I wanted each t-shirt square to be, added a couple of inches for screw ups and went for it.
Once I started cutting the shirts and seeing how they change shape I remembered why I've always loved making blankets. Whether it's knitting, sewing or quilting, making one thing into something else has always been so rewarding to me.
It wasn't long before I started to equate my time working on the quilt with being really present. What I'm referring to is really being immersed in the moment you are in and letting everything else wash away. This quilt was really opening my eyes to artists, artisans and presence. Something I've never ever considered before. Then my yoga mind starting to go with it. For me, making this quilt was just like yoga. Just not on the mat. Even though it was all done on the dining room table (and floor) with all the hustle and bustle of a busy family of 5, holidays etc going on around, I was always so relaxed and happy when working on it. I wasn't worried about whether or not I had enough granola bars for lunches or even what the next step of the quilt would involve. I just was IN each moment, doing the best I could and not worried about the final outcome. Enjoying the journey.
Jay knew he wanted grey and black borders and a grey backing so that part was easy. It's a mans quilt. I went to my favourite Canadian online fabric retailer The Fabric Spot and ordered some real nice Robert Kaufman Kona cottons in a black and grey. I am a sucker for good quality and wasn't going to cheap out on the fabric that was going to hold these shirts together for many years to come.
A breakdown in numbers
T-shirts - 30
Ruined shirts - 2 maybe 3 if I was being honest.
Thread - Over 1000 metres
Finished size - 62" x 84"
Hours - Many
Cost - Pretty darn close to $100 in materials.
So there you have it. Jay's t-shirt quilt! I'm so happy with the outcome that I'm already planning my own and some for the kids. If you have any questions about the process, please ask in the comments!