July 6, 2023

Dogs in Pajamas

My wife's mother passed away in 2021. Tina asked me to make her a memory quilt using her mother's pajamas. Since I've heard numerous tales of the dachshunds Tina's family had as she was growing up, I thought of Elizabeth Hartman's Dogs in Sweaters quilt pattern.

 The sweaters are all made from pajamas.

The dogs' bodies, ears, and tails, and the background, are Essex linen.

The trim on the sweaters are mostly solid quilting fabrics, but in a few cases I used plaid pajama pieces for the trim.

I quilted different designs in each of the sweaters.

The back is entirely pieced from pajamas. The pajamas were all stretchy, so I applied interfacing to the pieces -- making for a heavy quilt.

I tried a chunky binding for the first time, using tutorials from Latifah Saafir and Audrey Esarey. I was aiming for a one-inch binding, but I didn't cut my strips quite wide enough. I had to trim a quarter inch from the quilt sandwich after I had sewn down the binding to the front, giving me a 0.75" binding.

I finished this quilt back in February, except the label I had ordered had a typo (my mistake). Here's the freshly added and corrected label:

 My mother-in-law was a very sweet woman, and I'm glad we have this memento to cherish.

July 3, 2023

Two gift quilts

I've recently completed two quilts which I've made for others.

My friend Joy Moore asked me to make her a memory quilt using her husband's shirts. I was pleasantly surprised to see a beautiful collection of bright plaids. Her husband Michael had great taste in shirts!

Joy wanted a large quilt with a traditional design. We settled on Arkansas Crossroads, which is a design I've used before.

The background fabric is Essex linen in flax. I alternated three different simple quilting designs in the 16-square blocks, and did a more intricate beaded design in the background. The background quilting is the same I used in my Xbox quilt, which I felt added much to that quilt.
For the backing, I used a Tim Holtz music-themed print, as Michael was a musician. The label was printed at Spoonflower.

I'm pretty sure Joy is quite thrilled and touched by her quilt.

My second recent completion was requested by our church as a tribute to Mr. Jerry Miller, a volunteer who retired last year after 60 years of service with the church's student ministries.

The quilt is made from Jerry's t-shirts associated with various youth activities or the group's yearly theme. I had the quilting done on a longarm machine at Sweet Home Quilting; my style of dense free-motion quilting doesn't seem well suited for t-shirt quilts.

Since Jerry had worked for NASA, we chose a fabric designed by astronaut Karen Nyberg for the backing, from her Earth Views line.


This was my first collage style t-shirt quilt. I used the layout steps from this tutorial as a guide; I borrowed their idea for a border as well. I cut my blocks at 5-inch increments (finished size) though. As a layout guide, I printed a grid on card stock and sketched in each t-shirt block to scale -- a 15"x15" block would be 3x3 squares on the grid, for example. 

I cut out the individual pieces and arranged them on another grid to determine my placement.


There was a big event last year to honor Jerry's retirement, but he was told at the time he'd have to wait for his gift -- since it required his involvement (in providing shirts and preferences). We presented the quilt to him at the student meeting last Sunday.

I just happened to finish both these quilts at about the same time. I pieced Joy's quilt first, and dropped it off at Sweet Home Quilting for basting on a longarm. While waiting for the basting, I was able to piece the t-shirt quilt. Then I left the t-shirt quilt to be quilted at Sweet Home while I did the quilting on Joy's quilt. By the time Joy's was complete, all that was left on Jerry's quilt was to add the binding and label.