Sunday, October 16, 2011

Let's talk about your hardest quilt..

or, your biggest accomplishment.

Thank you to everyone who contributed to last week's talking topic, I wasn't surprised to see that we all love shopping, but it was interesting to hear what parts of the process drive us to "make" the quilts we do.  (I still can't believe some of you enjoy cutting, uugh!)

This week please write a post (and share a photo?) of the quilt you are most proud of, the one you worked the hardest (longest?) on, that you were really happy to finally put in that last stitch and call it done.

Tell us its story, from start to finish, and let us know where the treasured quilt resides now.
If you don't have a chance to write a post (or aren't a member of the blog), please write some comments on this week's posts to encourage us all to push through the harder parts and get it finished so we can appreciate a new quilt in the world.

for me.. my  biggest labor of love (of the ones I've actually finished..) would be this one:

My T-shirt Quilt (2010)
Made from t-shirts collected from 1990-2005, this quilt represents 15 years of my life.  Childhood, high school, college, studying and living in Japan, meeting my husband, moving up an down the east coast.. and pieced in with all the shirts are my favorite fabrics from 1998-2007.  Like this one with the little fish:
and the fold-dyed Japanese one.  I was never a huge fan of t-shirt quilts, but I am a supporter of preserving material culture and personal histories (um, quilter), and I couldn't bring myself to throw away or donate any of these shirts, like this one from my traveling drama troupe in Hokkaido:
My life changed a lot in my 20s, and certain decisions set me on a path I couldn't have predicted.  A lot of  teenage dreams were set aside in exchange for options I hadn't thought possible.  But still, old dreams die hard.  For me, putting these t-shirts into a quilt gave me some closure on a chapter of my life I was sad to see end.

It's not my favorite quilt, but I'm really happy it's done, and I think 15~30 years from now I will really appreciate having made it.  Right now, it is folded on the quiltrack in my bedroom, and we put it on the bed in the coldest winter months, underneath this one.  I don't really show it off, but it's warm, and it's nice to keep the memories all in one place.


  1. Difficult quilts are my forte. So among the difficult I have chosen to mention a collaboration which has received the most acclaim. For a competition I worked with a
    colleague, Rhona Triggs, on a Pennsylvania
    Dutch sampler which remains today the
    favorite of many. By working in collaboration
    both shared the work and the tastes and proclivities of the makers and made possible
    an end product neither of us could have achieved
    singly. And the combining of fabric and resources only added to the whole. It was a rewarding experience in so many ways; one I
    hope to repeat. chrome://imagetools/content/html/index.html?s1330d0aaa84s0::165

  2. My most challenging quilt was my Millennium quilt. I started it in 1998 or 1999 and the goal was to use 2000 different fabric with fabric from every decade in the 20th century. I worked on it and had quite a few tumbler patches sewn together and then other things came along and I quit working on it. In 2010 I decided I wanted to finish it. With the help of Karen of The Salvage Blog getting me in touch with quilters around the world. These wonderful ladies sent me fabric so I could finish this piece as I had run out of prints. I worked steady on this piece last spring and early summer. The quilt was getting big and more difficult to handle. After pin basting using over 1,000 safety ping, I spent over 60 hours machine quilting it. It was a lot of quilt to get under my 1475 Pfaff. I finally finished it and posted it on my blog June 7, 2010. It turned out 8' x 10'. Since I am doing remodeling work in every room of the house it is in a closet right now. After I get the house done I will have to find a place to display it. I am so glad I finished this project and I am grateful to the quilters that sent me fabric.

  3. Love this Jess. Makes me wish I'd saved more t-shirts, but then I bet I'd put them all on the back of the quilt so I wouldn't have to be embarrassed by some band shirts in particular!


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