Monday, August 5, 2019

The Harley quilt

There's nothing like a deadline to get one motivated!

Last summer when I visited my family, I met up with Heather - a quilter whom I met via Facebook. We've known each other for several years now and she was showing me around her studio. There's a group of artists who've rented office space and have the most amazing studios ever. She's the only quilter. As she was showing me stuff in her studio, she happened upon a bag of Harley Davidson T-shirts. Most of them had been cut and had the stabilizer applied to the back. These were her leftovers from making a commission quilt.

Did I want the shirts? You know me - hard to say no. My brother owns a Harley - I could make him a quilt without harming his own precious Harley T-shirts. Needless to say, that bag of T-shirts has languished somewhere in that studio for most of the year. Mind you - it was only LAST year that I got the shirts.

When the whole issue of moving stuff happened, I came across the bag. I'm also teaching a class on T-shirt quilts this fall so the bag got moved to the T-shirt pile.

Several weeks ago, I put the T-shirts on the wall so I could see what I had to work with. Hmmm - not quite enough for a lap quilt, but I'll see what I can do.

I finally settled on this configuration. Now to trim the blocks to the size that I need - actually there was very little trimming involved except for the ones that hadn't been done yet. I really wanted those two black flames on the right in the piece, but they just weren't going to work.

T-shirt quilt layout

A couple of the pieces weren't wide enough so I had one block that I wasn't going to use. I mined as much fabric from that block as I could and widened the two blocks in the lower left. I was still short about 5 inches in the total length of that column. I rifled through a stack of T-shirts that I'm going to make a quilt from and finished off the top. I'm quite happy with it considering that it started with a very strict group of blocks. It measures 48" by 64".

The T-shirt quilt top is DONE

After all the talk about taking things from others and then doing nothing with it, I couldn't go against that new philosophy of mine. I'm going to visit family next week, so now there's a rush. It has been on my deadline list of quilts. Never mind that there are other quilts to be made and samples to be finished. Hey - I have a week. Loads of time. 

Then the matter of the backing. Since these two pieces didn't work on the front, they're going on the back.

Two blocks for the quilt backing

I had two pieces of flame fabric for the backing. I have to make it work.

Two pieces of flame fabric for the backing

I don't plan these things - not much. I just let the fabric tell me what's supposed to happen. I started by measuring the two pieces. I drew a picture of my quilt back and then started to slot the pieces in.

This is the first piece of fabric. It was only 20 inches wide, but it was long enough. Those two blocks will fit nicely in the middle.

Step One of making the quilt backing
There were enough bits left from that first piece that I could get a top, bottom, and middle for that center section. It was as if it were made for that part.

The middle section of the quilt backing

The last piece was about 48" long and the full width of the fabric. I cut a piece that measured 36" and sliced it in half. Then joined those two pieces end to end. That gave me the third piece needed for the backing. Seriously?? It was super easy to make that backing. I have visions of lots of piecing and measuring and calculating - my two pieces of fabric just seemed to work. That's often how things happen - we agonize over something and when we actually get to it, it wasn't half bad.

The quilt backing

The backing is sewn together and just needs a quick press before it goes on the long arm later tonight. That's after I've quilted the one that I loaded last night. I'm really into the idea of finishing a quilt and then loading the next one right away. It works for me and I'm OK with that. I'm plowing through the quilts like mad.

OH -- this is all that I had left of the flame fabric. Not much, but enough to put away in the novelty fabric box. There was a piece 12" by WOF and those little strips. I would have had enough without the two flame blocks, but they make the backing much more interesting.

Leftover flame fabric

Speaking of quilting quilts, this is the one that I finished last night. Do you recognize it? It's the blocks from the 150 Canadian Women project from two years ago. I've got to get things rejigged in that studio as I can't get a front-on shot right now because of boxes piled up in front of the long arm. Doesn't hinder me working, just from taking a front shot.

Customer quilt - done

As I was rifling through boxes the other night, I found my measuring tapes! Yeah! That sure helps a lot.

Tape measures are back in their spot

The cutting table is clear. Well pretty much. Notice the scrap box is empty and there's a pillowcase started for the next pet mat. The scrap box is getting full again after finishing the T-shirt quilt.

The cutting table is still clear!

 In case you think that all I do is make quilts - you're wrong! Yesterday, I zipped out for two hours on my bike. It was a glorious day. I love getting out as my head completely empties of everything! I did imagine the snack I was going to have once I got back to the house! Yogurt and strawberries. Yum.

I had a nap, but not in the gazebo!! I made and sewed the binding on my POSH Santa. The sleeve is one and I'll hand sew it in place today. I finished prepping the hearts for the gingerbread block which I'll sew on today and I finished off a couple of other small projects which I'll share with you tomorrow. As a reward for all that hard work, I had a chance to sit in the gazebo, read, nap, and enjoy the company (and antics) of the girls. If every day could be that much fun and still be productive!!

I have to run. I've got a ton of stuff to load in the car this morning for Monday sewing. I'm not sure it's all going to fit. That's the crazy thing about Mondays - there's always this massive (or so it seems) exchange of stuff. I'm only receiving one thing (that I know of).

Have a super day!!!!



  1. I love the story of the tshirts. Glad to see you got it done. One more bag out of the room, one more quilt out of the house!

  2. Luv the tshirt quilt! The backing is 👍💥💥

    1. Thanks --- more fun than plain but simple to make!!!!