Great Video for Making a Stencil

This is a great video showing how to make a quilting stencil using the Silhouette Cameo. A stencil like this could be used for hand quilting. It would also be a great way to make a stencil for marking for free motion or freehand longarm quilting.

This video is by Margaret Wilburn at her blog “Crazy4Cutters

T-shirt quilt layout

Today is a continuation of the t-shirt quilt that I started last week. Over the weekend, the shirts were cut to size. Normally, they are cut into 14 inch squares. As I started cutting these, I realized that because the shirts were almost all small or extra small size that the blocks would need to be smaller. Thus, for the first time on a t-shirt quilt I cut all the blocks to 12-1/2 inches. There are some t-shirt quiltmakers that always use a 12 inch square, but in the past it seemed that a great deal of the logo could be cut off. However, since styles have changed and these shirts are more recent, the 12-1/2 inch square works on this one.

For layout, I lay the shirts out on a bed or on the floor and begin arranging until I am satisfied. With the number of shirts for this one — 16, it’s a pretty easy layout of 4 x 4 blocks. I played with 3 x 5 and combining some blocks but in the end I think the 4 x 4 will work best. That gives a final size of 58 x 58 inches with 2 inch sashing between the blocks.

I use my phone camera to record possible layouts so that when I get to the machine, it’s easy to double check the arrangement of shirts. Here are some possible layouts. Remember, this is just to get an idea of how the eye will travel with the shirt colors–it will look very different with the sashing added between the shirts.

Which layout do you like best?

2014-04-28 alt t-shirt layout (Small)

2014-04-28 t-shirt4x4 (Small)

Stabilizing the t-shirts

Yesterday most of the t-shirts were stabilized. Just a few tips about fusing. I have used parchment paper over the years for fusing because the teflon sheets seemed to add puckers. It’s probably just the way I did it, but that’s what happened. Then I saw an article about the Goddess pressing sheet and bought a very large one. And wow, that is a great pressing sheet and works better than anything else I have ever had. The parchment paper seems to leave a residue on the press, and the Goddess pressing sheet does not.

Sometimes the print on the t-shirt gets a little soft when it gets hot. This is especially true of those that have large areas of color and are a little stiff. The way I handle those is to press them and then let them cool completely before removing the pressing sheet. If I remove the pressing sheet when they’re hot, some of the color may stick to the sheet. If it’s cool, no problem.

I noticed yesterday that I needed a much hotter press for the sweatshirts than for the t-shirts. I usually keep my press at about 325 degrees for the t-shirts, but it needed to be 375 for the sweatshirts.

Here’s a quick t-shirt quilt show:

This t-shirt quilt was made for a friend who had run the Peachtree Road Race in Atlanta for 30 years. Three months after this quilt was finished, he passed away while on an evening run. He loved this quilt so very much in that short time that it has always made me very glad that I had made it.

2010-10-Steve Luck t-shirt quilt_002-600


This quilt was made for my son-in-law with t-shirts he painted at summer camp along with a few other t-shirts.

2010-03-03 t-shirt quilt JG_001-600


This t-shirt quilt hangs in the Institute of Government at UNC as a memorial to a much-loved professor there.

2010-04-23-t-shirt quilt_022-600

This t-shirt quilt is my daughter’s and has t-shirts from her years as a ballerina.

2010-05-17 KAB Ballet t-shirt quilt_000-600

T-Shirt Quilts–cutting and stabilizer

Someone asked on Twitter last night about how to make a t-shirt quilt–try getting that into 140 characters–so I thought I’d share the process I use for making a t-shirt quilt. About 3 months ago my daughter shipped a box to me of t-shirts that she had in storage and wanted to reduce to have made into a quilt. The box sat in the middle of my office for awhile and then I sat down one night while watching TV and cut them up.

The way I cut up t-shirts is that I cut up each side and across the shoulders so that I have a whole front and back. Then I cut off the sleeves and cut out the neck. If the neckline is something like a polo or Henley shirt, I leave that in place until after the shirt has been stabilized. Later I will replace the bulky placket with some plain fabric from the tail of the shirt. Or, if there is an extra logo somewhere on the shirt, I’ll replace it with that. The shirt has to be stabilized first before doing any stitching on it.

The most important thing is to keep the fabric you’re working with larger than your finished block size of 14″. Remember that you can cut things off AFTER it’s stabilized. But it’s very hard to stabilize if it’s cut to size first. 

If the front and back both have logos, I keep both of them. If one side is completely plain, I throw it away or put it in the rag bag for those who work on cars around here. Even if the back has a small logo, it can be used in case an extra block is needed. Small shirts can have borders added. Sock tops and small logos can be combined into a single block. If there is a small logo/date on the back or front of a shirt, or a date on a sleeve, that small piece can be stabilized and stitched onto the shirt front.

My goal is to have 14″ blocks to stitch into my quilt. Here’s a picture of some of the shirts my daughter sent. One has crystals in it–that’s going to be difficult to quilt around, and she sent a pair of socks. Some of these shirts are very small so will be combined into a single block or have some border rows to bring them up to size.


Tomorrow I’ll talk about stabilizing the shirts. I use something called French Fuse which is a nylon tricot interfacing. This is also called Easy Knit interfacing. I found it on Joann’s website, but they’re out of stock. I did find it on–of all places–they must have everything 🙂 When looking for this, key “knit interfacing” into the search box and you will get results.



Counting Monkeys

Do you ever make quilt blocks from book panels? I love to make children’s quilts–my grandchildren have far too many quilts–if that’s possible. There is one grandson who absolutely loves monkeys, so when I saw this panel in the AQS fabric shop I had to have it for him. The rest of the fabrics are from my stash, but I made a trade with someone who pieced the top for me. And now that the Mother’s Day quilts have been quilted for customers, I’m quilting this for that little one who is growing up much too fast and will be wanting superhero quilts instead of monkeys very soon.

The sashing strips were cut with my AccuQuilt GO. The interesting part of it was that the panel blocks were about 3/8″ shorter than they were long. That made cutting those sashing strips a bit tricky. Cutting sashing strips on the lengthwise grain is always the best way to go though, as there is much less stretch than cutting on the crossgrain. And it makes it easy to fanfold those pieces across a strip die and cut a lot of sashing strips in one pass. Having strip cutters has really changed the way I put quilts together–for the better I think.

I am quilting it with a pantograph called Monkey Jungle from Urban Elementz. I reduced the size of the design to 8 inches so the monkeys are fairly small and I have to go slow to quilt it, but it’s looking great so far.



IMG_5422-600 IMG_5419-600


Beautiful Quilt–just a peek

Today’s post is a teaser for Sherry. Finished her quilt this weekend, and it turned out beautifully. This one was a challenge in choosing a quilting design so I finally chose lines that were similar to the patterns in the batiks. The piecing is the piece de resistance on this quilt, so the quilting really needed to be less obvious. And I think that was achieved in the area of the piecing, but am not as happy that I did it edge to edge, as it might have looked nicer with a more neutral treatment in the borders–or at least a thread that matched the border fabric. However, we can second guess ourselves forever — so I have decided to be happy with it the way it is. The quilting design is called “Greener Grass” and it is one I designed several years ago based on my own freehand quilting.


Happy Easter

I hope you are having a Happy and Blessed Easter. Although it’s cloudy and wet outside, I can hear the birds chirping which means it will be a nice day. It has been a month since I’ve written a blog post and some significant things have happened in my life since the last post.

On March 31, my Mom passed away. She struggled for several years with a very difficult life after a stroke that left her paralyzed on her right side. For most of those years she lived at home in her small local community, but for six months in 2013, she lived with me. We had some good times and some difficult times in those six months. She was a quilter and always wanted to do more than she was actually physically able to do. I’m sure she’s in heaven now with all the fabric she could ever want and able to stitch everything she wants to stitch.

One of the things I have been working on in the past month has been to have CD’s made of some of my embroidery designs. These are almost ready and you may see some of them in the coming months in local quilt shops that also carry AccuQuilt GO! products.

Both of my children and their families (six grandchildren) came for my Mom’s funeral. As you know, one can never get all of the children to be still at the same time. Here are pics of the grandchildren (5 in one pic and the missing #6 in the next pic). The day after the funeral we took them all to Discovery Place in Charlotte so that they could play together and the adults could enjoy visiting too.

Discovery Place, Charlotte
Discovery Place, Charlotte
The youngest ones
The youngest ones

And this is a photo of the Koozies I have been crocheting for the grandchildren. My daughters are very particular about not drinking from plastic cups or bottles, so these Koozies will protect the table from scratches and help the little ones hold onto the jars.


And this is a butterfly from my new set of Butterflies and the Critters die.


Happy Easter to all