Tuesday, February 28, 2017

First 2017 finish: t-shirt baby quilt

Huzzah, a finish!  And made entirely from stash (well, except for the t-shirts)

The challenge 

A request from October 2016 was to make a t-shirt quilt for a baby whose mother works at Mills College.  These were the two t-shirts I was given to work with.  And oh, by the way, could I possibly make the quilt entirely out of stash?  Why yes, I'll accept that challenge!

First things first: Mills colors are blue and gold.  And these t-shirts were decidedly NOT blue.  Or gold.  What to do?  Start with the back.

I had one yard of a blue ombre stripe.  Needed it to be bigger, so I inserted a slim strip of the delightful multicolor fabric (I think it has a nice blue-and-gold overall feel) and the long-stashed gold-with-blue stripe.  (Long stash = made a baby hat from this; said baby is now 26)  Proud to say that I used up ALL of the blue stripe and the gold stripe.  Only crumbs left.

For the front, I found a pattern I liked called Fractal, from the book Quilt Lab: The Creative Side of Science by Alexandra Winston.  Although Fractal is not a pattern for a t-shirt quilt, I saw potential in the oversized squares and rectangles.  I adapted the overall scale to be able to use 15" square t-shirts in the corners, with the intention of putting my purple and green lovelies just so.  Then I searched my stash for blue fabric to fill in the large empty spaces.

Blue fabric.  Um...yeah.  Not really a blue person.  Probably can't tell from the photo above, but my only large swaths of blue are really quite navy.  Sweetie looked at the mock-up on my design wall and reminded me that, "Mills colors are blue and gold.  I'm not seeing that.  And what's with the bandana fabric?" 

Indeed: stash, that's what's up with the red bandana print.  Hmph!

However, I am a resourceful person quilter.  I knew where to get some t-shirts that feel more "Mills".  Collected a big selection--not entirely blue and gold, but enough that I felt confident I could work something out.

the finished quilt front

I fussed.  And I fused.  Have you ever made a t-shirt quilt?  Most of the front is exclusively t-shirts--and they all have to be stabilized with fusible interfacing in order to behave.  And in a baby quilt, behaving is important for the usability and longevity of the gift.

Ended up using more of the multi-color fabric from the back: replaced the red bandana bits, and tied together both front and back with binding.

The quilting shows up better on the back.  I used my walking foot to replicate the concentric circles that were shown in the quilt from the book.

I'm pretty proud of my efforts here.  I didn't make it to the baby shower (but the quilt did).  The mother-to-be was delighted, so that's a definite win.

1.  A finish
2.  Entirely from stash (counting this as a 2-yard stashbust)
3.  Done on-time for its intended recipient

Do you like the restriction of having to use only stash in a project?  Or do you chafe and feel like your creativity gets stifled?

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