Working on the t-shirt quilt reminded me of the first one I made for Shelby. I like t-shirts because I am old enough to remember when we didn't have them to commemorate each event in our lives.
One summer, my family traveled East and we stopped in Boston and then visited Cambridge so we could all buy Harvard sweatshirts. Back when I was young (pre civil war days) colleges were one of the few places that stamped their name on clothes. To buy them, you had to visit there or know someone who did. Then you wore that sweatshirt for a nice warm covering for the first year. By about the third, it had been handed down or relegated to yard work. (Unless you were me, I always wiggled out of manual labor claiming "homework." Now you might think this was tricky to pull off in the summer but nope, then it was "summer homework.") After the yard work stage, that sweatshirt could end up in the rag bag. The best rags were diapers - heck I bought cloth diapers just for the rags even though my girls wore Pampers.
This cycle of life (cue The Lion King sound track) does not extend to the t-shirt. They make lousy rags. The average child receives about 237 of them. And that's by Kindergarten. Some t-shirts are worn once (Kristin's sleep over!!!!) and then never worn again. Goodwill takes them off your hand and sells them in other parts of the country or overseas. I smile thinking of people in other continents wearing used American clothing. (Eat at Barney's!!!) But those few t-shirts that stay in the drawer, are worn repeatedly or are too special to give away are made into quilts.
Back when quilting was a life skill, all clothing went through a progression and often ended up in a quilt. Modern day quilters buy brand new fabric and cut it up to make quilts for it, very few would use old clothing. Except for the lowly t-shirt, this modest garment is preserved more than any other type of clothing. You can make them in various ways and many quilt shops have names of people who will make them for you. If you want to make your own, I have a page on this blog with the directions for the type that I like to make. This might not be useful for you but it is for me as the next time I make one I will probably scratch my head and say, didn't I have directions for one of those around here somewhere?
T-shirt quilts are fun to make but none is sweeter than the end of College creation. I am almost ready to quilt mine and somewhere on it I plan to embroider, no more tuition payments.
Hey, maybe I will get a t-shirt to commemorate that!