Stories that quilts tellby Penelope Starr on May. 19, 2012, under Arts, Youth
My 10-year-old grandson and I were cleaning out his overstuffed dresser drawers, getting rid of the t-shirts that where too small in anticipation of a trip to Target to buy some new ones. The reject pile was growing and I was getting nostalgic remembering the ones I had bought for him over the last few years. I asked him to tell me about where he got some of them and we began to reminisce.
In a flash of inspiration I decided to make a quilt out of these memories for him. I stuffed my suitcase with little t-shirts and headed back to Tucson. The last time I made a quilt was about 25 years ago and I knew that a lot had changed. New technologies like rotary cutters (with razor blade wheels) and self healing mats were just the beginning.
I spent lots of time talking to the nice folks at Cactus Quilt Shop and Jo Ann Fabrics getting information and buying tools and supplies. I found out that I had to iron on fusible interfacing so the knit fabric wouldn’t stretch and that they sell special pins that are bent to make pin-basting easier. And I watched some very informative videos online such as How To Tie a Quilt at the Quilting In the Rain blog.
I took pictures of the process to share with my grandson so he could appreciate all the steps that went into making it for him. But best of all was when I delivered the finished product last week. He was thrilled and so was I!
He carefully assessed the whole project and then began to notice individual blocks. Seeing the picture that he had worn on his chest for a number of years brought back memories and he could tell me the story of where the shirt came from or where he wore it. One example is the large block of a gila monster from the t-shirt I bought at Tohono Chul gift shop for him after he broke his arm and had a bright orange cast. The black and orange lizard matched the cast quite well.
He especially liked the Malcolm X Elementary School emblem, the school he attends in Berkeley. He’ll be able to cuddle up under those memories and tell those stories for a long time.