I received an email from a quilter, who shall remain nameless –unless she wants to speak up!
My email conversation with her was really thought provoking to me and I thought you might enjoy it – I mean – we all know the “rehearsed and correct answer any quilter should give”, but I want you to remember that there are no quilt police here, and sometimes situations dictate that we take a different path.
Are you intrigued?
I’m talking memory quilts.
I have a friend who wants me to make a quilt using her Dad's shirts. All of them are 100% polyester. But they are beautiful colors ....and he has passed so this would be very special.
I cannot get a definitive answer on the Internet or my local quilt shops. What do you think?
One of the issues....I understand there will be a nasty smell emitted when ironing.
What if I do a quilt using the shirts as appliqué instead of piecing?
Thank you for your help. I love your site.My reply to her came quickly and I really didn’t need to think about it. I just went with my gut feeling:
Be well, S
Turn the iron down and make the quilt.Yes, I know that poly will wear differently with age, but it’s not about that ---new fabric will NEVER hold the memories that this fabric from her father’s clothing will. It just won’t.
This is about your friend's father and the memories the quilt will preserve.
Just do the best you can with it knowing that poly will not behave the same as cotton. If the fabrics are slippery, stabilize them with some iron on interfacing, the same way you would a t-shirt quilt.
This is not the kind of quilt that will be put in a show and judged. It's not going to Houston, it's not going to Paducah, but its purpose is far greater, and the reward worth so very much more.
Make the quilt for your friend from her father's shirts.
And while a quilt with new fabric may be preferable to some, I will take a quilt made with my grandfather’s clothing ANY DAY ---hands down. Jelly Roll quilt vs Grandpa’s shirts? NO CONTEST.
My departed Oscar on a pile of shirts ready to cut up!
In the DVD set of Why Quilts Matter, one of the interviews explained it all to me. And I have to paraphrase because I couldn't find exactly where that excerpt was, but the woman was talking about how we have a love affair with fabric. It’s the first thing we are swaddled in when we are born…it’s the last thing that touches us as we leave this life. We can not get away from the fabric.
Quilters may be leary to say "sew it" from the poly blend shirts because they are afraid the quilt police are after them, or they would be judged somehow.
Quilt shops don’t want to say to say "sew it" from the shirts because they want you to buy their expensive NEW fabric –and I can understand that. But this is a quilt with a different purpose --it is a comfort, a memory preserver. New fabric can't do that.
I say SEW IT! Because this is about your friend and her father, nothing more, nothing less, and I know you can do this! :)
These are my rambling thoughts as I wait for a phone call from Shelly at The Quilt Show to do my phone interview for my taping next month and I’m nervous as a cat!
Remember Quilt –Cam tonight at 9pm Eastern. By then I can tell you how the interview went and fill you in with things.
Oh – and I’ll also be drawing for the winner of Why Quilts Matter in this evening’s post too!