Starting a memorial quilt and more

As I was going through my email yesterday, I opened one from Nancy Zieman, and watched her video demonstration for T-Shirt Quilts and a ruler she recomends for center the logo’s; along with the fusible for backing the shirt, pressing cloth to protect the logos, and a T Shirt Quilt Made Easy book.  The video, ( ) convinced me I needed that ruler.  Although I shopped it all over the web, I ended up back on Nancy’s page and purchased it through her website.

Well, I got busy today, and dissected 10 shirts for a memorial quilt.  On the passing of her father, my friend Karen collected some shirts of his, as mementos. Last fall she asked me about a memorial quilt, and I agreed to make it, after Christmas. She packed the box up and sent it out to me over Thanksgiving, and today, I opened and unpacked it.  I prepped the shirts, cutting off necklines, sleeves and the back.  Now; I am left with the “cool part” of the shirts, the logo’s that bring back all the memories.   So; hopefully by the end of the week, my ruler will arrive and I can get busy cutting the actual quilt blocks out.  In the meanwhile, I am going to think about how to “set” those blocks.  Since they are in varying sizes, it will not be your typical square block layout.

Chatted tonight on line with from my friend Karen about her dad. Born in New York City, an Air Force Veteran of the Korean war, a NYC Police Office working in one of the worst areas of the city, a member of the Knights of Columbus and the American Legion; a man would loved baseball, the St Louis Cardinals, bowling and basketball.   I look forward to chatting with her tomorrow to get a feel for what she would like this quilt to “feel like”.  I think I have a trip to the fabric store coming!

Since I am making this for someone else, I decided to “track” the time the quilt takes, along with the expenses involved (rulers, stablizers, fabric, batting etc); so that I can give both a good accounting of the quilt making costs. I like to know for my own purposes, the time ‘invested‘ in a project.  Design time counts in with the actual physical work.  Research is important too!! 🙂

Once I finished with the “de-construction” of the shirts, I moved on to one of my other projects.

I started the Summer in the Park at the quilt retreat last week, and thought I would get them up on the wall and have a look at where I needed to go with additional blocks. (Click the link to read about retreat and pattern source – )

Summer in the Park ( 7 blocks so far)

Summer in the Park ( 7 blocks so far)

So, I’ve gotten 7- BIG blocks on the wall (those diamonds are the BIG BLOCKS); and 3 more made following this picture. When I did my cutting,  I’ve been getting 6 small blocks from each “strip set”. It is kind of fun to move these around and play with the look.  I have lots more “strip sets” to join, to get enough for a reasonable sized quilt.  Each “big block” consists of 4 – small –  8 1/2 ” blocks.

The blocks are black and yellow and white.  I am not set totally on the arrangement of the blocks; but wanted to see what I had, and what I need to make to get a good balance.  It is a fun block to make. There is a bit of waste at the end of the strip, as you are cutting triangles…but I don’t really think of it as waste. I trimmed up some of those “end cuts” earlier today, and ended up with some 6 1/2″ blocks. Some pieces were just 1/2 width triangles, but I played around and joined what I could and ended up with wacky & random leftover blocks. (They may end up in the back of the quilt!!) .

A very productive day in the quilt room. Now if it would only warm up…..I do not like cold, and when I came back from the quilt room at 5 pm, my toes were frozen!!! Had the heat on, but gosh I get cold. Tomorrow I will wear my boots out there, and trade them in for fuzzy warm knit slippers!!!


13 thoughts on “Starting a memorial quilt and more

    • Thanks for stopping in Karen. The retreat quilt was one of those “tube” quilts, so many great videos on you-tube (Missouri Star Quilt Co has 2). Somehow, during the “instruction” -I got “over instructed” on the cutting, and screwed up a whole strip set. They are now 6 1/2″ blocks. I watched the video again at home, and had no further problem cutting. T-Shirt quilt will be a first for me, wish me luck.


  1. Bless you for this labor of love – your friend will cherish it always! I’ve made several custom memorial quilts from t-shirts and have found the best method is usually quilt-as-you-go with sashing to connect the pieces together. You can see a few examples on my site at Also, I never sew across any portion of the graphics so that I don’t inadvertently cause any design elements to delaminate. Best to you with your memorial quilt project!


    • Thank you for stopping in and commenting Crystal. I have never done a “QAYG” , so will have to do a bit of reading up on the process. Several ladies in my guild are doing one this spring together, facilitated by Leah Day. I appreciate you giving me a link to your website, it may help clarify what I am doing. 🙂


      • There are several ways to join the sections together with QAYG. For an idea of how the back will look with my preferred method, look closely at the second photo in The important thing is to choose a backing that allows the joins to blend in. I thought I’d already posted more of a tutorial-type post but I guess not (I am so much more a quilter than a blogger!). I know I emailed specifics to someone a year or so ago so if you’d like more detail, just email me and I’ll find it and send you a copy – I’m always happy to share my expertise!


    • Remember that strip tube ruler…it could be very helpful for these blocks. For whatever reason none of my cuts gave me exactly same size blocks. (GUESSING IT WAS NOT A PERFECT 1/4″ Seam allowance.) Had to get the square up ruler out and adjust every one. Send me a link to your x block pattern when you have time please.


  2. I have the preliminary cutting done on the shirts. Ordered a ruler from Nancy ‘ notions that I mentioned previously. Was disappointed to find out a few day’s ago it was back ordered. I ended up getting the same thru Amazon and it is on it’s way. Meanwhile having a “design” debate with my friend and waiting for her to approve or modify my concept. I know how I want it to finish, and she has different vision, so we are going to be a few days agreeing on fabrics for sashing, borders and backing. All via email and phone it is a challenge.


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