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Monday, May 27, 2013

A Big Pile of Western Shirts

While I was in Baton Rouge visiting my family this weekend, I took the opportunity to visit my grandfather, who was recently put in a nursing home and is in the end stages of Alzheimer's.  Although he had absolutely no idea who I was and couldn't hold a real conversation, I knew it was important to take the time to see him.

I also knew that this might be the only memory that my wild thing has of his great-grandfather.  As it is, we haven't lived in Baton Rouge at all during his lifetime, and haven't always gotten to see my grandparents on every single visit.  So, I'm fairly certain that this will probably be the memory of him that sticks.

In talking with my grandmother about the goings-on of my life, inevitably the conversation turned to my love of quilting.  She asked if I would take some of my grandfather's old western shirts and make four quilts- one for each of their sons (including my dad) as keepsakes.

Except during the time he was working, my grandfather wore a western shirt, jeans, and boots pretty much every single day of his life; and to know my grandparents is to know that they absolutely do not throw things away.  This means that there were closets and closets full of shirts from which to choose, and frankly, it all got a little overwhelming considering I had no idea what I was even going to do with them once I got home.  My grandmother helped me choose shirts that were his favorites to make the quilt as special as possible, and of course I tried to get a little color variety as well.

Here's what I pulled out-

I decided to start with just one quilt, and so I only left with 12 shirts.  That will keep the project manageable, and I know that my Mom will get more for me when I'm ready for them.  I've (finally) decided on a scrappy kaleidoscope quilt with Kona Parchment (a warm tan) as the background, and I'm planning to applique some of the western pocket flaps in the center of the blocks.

I've never made this kind of quilt before, so I bought a kaleidoscope ruler, and I'm just crossing my fingers that I get it right!


  1. Your idea sounds wonderful! I will caution you tho not to get overwhelmed. A friend asked me to take her father's shirts and jeans and make three quilts for each of the kids. I hemmed and hawed and finally just made patchwork. I used both shirts and jeans and backed the quilts with flannel. I put a pocket on the back with the info and a poem. They were THRILLED. It is just us quilters that think a quilt has to be more complicated. Good luck to you!

  2. What a great keepsake quilt that will make. I love the idea.

  3. That is so precious. What an heirloom your quilt will be!! :o)

  4. What a wonderful idea! I'm sure that these will be treasured.

  5. I really agree! The simpler the better. I used my Grandpa's jeans to make a quilt and all I used was squares... Holy Macroll! You would think that I spent years making it based on the love and attention it gets. It ultimately is the thought that they have a remembrance!


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