Quilting is making a huge comeback with the repurposed movement. The desire to reuse what we already have is expected to grow by leaps and bounds over the next couple of decades.
Google how to make a quilt and a ton of tutorials pop up. I gave up searching on page 38.
In this post, I want to talk to you about some amazing ideas for finding a fabric that will bring your family and friends to tears (the good kind).
Cathy Freeman nails it over and over. Check out the video of her latest quilt and her daughter’s reaction.
I stretched out on Cathy’s bed as she told me the story again.
“My dad passed away right about four weeks before Christine’s wedding,” said Freeman.
The middle daughter was devastated. They were very close.
“Christine’s pregnant now. And so I was going through my dad’s closet and I found this shirt, which is one of his old knock around shirts, and it was all Navy themed.
“The minute I saw it, I knew what I was going to do with it. And so I took that shirt and cut it all apart and made it into a baby blanket for her.”
Cathy gave the quilt to her daughter this past Christmas. It’s now one of her most prized possessions. She posted on Instagram that it’s one of her favorite gifts ever!
Then, there’s the quilts she made for her other daughter… Amanda.
Last week a tornado ripped through the area where Cathy lives. One person was killed and dozens of homes and businesses were damaged.
Her daughter took the two baby quilts Cathy made into the space under the stairs until it was safe to come out after the storm.
“That meant the world to me.”
Cathy has a ton of quilting stories like this that bring tears to my eyes.
Her grandson has a quilt with fabric from the firefighter uniforms of both of his grandfathers.
Click play below to hear Cathy describe how she pulled that off. Plus, she talks about sewing on a $100 machine and if it’s worth the investment to buy a more advanced model.
The story of her husband’s quilt makes me laugh and cry.
“When he would wear the shirt out, he thought it had gotten thrown away, but I saved it in a box for years and years.”
Cathy’s husband is a firefighter and collected a lot of firefighter t-shirts through his career.
“The bottom three quilt squares on my husband’s quilt are all a tribute to the 9/11 firefighters… never forget. There’s a picture of the two firefighters raising the flag at 9/11 that morning.”
When I walked into Cathy’s home on the day of the interview, one of the first things I noticed was her husband sitting with that very same quilt.
We had a little blonde headed shadow that day.
Cathy’s granddaughter, Ashlynn, showed me her “Nana love” blanket with a special message on the tag.
“She wrote this. And I have no idea what is says,” said Ashlynn.
Cathy chimed in.
“This is your birth date April 9, 2008. Made with love for Ashlynn Nicole West. All my love your grandmother Catherine Diane Freeman.”
Little Ashlynn paused with a smile and said, “And then there’s spirals and hearts around it. That’s the part that I like.”
Ashlynn really loves her Spiderman blanket. It started out the size of a towel. Fortunately, her nana knows how to add fabric as she grows.
She spotted three unfinished quilt tops in her mother-n-law’s closet.
“Her aunts had made them. My mother-in-law is 90.”
She wanted to finish them, but had never sewn a quilt.
“We took a class together to learn how to do quilting and that was 10 years ago.”
The seed was planted.
“I love the creativity of it, because when I start on a quilt I typically never know what it’s going to look like when it’s finished.”
If you want to get started, learn from Cathy’s mistakes.
First, don’t feel like you need to start churning out quilts left and right. And don’t feel guilty if you need to use a sewing machine.
The very first quilt she made by hand.
“I wanted it to be authentic… by hand, so it took me four-and-a-half years. So, every softball practice. Every baseball practice.”
The most important part of making a quilt begins before you start the first stitch. Cathy says measure… and then measure again.
“It just drives me crazy when I cut something and then go… darn it I cut it too short.”
Plus, always wash material before cutting to avoid shrinking problems.
Cathy showed me her current project… a cushion cover. I had no idea that the trim covered up a problem.
“We bought the fabric. Got it home and I was like, I don’t know if this has been washed. So, we washed it and when we washed it shrunk. Then we didn’t have enough fabric to finish the project.”
If you want to start with the popular t-shirt quilting craze, don’t worry if the fabric doesn’t lie perfectly.
“It’s going to give. It’s going to misshape, so you just have to know that.”
I’d love to hear your quilting stories and ideas. Leave a comment!
Here’s a fabulous tutorial I found on YouTube: