The best thing about writing a quilt focused blog is the ability to use the quilt as a metaphor. It works astoundingly well on all levels. Life is, after all, just a human-scale patchwork of experiences.
Any life story works. Seriously. Try it.
Passionate love story? Ah, the fevered search for the perfect fabric to complete that intricate pattern. Overcoming heartache? Definitely relates to that damaged quilt you repaired. Happy wedding or new baby? A fresh pattern connecting bright colors, fun prints, and unlikely shapes. Worrying about a sick friend? Making a comfort quilt is maybe the only thing you can do. Musing about the perfection of a sunny spring day? Reminds me of that new fabric line with all the bunnies.
I could go on and on. But I think, maybe, I’ve found the quilt that is the most complete metaphor for life.
The T-shirt quilt.
Yep, I said it. The T-shirt quilt.
You were, perhaps, expecting something old-fashioned like a Double Wedding Ring, or Joseph’s Coat, or a good-ol’ nine patch?
I get it, those are all pretty good stories. But for me, a T-shirt quilt is a personal time capsule. A patchwork collage of who someone is, or has been, up to this moment in time. It’s no wonder that T-shirts are so frequently our souvenirs of choice. They are reminders of attachment to a group or a person; reminders of places we’ve been; reminders of skills learned, competence earned. Just sliding an old WVU T-shirt over my head brings back the smell of the library, the solid feel of old wood floors under my feet, the warmth of someone special holding my hand as we walked through the crowded Coliseum. Ahhhh, those old T-shirts. Wearable memories. The perfect keepsake.
Which is why you gotta save those things!
All those memories, stuffed in a box or stacked on a shelf in your closet. Or worse – rotting away in your attic!
I know, you can’t fit into them anymore. I can’t fit into mine, either. 🙂 But I can quilt them into a blanket to snuggle under, like I did for a friend of mine recently.
The collage/mosaic style was perfect for this quilt, which included a lot of theater performance t-shirts. An artistic style for an artistic bunch of tees from an artistic period of this person’s life.
There are other options, style-wise, of course. Many people like their tees cut into equal-size blocks (with or without sashing). For the quilter, it’s easier and faster to cut all the t-shirts to the same size. Then you can make nice, tidy rows and sew them up lickety-split.
Those quilts are nice. Beautiful, even. But my life isn’t like that. And I do insist that these quilts are metaphors.
Which is probably why the collage style is my favorite. It’s improv, just like life. You take all the memory pieces you have, big or small. You can’t leave out the small pieces just because they’re different. Time consuming. Don’t fit the standard size.
You just work them in, because memorable moments aren’t always big and splashy. Sometimes we are impacted the most in the small, quiet moments: the whisper of your child at bedtime, the soft swelling of a heart full of joy, the empty space of a lost love, the friendly word exactly when you needed it most.
The moments pile up over time, overlapping, colliding, connecting, creating the patchwork landscape of a life. Big or small, they’re all important, all beautiful. All you.
Do you have a pile of wearable memories (T-shirts, that is) at your house? Pile them in a box, ship them in, and I’ll make you a quilt to remember. Click here for more info.