T-Shirt Quilt: Challenge Accepted

A few weeks ago during Sunday Stash #95 I showed you a bundle of t-shirts my brother, Cody, had sent me to make him a queen-sized t-shirt quilt. He’d only sent fifteen, with three of them being the same shirt! Now, he’s a big guy, being a college football player and all, so there is plenty of t-shirt fabric to work with. However, there was no way I was ever going to just cut these shirts into squares, sew them together and be done with it. Bor-ing. Come on, let’s spice it up! 
I cruised over to Instagram for some #tshirtquilt inspiration, and found none. Zero. Zilch. Zip. Looks like I’m gonna have to rescue this genre from the same-same bucket. Just so we’re clear, I’m not looking down my pretty nose at any on-grid t-shirt quilts. Grandma Sparkles made me mine exactly like that, and it is my go-to couch quilt. (I’ll be sure to get you some pictures of it before this process is complete.) Instead, I want to make a t-shirt quilt that inspires you to try something a little bit different!
The t-shirts are toned, secondary colours of orange, purple and green, with lots of neutrals of black, white, and grey. I’ve pulled coordinating fabrics that tend to have a more masculine vibe. This resulted in a lot of Comma, Botanics and Architextures, random fat quarters here and there, and (gasp!) batiks. I have been busily making random filler blocks to combine with the differently shaped and sized logos from the t-shirts. I want there to be a lot to discover in this quilt, with only the colours tying it together.
It has been so creatively exciting! I wake up each morning thinking, “Hmm… well, what block do you want to make today?!” Oh, and there have been many! This has been a great opportunity to explore blocks I haven’t made before. For instance, I don’t want to make 752 Economy Blocks for an entire quilt, but I whipped up a couple just to throw in here randomly. I’ve still got lots of fabrics in my pull to work with, so there’s a whole variety of blocks still waiting to be made. There’s going to be nothing boring about this t-shirt quilt, fo’sho!
So I have two questions for you, Glitterati:
1. What other blocks should I throw in here? (Don’t say Churn Dash, because I am not a fan). The only definite thing left on my list to make is four Road to Oklahoma blocks. 
2. My brother likes typical Oklahoma, guy things. You know, hunting and fishing, stuff like that. I’m wondering if any of you have any scraps, or charm squares containing these types of things I could put in the quilt, preferably in this colour way? Nothing too tacky, but some fussy cutting could be a lot of fun in this quilt! I am, of course, happy to pay or trade for such things.
This is going to be one mutha of a jigsaw puzzle. Challenge accepted.

28 Responses

  1. Nicole says:

    I too felt the same as you re: Churn Dash, until I saw it on point. Check it out, and perhaps reconsider?

  2. Sooli says:

    Hmmm what about an Oklahoma Twister block? http://www.patchworksquare.com/mf/oklahoma-twister-quilt-block.pdf. Not sure if I have any fabric that fits the bill but I'll have a look!

  3. memmens says:

    I can't wait to see this finished, funnily enough there are no hunting or fishing fabrics in my stash!! How about a donut block?

  4. Your creativity continues to amaze me! This is going to be the best t-shirt quilt ever.

  5. Toohey says:

    I'm very interested in your take on the t-shirt quilt. My nephew requested I make one for him out of about 30 concert t-shirts. I'm in the process of ironing interfacing onto the backs. Very time consuming (and boring).

  6. Julia says:

    Loving all the variety and colors! I'm going to have to be more creative with my next t shirt quilt! No excuses for plain old sashing, now!

  7. DeborahGun says:

    Thanks for the inspiration. I have been landed with making a t-shirt quilt and only been given a few t-shirts of various shapes and sizes and a request for a killer whale! I think I will follow your lead and just start making blocks and see where it leads!

  8. Laura Links says:

    You could always spell out Oklahoma using paper piecing. Didn't I just read a blog post where you paper pieced 'white'? In fact, I'll bet there are lots of great paper pieced patterns out there that would fit your theme!

  9. Renee says:

    haha I love that for a tshirt quilt post there wasn't any tshirts in the photos! Very fun blocks, they are going to make it such an awesome quilt.

  10. Lea says:

    What an original tee-shirt quilt! I love the blocks you've done so far. Maybe something along this line for the fish? http://www.maryquilts.com/fish/ or if you like improv or paper piecing you could make a block with a fishing pole over the water with the sky in the background.

  11. So many fun filler blocks here! I especially love the square in a square blocks you made.

  12. Of course you couldn't just make an on-grid t-shirt quilt… and here I was thinking that I'd finally have made something like the amazing Molli Sparkles! These blocks are coming along beautifully… I can't wait to see the finished project. As for a block suggestion, how about Converging Corners (a Film in the Fridge tutorial)… it's really good for using small pieces! Or Log Cabin… that sounds pretty Oklahoma to me!

  13. Oh, I love where this is going and can't wait to see what you come up with. I'm holding on to my sons little baby clothing and I'm going to wait for you to inspire me before I start!! One of my favorites is the Arkansas Traveler block (i'm a diamond fan) http://www.freshlypieced.com/2011/07/summer-sampler-series-arkansas-traveler.html. Or maybe do some hex shaped blocks a la JayBird Quilts?

  14. Vera says:

    It has some Halloween feeling to it so far. I'm really looking forward your version as all the others left me unimpressed. How about some Broken Herringbones?

  15. Dam, I love the colors in these blocks! How about the Drunkards Path Block or would you rather stick with HST and more straight line blocks. Whatever you decide, we know it's going to be fabulous daalaling.

  16. So looking forward to seeing this quilt finished. Did you ever take photos of the pieces you cut from the t-shirts, to show which pieces you used, to compare with pieces you used from your stash?

  17. Becca says:

    I didn't want to muck up the give-away feed since I'm over here on the other side of the ocean so I thought, hey, I'll just go look at another post and comment over there. Then I get here and fall in love with your colors and your blocks and the fact that you looked at the bare-bones idea and said "bor-ing." I thought I was the only one to say that when I found a quilt that didn't move me. I'm excited about your blocks. Even with a limited palette you're putting together some brilliant blocks that won't be on a gird and will be just a-mazing! I especially like the wonky star. One of my favorite blocks. Do you have Tula Pink's City Sampler? You might find some more inspiration there. Some chevrons might contrast your flying geese.

  18. Leanne says:

    How about some pieced fish (use HSTs), you could paper piece some animals. For regular blocks consider some Ohio stars, triangles, improv Xs, basic 9 patch, I am sure you can think of many more blocks. Improv churn dashes are a favourite of mine, by the way.

  19. Paul Burega says:

    Such perfect blocks. What about some wonky blocks? Wonky 9-patch or wonky stars? Double 9-patch? (9 patch where some of the blocks are 9-patches, or is that recursive 9-patch?)

    does a football shirt quilt rate a snowball block? Any sparkle 0r glitter?

  20. My friend gave me a bunch of sweatshirts a couple years ago to make a quilt. I wish it was t-shirts so I could works some other fabrics in there! Let's just say I am having serious t-shirt quilt envy over here. What about using fabrics to make a plaid or hourglasses? Anything you decided is going to sparkle 🙂

  21. Farm Quilter says:

    This is gonna be one sparklin' quilt!!! How about some French braid in there or some double diamonds that you can make with that special ruler? I've just gotten the ruler and I'm going to try it out today!! Can't wait to see this quilt of your unfold!!

  22. jeifner says:

    How about Shoe Fly 2 from quilters cache. And most of the nature, outdoor fabrics I can think of are green. But there is one fabric at the shop that is outdoor/hunting that has duck silhouettes on water and the water is orange. I'm guessing because its supposed to be sunset? I'm not sure as I've never pulled it out to look at it. But it might just be perfect for this.

  23. Katy Cameron says:

    Um, logs or courthouse steps maybe? I'm generally a block rebel, so pretty useless here! Looking forward to seeing how you perk up the t-shirt quilt, because if you manage it, I might actually brave cutting into my rowing t-shirts from uni…

  24. Kathy says:

    I await your t-shirt masterpiece reveal! It's sure to be spectacular!

  25. Love all those blocks! I am really curious now because I am not a big fan of "traditional" t-shirt quilts, but this one is looking different. How about the Patchwork wheel block (Don't call me Betsy)?

  26. Marti Taylor says:

    Does your brother fly fish or bow hunt? If so feathers might be fun addition. Fly fisherman use feathers to create beautiful lures and commercial hunting arrows have imitation plastic feathers at the end while people who hand make their arrows will use real feathers. Joanna at Shape Moth has a really fantastic free paper pieced feather block, http://shape-moth.blogspot.com/2013/03/feathers-forest-qal.html

  27. I think you need a black/grey improv pieced block. And I also noticed that there isn't a single green piece of fabric in the blocks you've shown us so far… did you decide to leave the hunter green out of the mix of fabrics?

  28. Alphabet blocks. School initials, his jersey number, grad year. Things like that.

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