Ruth shared lessons she drew from creating her granddaughter’s T-shirt quilt near the end of the process:
“For five days I cut up a dozen of my granddaughter’s T-shirts, ironed on pellon, cut the shirts to various size squares and rectangles, sewed them together, ironed seams to lay flat, shopped with my friend Jeanne for border and backing fabric, put it into the quilt frame, knotted it together, and took it out of the frame so that my dear friend Jeanne could take it home to put on the border for me.
She taught me how to do the corners professionally; and now all that remains is to hand stitch the border to the back. As I made this t-shirt quilt, I realized I am more of a perfectionist when it comes to writing and editing than I am with my sewing! I had to stop and measure, recalculate, remeasure, refigure, and measure again, before cutting, trying to remember the carpenter’s dictum: Measure twice, cut once.
Only once did I mess up my measuring, but that meant I had to cut a few other pieces to adjust to the now 12 ½” piece mis-cut, as compared to the neighboring ones that were 13”. When I sewed together two pieces of fabric for the back of the quilt, I had this sinking feeling it wasn’t long enough, so on a Sunday night I sent a frantic text message to Jeanne, and told her the problem, asking, “What to do!?” She called right away and said she had figured how much fabric I needed, but that the seam would go crosswise instead of lengthwise, which is acceptable in quilting circles, and she assumed I would know that, and that she did it to save me buying more fabric.
Quilters have intuition which I do not have! So my anxiety was allayed. Jeanne met me at my church the next morning so we could put my quilt into a quilt frame and we knotted it as much as we could before I had to leave. She then took it home to sew on the border. Then I drove from Goshen to her house in Shipshewana for a sewing lesson on mitered corners. I hope I remember what I learned in that lesson for next year when I make granddaughter, Tessa’s T-shirt quilt for her high school graduation!
Now I have this huge fear when I show my finished work to professional seamstresses, that they will see that a few corners do not match perfectly; they will notice there is just a tiny bit too much fullness in one square, which means it wasn’t cut perfectly, or I did not sew it squarely, or some other reason, unbeknownst to me.
I keep reminding myself that Leah will love this quilt, and won’t care about the imperfections.”