Saturday, December 22, 2012

The Most Amazing Quilt

Matthew got a lot of Hanukkah presents this year-- one or two for each night--but I'll admit that not all of them were winners (On the first night, I got him an alarm clock to put on my side of the bed, and told him the gift was that he would no longer have to turn off his alarm for me! Clever wifey, indeed!)  But one gift has been a long time in the making and was the star of the festivities.

And every star needs a dramatic unveiling. We invited a couple of wonderful friends over for latkes with all the fixin's (I had to make the applesauce, as it is not a commercial product here dispite the fact that lots of apples are grown in the UK... what's up with that? But I digress). Anyway, we drank bubbly, lit the candles, gorged ourselves on all things oily and sweet (the hallmarks of Hanukkah) and then Matthew got his prize...

...the most amazing quilt!

Over the summer, when we were going through all of our worldly possessions and deciding what to bring across the pond, we came across a lot of stuff that we couldn't bear to part with, but didn't really want to store in a box for years... Matt had a collection of tee shirts that dated all the way back to his high school days. Momentos of concerts, sports, travel and school. Shirts he either couldn't or wouldn't wear ever again but that still meant something to him.

I asked him if he'd like a quilt made of these special shirts and he was all about it. I looked online and found a few sites that made some cheesy looking t-shirt quilts. Ones without any real quilting or fabric borders (basically just the shirts sewn together- not quite what I had in mind). But on Etsy I found exactly what I was looking for... Jane Haworth from Happy Quilt Designs. Her quilts seemed so well crafted. I messaged her with a ton of questions and she was really great answering them all (i.e.- could you ship the finished quilt to Scotland?) So, I took the scissors to the shirts Matt had chosen... Cutting out the best bits,

because they were not all usable!

I mailed off all the bits to Jane (in California) and told her only two things- the first was that I really liked the look of patchwork quilts, where nothing really lines up perfectly and it looks like a big cozy hodgepodge. The second was that I thought Matt would prefer more traditional-looking prints when it came to the border fabric. She took these two points to heart and then added lots of her own creative vision. Before stitching it all together though, she sent me a photo with it all laid out. I loved it! 

Soon after, I got another email from Jane telling me that the quilt was finished! She was placing a patch on the back and I could include a message if I'd like. This was the hardest part for me. A message?! I took days (maybe even weeks?) trying to come up with something that would live eternally on this wonderful quilt. A little love note? A lyric from one of Matt's favorite songs? A quote? Just... For Matthew? Oh man. I totally over thought about it. Until I picked something silly and cute and emailed it off to Jane before I could change my mind again. With the "message" complete, she could send us the quilt.

I took a peak as soon as it arrived, it was so soft and pretty! I wanted to put it on the couch right away (you can always use another blanket in Scotland!) but I saved giving it to Matt until the Hanukkah party. He loved it-- seeing some of his favorite memories all stitched together! And he took a long while looking closely at all the detailed quilting. Because Jane didn't just sew the shirts together with extra fabric, she quilted around each shirt's design.

And the message I chose? I went for a little tidbit from Shel Silverstein... 

So Happy Hanukkah my dear! May you be cozy and warm in your shirt quilt for many Hanukkahs to come!

(our famous Nessie the Loch Ness Monster menorah)
And Thank you Jane Haworth! You made a beautiful quilt that we will get lots of use from. It is so much nicer than just stashing away a box of shirts that we'll never see again. Thanks for emailing me along the way, being patient when I take forever to get back to you, and for sending it to us overseas! It is already a household favorite, as you can see--

And just so you know, this is not a sponsored post or anything. I just really love the quilt Jane made for us and if it sounds like I am trying to tell you that they make the best gifts and that you all should order one... then you're right. Because they do, and you should. You'll love it. I promise!


  1. I am so glad you all love the quilt, it will have a happy life. I love to make unique quilts with individual stories, Jane

  2. I've considered doing this before but actually just threw out all the shirts instead (ha!)

    Anyway, as an American living in Edinburgh for years it's interesting seeing our city from your pov :)

  3. This is so completely wonderful, and so YOU. Thoughtful!