Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Christmas Job...Labor of Love

Well, it is now 2013 and all the Christmas packages are delivered and opened.  So now I can talk about what I was doing in November and December. I had a Christmas job which involved dissecting about 30 Tee shirts, making blocks out of them and placing the blocks in a Quilt. It was suppose to be ONE quilt but my friends sent me so many shirts, it began to multiply and before I knew it, it became three.  The tee shirts were Justin Grabowski's shirts. Justin was the son of Rick and Ivy Grabowski.
Rick, Ivy and Justin

They became my best friends in 1981 when Ivy and I began to work together at StorageTek in Phoenix, Arizona. And through that relationship, I met another friend, Karen, Rick’s sister and Justin’s Aunt.  We lost Ivy to cancer 10 years ago in April...  and then Justin.in 2010. So hard to believe.

This quilt was a labor of love.  Karen and I had talked about this project for sometime.  Last winter I had the chance to go to Phoenix and while I was there, I had dinner with Karen.  It was SO good to see her and we both needed it!  It was a special evening.  And she promised that evening that she would get with Rick and they would go through Justin's shirts and send me some.

Well, about three weeks later a box showed up on my door step.  It was an electronics box and my husband thought for sure I had ordered something for him!  When I saw the return address, I knew what the box was.  I had several other projects already in the works so the box sat unopened for several months while I got caught up.  Before I knew it it was fall, and I thought I better get going on this project so I can get it done for Christmas...

In early October I started taking apart the shirts, removing all the fronts and some of the sleeves. I left as much of the shirt fabric as I could since I still did not know what size block I could make out of each of these shirts.  Karen stated that they(she and Rick) had trouble trying to figure out what shirts to send so they sent extra!  "Oh what a great idea" I thought... "DON'T send any back", she said..."It was all I could do to get Rick to go through them once."  So immediately I planned to not have any left to send back. I am of the opinion that quilts are very hard to share.  Everyone has to have one of their own.  So with that in mind, three quilts it is and that is that.    

Justin was a BMX bike rider when he was young so I found the perfect BMX fabric for the borders.  After looking at all the shirts and the colors, I went in search of fabric for sashes.  I decided on light gray for Heidi's, orange for Ricks and black for Karen's.  Not all the shirts were tee shirts.  There was a cotton button down shirt with an embroidered back and an interesting knit shirt from Las Vegas. 

Heidi's Quilt
Heidi's was the first one completed.  Then Rick's and finally Karen's.... 

Rick's Quilt

Karen's Quilt

And here are a couple of the photos from Karen taken the day they opened the box with the quilts. Karen was expecting one quilt and was very surprised to find three. 

Rick opening the box

Heidi's Quilt
Heidi's Quilt - Justin's Embrace
Rick's Quilt - Born to Ride
Karen's Quilt - Auntie Karen's Hug
 So now you have it...This was my Christmas project. I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did.

Happy sewing,