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T-shirt Quilting Fun

HK
Heidi Kaisand
0:00
Good morning and welcome to create with Heidi. I'm Heidi Kaisand, owner of hen and chicks studio in Conrad, Iowa, and lover of all things creative. Each week here on create with Heidi, we'd like to cover topics that educate and inspire you about how people are being creative, whether it's quilting, scrapbooking, food, wool, or just hanging out with others who seem to have their creative Mojo groovin in all the right directions, we are excited to share these things with you. Each week, I love to start with a quote, The quote I've chosen, which is an anonymous author, is the best things in life are the people we love, the places we've been, and the memories we've made along the way. And I think as we talk today with our guest, Stephanie Unruh, you're going to understand a little bit more about how those people and places and memories can all come together in a T shirt quilt. So good morning, Stephanie. How are you today?
SU
Stephanie Unruh
1:08
I'm doing good. Heidi?
HK
Heidi Kaisand
1:10
Well, good. I'm so glad to have you with us. You and your mother, Liz, own a business called a quilted memory. And why don't you tell us our listeners a little bit about what you do at a quilted memory?
SU
Stephanie Unruh
1:29
Well, at a quilted memory, we do a lot of long arming clubs for people. But we also make t shirt quilts from beginning to end for people as well.
HK
Heidi Kaisand
1:41
And and your services are so needed in so many different ways. Because longarming is the process in which the layers the to quilt top, the batting and the backing all get put together. And we've done we've done whole shows on longer mean that it is a lot of people just prefer to make the tops and then send them to somebody like Stephanie and her mom to put those layers together. Because it's a whole nother whole nother technique, isn't it? Yes. Yes, it is. It is. Absolutely. It's a whole nother skilled stuff. But t shirt quilts is one of the reasons why I wanted you to join me today. Because you and I get to see, I'm going to say both perspectives on this. We have people who come in to the store. And you all should know that Stephanie has been working at hidden chicks studio now for several years. And so she's also sometimes behind the counter. But when people come in, but she's only there one day a week. And so the rest of the time, she's busy doing all these other quilting activities. But t shirt quilts are how do I say this? The it is it's like a, like a memory album, The that that people go on trips, or they participate in events. And then they end up collecting all these t shirts, don't they? Yeah. Yeah, a lot. A lot. And, and I mean, have you have you seen it as we talk about why people might collect t shirts. And with the T shirt quilts that you've been making? Have you seen some interesting themes, like, you know, like any travel, like it's all travelers, anything.
SU
Stephanie Unruh
3:39
We just recently did one, that somebody had t shirts from all of the concerts that they went to, we were able to make that into a quilt for them. A lot of what we do our high school graduations, so all of the activities that the kid has been in, through not even just high school, but Middle School, sometimes, shirts from elementary school or preschool are in there too. So you really get to see somebody's life when you make a quilt for them. Oh, I'm sure. And you know, I actually judged the T shirt quilt contest once at the Iowa State Fair. So that was fun to get to see the different kinds of groupings. And there was one where they had obviously gone to every Harley Davidson dealer in Iowa and had gotten a T shirt and gotten a T shirt and then made the quilt to be the shape of Iowa and put the T shirt where it should be in the state. Does that make sense? You know, so like if it was the Mason City Harley Davidson then it was like where Mason City is in the state of Iowa was pretty cool.
HK
Heidi Kaisand
4:46
Wow. Yeah. Pretty, pretty interesting that way, but, but t shirts. I'm gonna say back to my little quote. It's like their memories for people and They're trying and they're wanting to collect them. And I know I certainly have, we have a whole stack of great IO attract dried t shirts, I should probably just make into a quilt sample at some point. But, but it's interesting how people collect those, those t shirts, and they, maybe they keep wearing them, but maybe they don't maybe they're just wanting to hold on to them. For the sake of the memory, they don't want to let that they don't want to let that memory go. Yeah, yeah. So it's that part is really interesting. Well, what I want to do today is talked a little bit about, again, both sides of the table, those who come into the shop, and want to make a T shirt quilt, and those who have T shirts and want a quilt made, because there's a difference between those two things, making it yourself or having somebody else make it. And we're gonna take a quick commercial break, and then we're going to come back and we're going to talk more about that.
HK
Heidi Kaisand
6:02
Welcome back to create with Heidi, this is Heidi Kaisand. And I'm with Stephanie Unruh of a quilted memory and a fellow staff member at hen and chicks studio. And we are talking about t shirt quilts. So I think probably everybody that's listening, Stephanie probably has t shirts once you guess, I would imagine, as I say at least a few. And I would say probably more people that are listening, have T shirts that they think would be cool to be in a quilt, but they don't know how to go about it. So I'd like to talk about a little bit about what where do you start, like, for example, as I'm sorting through my closet, how many t shirts can go into a T shirt quilt? I mean, should I be saving? Should I be sorting out and keeping every single t shirt? Or? Or is there a limit as to how many t shirts might go into a T shirt quilt? Well, you can certainly use as many of you want. I guess it depends on how big you want the T shirt quilt to be and how you want to lay out the T shirt quilt.
SU
Stephanie Unruh
7:15
My mom and I like to do this collage style quilt where all of the blocks are different sizes. In which case you can have a lot of shirts because some of the box will be very tiny if you have a little logo from the front of the shirt that can fill in spots, you know, and sometimes that's all there is from a shirt is just a tiny little logo, you can still save that shirt. And it doesn't take up a lot of space in the quilt so you have room for more. That is awesome. How many t shirts like in when you talk about a collage quilt? Do you know like, what's the maximum number of T shirts you've ever used in a collage quilt?
HK
Heidi Kaisand
7:54
Well, my older sister does a lot of triathlons and travels a lot. And for Christmas, we took one of her stacks of shirts, and made her Oh, I think it was a king size quilt. We probably use like 70 shirts in that club. Wow. So you can get a lot, you can get a lot of shirts, and especially if you're wanting something big, or if you just want to clean out all of the T shirts that you haven't worn in a while or all the ones you've been saving around. You don't have to say, Oh, I just you know, need 20 quilts, or 20 blocks for this quote, you can you could use a lot. Get them all out. And if somebody says, oh, I've only got three or four t shirts, but they're special t shirts, does that work?
HK
Heidi Kaisand
8:41
It does, it kind of depends on what you want, I guess we could still do a collage style we could put some borders on, it could just be a fun little wall hanging that you could, you know, hang in your office have all of your favorite shirts or just it depends on what you want to do with it too, or how you want to dress it up, should cut all the blocks the same size and put a special border around each one and make it a little bigger that way if you wanted it a little bit bigger. Sure. And maybe we should talk a little bit more about the collage style and try to describe that as I'm thinking. For us. We I know immediately what we're talking about. But how would you describe a collage t shirt quilt to somebody like is it looks like I don't know, I guess maybe a puzzle it all the blocks are all we base all of the sizes on a four inch grid essentially. So some of the blocks are four inch by four inch and some of the blocks are 16 inches by 16 inches, or any combination in between four inches by 16 inches. So they're all kind of long and kind of huddled in into the middle. We always think of it as putting together a puzzle when we're trying to put one together. We cut out all the blocks and then we have to kind of lay it out and rearrange until everything fits. Just Right.
HK
Heidi Kaisand
10:01
Yes. And, and that is, I MSA very interesting compared to some of the, there are some companies that like you can send your T shirts off to, and it will literally be all the blocks will be all the same size no matter what the T shirt design. How do I want say that whatever it doesn't fit. So like say for example, they say all the all the squares are going to be 15 inches. Well, if the logo on your T shirt only takes up a couple of inches, you're gonna have a big t shirts, blank space, if you want to call it that. Compared to a collage quilt you are saying you might cut out that logo and fit it in differently so that it has more interest in it in the quilt.
SU
Stephanie Unruh
10:53
Absolutely, yeah. And then we can also take things if you have a long sleeve shirt that had something really fun written down the sleeve, we can take that off of there. Or if you had a pair of sweat pants, you know that had something fun written on the leg. Instead of trying to make that into a 15 inch block where there's not enough fabric. If we cut it out with our collage style, then you can still preserve all the fun parts of shirts too. It's not just whatever was on the front or the back that kind of fits into that. 15 inches or whatever. Sure. Are there any t shirts that like you can't work with?
HK
Heidi Kaisand
11:29
I mean, because when I say that T shirts come in a variety of fabric choices these days, it's not just Oh, it's 100% cotton t shirt with a, you know, logo on it. Sometimes they're embroidered, sometimes they're vinyl, sometimes it's ink. I'm probably saying the right word heat pressed. I mean, there's different different things. Is there? Are there any t shirts you can't work with?
SU
Stephanie Unruh
11:57
I'm not sure if there are any that we can't work with. We've done jerseys, we've done all kinds of different materials. sweatshirts are fine. There's, you know, I, I'm sure there's a limit to what we can work with. But we can work with a lot of stuff, even things that are stained or have small holes in them. I think big holes might be more of a problem. But even you know, a few small holes, if it's something that you loved, and you ordered a lot. You know, we can work with that. Yes, I'm afraid to say that if Henry pulled his some of his t shirts out that I was going to try to make a quilt I think we'd have to say that some of those will no longer work well, because he's worn them to death literally.
HK
Heidi Kaisand
12:38
But are there Have there been some interesting t shirts that you've worked with, like you, you know, that presented you any challenges anything different that way?
SU
Stephanie Unruh
12:50
Sometimes we get like ones with a V neck that were the logos right up high next to the V and we try to cut it out and maybe fill in that V neck area. So that you can still have that on the block that bed. Or sometimes we've had shirts where people have signed it like senior year shirts, and they're all up the shoulder and all over. And we've done our best to try and save all of that because that's the part that's special. The part that you want to remember. So we do our best to get everything that's fun or memorable off of a shirt. But yes, sometimes it's challenging.
HK
Heidi Kaisand
13:28
Oh, I'm sure. And when you're when somebody is collecting their quilt or collecting their t shirts and thinking about what they would want to put in a quilt, is there any preparation that you recommend for people like if they say I'm going to I'm going to have a T shirt quilt made? What do they need to do before they come to talk to you?
SU
Stephanie Unruh
13:54
Well definitely wash the shirts, make sure they're clean. The other thing we would say is not to cut the shirts. That way, we can make sure that we have enough space to cut out what we need from the shirt. But also maybe prioritizing if you have shirts that are more important if you know volleyball was your child's favorite sport, even though they did every sport. If you prioritize the ones that that are most special, we can put those in a spot that where you would see it the most, usually the middle up towards the top, especially if it's going to be on a bed. Then we put those where you would see them the most.
HK
Heidi Kaisand
14:34
Yeah, so prior Yeah, and absolutely don't cut your T shirts. That's probably if there's any warning like red light flashing warning going on. Whether you're going to make your own or whether you're going to send them out. That's probably the biggest mistake I've seen is that people think they're doing themselves a favor and like just cutting out the part they want and What they don't realize is that minute that fabric is cut, it rolls and does other strange things, doesn't it? You know, nobody can describe it and it becomes difficult to put interfacing on the back, because every t shirt has to have some type of interfacing on it in order to to hold its shape better.
SU
Stephanie Unruh
15:23
Yeah
HK
Heidi Kaisand
15:23
so that is definitely what that were, you know, what I'm gonna say red, red warning, red light warning. So, so with that, you know, red white light warning, we're going to go into a commercial break. And when we come back, we'll talk more about t shirt quotes.
HK
Heidi Kaisand
15:42
Welcome back to create with Heidi, this is Heidi Kaisand from hen and chicks studio. And I'm having fun chatting with Stephanie Unruh. She's not only a staff member at hen and chicks studio, you'll currently find her in the shop every Tuesday. But she also runs a business with her mother called a quilted memory. And that has both long arming services, professional long armed services as well as t shirt making services. And when I started the show, I was saying that we both see this from different sides of the table. We've been talking a lot about, you know, if somebody has those t shirts, and wants to have a quilt made from them, you're yourself services at occulted memory are exactly what they're looking for, aren't they? Yeah. And for people, because there's probably some people, but how do you I know you, I know you're great at talking individually with each customer about what they want, and all of that. But do you have any general rules of thumb of like what it might cost somebody to make to have a T shirt quilt made for them?
SU
Stephanie Unruh
17:00
What we do is we charge by essentially the perimeter of the quilt. So however big quilt is, that's basically what it costs. So like if you had, you know, four inch by four inch, you add the four sides, that would be $16, whatever. So kind of depending on how big you would want, then you could kind of figure out I guess what the cost might be for that. Usually between two to $300. Yeah. And that's probably lap size. Yeah, in there. Because Do you think that there is a limit? You said you just made it king size? Does that get a little heavy?
SU
Stephanie Unruh
18:07
We try to avoid that. Okay, it's very difficult to try and line things up and get things to come out. Right? And Yep, with all the extra seams and stuff. So, yes, there are some things that are just left better to the imagination like that, then then the actually trying to do them and I get that. So the other part of this is that we see at hidden chicks studio customers who come in with their t shirts, and they want to make their own t shirt quilt. And I always think it's interesting that a lot of times it is
HK
Heidi Kaisand
18:45
I'm gonna say maybe not their first sewing project, but they might not be avid quilters. And but they have somebody who's graduating from high school. I think that's so often what brings them in, and they want to make that T shirt quilt as a gift for somebody once you say that would probably be what they're what they're coming in for. Yeah, that would be the thing that we do well, with most often. So yeah, yes. And so we're always glad anybody walks in the store for any, any topic. We're glad to help you. But I've actually created a little class. That is how to make a T shirt quilt. And it literally is just, I'm in a call say at a conversation it there's no how to. Like there's no hands on sewing. But there are so many different little details. Some of them we've already started to talk about like that you don't you don't start to cut your T shirts until everything is fused an interface so we go over things like what interfacings to use and and how to do that and and then you You have a very specific plan, you've talked about this grid. And, and again, you kind of have to have an idea of what the T shirts look like, and what the quilts gonna look like. Because there's a lot of measuring involved once you say, yeah, absolutely a lot of measuring involves Yes, and, and I always suggest a stack of sticky notes. This is one of the things like you're gonna, you're gonna use pieces of paper, and you're going to pin them to the T shirts, and you're going to write down sizes, and you're going to do all of these things, before you ever cut to anything or stitch anything. Because you got to have that plan before you get too far in that you don't know you know what you're doing. So I wanted to let everybody know that we have a virtual class, I'm still doing it virtually only because I know there's people outside of Conrad that want to do this. And sometimes getting to Conrad is difficult, especially if you're out of state. And so we're holding a virtual quilt class on May 17, at 7pm. That will walk you through the steps of how to make a T shirt quilt. So if if you say, you know, you're glad that there's Stephanie's out there that Stephanie is out there for everybody who you know, doesn't want to quilt it but doesn't want to do any part of the process, but you want to make the top and you want to do that part of the process. Then we walk those customers through the steps, I have a favorite book that is part of the class registration, as well as a couple free patterns that we hand out, that help describe the different kinds of quilts that you can make. And so that is you can you can sign