The T-Shirt Quilt for My Son’s Graduation

What kid doesn’t have a mile-high collection of t-shirts? 


Usually, these tees are a visual history of the things, places and activities deepest in the hearts of our children, a record more true than any trophy or scrapbook.

Like many mothers, I decided that making a tee shirt quilt for my son would be a perfect high school graduation gift. Although I’m a pretty confident quilter and have practiced the craft since the late ‘80s, it somehow made me queasy to cut into these treasures. Plus, I had no experience working with stretchy t-shirts. And a tight deadline.

So I hired a pro from my local guild, Sandy Merritt, and gave her very explicit instructions. I knew which tees I wanted to feature, and where, and what fabric I wanted to use between them. He was totally nuts for trucks as a toddler, but I thought 2 truck shirts was enough. I also wanted to include some embroidered patches, like the one he got for reading extra books for the library’s summer reading program.


My son really loved this gift, and we’re going to hang it over his bed now. Partly because these quilts go back to toddlerhood, he’s not interested in taking this to college. I told him if ever stops wearing all his high school theater tees, I’ll make the next quilt myself!

I wanted to share this because I’m so happy about how it came out, and to encourage others to try this.


TIP: if you are collecting tee shirts for a future quilt, let me pass on some advice. Store all the shirts carefully, and in a place you won’t forget as the years roll by. Sandy Merritt adds that you should NEVER store them in a dark plastic bag: not only will that lack of air cause them to deteriorate, but she knows a mother who diligently saved tee shirts for years in such a fashion. Until the day her husband decided to help clean up clutter around the house, and assumed the garbage bag was full of …. Garbage. 


Take My Workshop on July 20 on Quilt Photography

The nonprofit Quilt Alliance will host a terrific one-day conference outside of Washington, D.C. on July 20 called “Not Fade Away,” about documenting quilts using tech tools and social media.


I’ve been working with others on the board to put this workshop together for months, and we’re so excited to be able to offer the tickets now. For a real bargain price ($45 for Alliance members, $55 for nonmembers) you will get a full day of lectures and hands-on workshops, plus a breakfast reception and box lunch, plus a ticket to see the biannual Sacred Threads exhibit, which will occupy the same venue.



A lot of major players in all aspects of quilting will be here, from Alliance board members to quilting legends like Jinny Beyer, to an entire panel of A-list curators. You’ll learn a lot, and have a great time. 


Click here to get loads more information about the conference, and buy your tickets online. Honestly, we expect a lot of these workshops to fill up, so you would be smart to register soon. Attendees can choose their favorite workshops, and the Alliance staff will enroll them in two, one for the morning and another for the afternoon. 


Here is a description of my workshop:

Taking Better Photos of Your Quilts with Meg Cox
Meg Cox will provide quilters and quilt collectors with loads of tips and tricks. She’ll talk about lighting and placement, how best to hang a quilt for photography, and the difference between the requirements for online and print publications. Expect many examples of excellent quilt shots by famous quilters and photographers, along with some amateur “failures” (Meg will share a few of her own.)  An important part of documenting your quilts, for any use– including preserving the image for museums, historical societies and resources like the online Quilt Index— is taking a crisp and clean photograph showing both the entire quilt, and important highlights. There will be handouts, and a chance to play with some of the concepts covered: feel free to bring a smartphone or a digital camera to the workshop to try some different techniques, but this is not required.


I’m hoping to see you there!!!!

Looking Back: A Review of 2012

 I was inspired by my friend Leslie Tucker Jenison, who posted a wonderful series of photographs about  her year. This made me realize that while there were many challenges in 2012 for me and mine, there was alo a great deal of joy and beauty. 

 March: Quilt Alliance board meeting in Nashville, here w/exec director Amy Milne. Due to a hurriance, we were evacuated early!


Spring Break: the first of many college visits with my son, Max. Here he is at Amherst.

Work-in-progress: a house quilt for the Hun School gala.

For my birthday in mid-March, I visited the Museum of Art & Design in NYC…

And had lunch with my dear friend Wendy Kwitny.

April: Another trip to NYC, for the opening of an art show with quilts by the fabulous Luke Haynes. Here I am with another Alliance board member, novelist Marie Bostwick.

Grounds for Sculpture is one of the BEST culture treasures of New Jersey.

I went with Gerry DeGeorge, an awesome woman who is married to my husband’s cousin.

June: Yippeee! A book launch party for the revised edition of The Book of New Family Traditions. 

July: A Pasta Potluck lunch on the deck with some girlfriends, all in my magical yoga class.

More college visits: here at Brown in Providence, Rhode Island. A reach school.


August: Quilt Alliance board meeting in Nebraska, where we had a wondrous add-on trip to Lincoln, to visit the spectacular International Quilt Study Center. Curator Marin Hanson is on our board.

So many great family memories and sunsets at the Jersey Shore!!!

Good eats, too.


September: Quilters Take Manhattan 2.0 was another awesome Alliance event. Here I am with one of our keynote celebs, Denyse Schmidt.

The room was crowded, and the crowd was pumped!

I had two surgeries in September, figuring I might as well pile on the misery to make it shorter. But it was more intense that way. Here with stitches from Mohs surgery to remove skin cancer on my forehead.

Daily walks were part of my “therapy,” and I tried to fashion them into a compelling ritual to increase the likelihood of completion.

October: my recovery weeks were punctuated by a quick trip to LA, to tape a TV segment on Thanksgiving traditions. Here a shot of the hipster hotel they put me up in, close to Santa Monica’s glorious beach.

Late October/early November: Hurricane Sandy is definitely one of the more memorable events of the year. Here we are trying to eat up the ice cream when the power went out. Who knew it would be out an entire week and then some!

December: all year long, I continued to write for multiple magazines and newsletters, often about quilts. Here is one of my favorite quilts of the year, about which I wrote a story for the December issue of The Quilt Life. This is called “infinite Gratitude,” and it is a red and white Dear Jane quilt made for quilt collector Joanna Rose by her niece (with help). Rose’s collection of red and white quilts was displayed at the Park Avenue armory in NYC last year, in the much-buzzed about Infinite Variety show.

To end the year, a sweet photo of my grand babe Lucy (who calls me Queen), at her parents’ home in DC. She is here with darling Luna, a dog owned by my husband’s ex-wife. 

Happy New Year to all!!!! I hope you will check back to this blog occasionally to see how my 2013 is going.