Monday, 27 February 2012

.For the Kings.

When I picked up this big pile of tshirts from Lisa, I was a little nervous.  So worried that I would make a mistake and stuff it up.  These tshirts are extra special.  I couldn't just go out and buy some more if I did something wrong.  They belonged to her dear husband, Aaron, who passed away last month.
Along with feeling nervous, I was so happy that Lisa trusted me enough to cut them up and make something special for her.

So, off I went with a bag full of tshirts and I knew straight away what I was going to do with them.  You can probably tell from the shirts that Aaron had two big passions - sport and music.  All of the shirts had big prints of them so I kept the quilt really simple and cut out big squares from each one, making sure that I kept the focus on the tshirts and not on the design of the quilt.  
The tshirt blocks ended up being 16" square - finished quilt 80" square.  I used a lovely brown linen for the sashing.  Before sewing everything together, I ironed on a light-weight interfacing to the back of each square.  It made a massive difference in the way the knit fabric behaved and made it much easier to work with.  
Lisa had seen a few sneek pics of the quilt along the way and I wanted to do something a little extra to surprise her.  When I'd finished piecing the top, I showed Jaron and he made the comment that the tshirt squares looked like old record album covers (which seemed very fitting as Aaron had a big collection of old records!) it made me think about musicians and signatures and I thought it would be really cool if I could get a copy of Aaron's signature and embroider it onto the front of the quilt somewhere.  Detective Simone paid a visit to the office of the school where Aaron worked and got hold of a letter he had written and signed.  I enlarged it on the photocopier then drew it onto the quilt and embroidered it with chain stitch.  The whole time I was nervous that it was a "dodgy" signature but luckily Lisa recognised it as soon as she saw it - phew!!
 
Sarah Fraser from Patchwork Plus did an awesome job with the quilting.  We decided to go with a straight-line square design for the quilting as it complimented the squares in the quilt.  Sarah's work is impeccable and she got the whole thing finished in 2 days!!!  This is the first time I have ever had a quilt professionally quilted and was thrilled with the results.  If you're looking for a good professional quilter - get in contact with her!
I worked on binding the quilt and embroidering the signature last week and yesterday was able to give it to Lisa...
I don't know how she has been able to bear the last month of her life with her head held high and accepting all of the change that has taken place.  She truly is an amazing woman, and has taught me so much in this short space of time. 
 
When I picked up the tshirts from Lisa, we got each of her boys to choose their favourite shirt to be made into something special also.

Jalen choose to have his made into a cushion - I love how it turned out...perfect for an almost teenager:
Harrison and Kobe each wanted a blanket.  I wasn't sure how I was going to do this with just one tshirt and decided to buy some pre-made blankets and applique the tshirts to the front. 
I like the way that the original shape of the shirts has been retained so that hopefully they can more easily picture their Dad wearing them.
I know that nothing can "fix" the hurt that these guys are feeling now.  But I'm hoping that these keepsakes can help give them something to cuddle and snuggle under and remind them of all the special times they were blessed to spend with their husband and father.  

Love you guys so much and I know that Aaron and Noah will always be by your side, until you meet again. xxx
 

34 comments:

The Kings said...

We love it and the boys special things soooo much Tone. Thank you so much. I can't even imagine how much work went into it. It's so nice to be able to snuggle under it and know that Aaron is close by us. We love it and we love you!

Lisha said...

That is one of the most beautiful and meaningful gifts I have ever seen. How wonderful that you could create such a memorable quilt for the Lisa and her boys Toni.

I love how the t-shirts do look like record covers.

Lisha

Alison said...

It is absolutely incredible, Toni (and Sarah!)

And how gorgeous does Lisa look in these photos?! I bet most people who lose their husbands look like hobos for months, but Lisa is perhaps more beautiful than ever! What a showoff!

Jan-Maree said...

What a lucky family to have a friend such as you! I love it!

L!$@ said...

Oh Toni you did a fantastic job!! The signature was the best touch :D You are so talented!

Rebecca said...

wowowow!! the quilt is amazing - it look even better and feels so nice to touch too _ I am sure LIsa will love snuggling under it (and the boys too!) love the boys dady blankets and cushion too. You are the best cousin ever xxx

VickiT said...

Wow I am just amazed. You are so talented and what a wonderful idea to make this quilt. It is beautiful. Something very special for them to have.

Susanne said...

What a wonderfully touching post, and what a wonderful job you did on the t-shirt quilt. My daughter has brought me bags of them from all her races and marathons and I feel like you did, afraid to plunge in and possibly do some damage. I need to just get over it and get started. My condolences to your friend. I am sure she has suffered greatly through her losses. I am also sure that the quilt will brighten her days of the good memories when her husband wore his favorite shirts.
(((HUGS))) Susanne :)

Lotti said...

That is just the most beautiful gift. How totally awesome to have all those T-Shirts made into a quilt. What a lovely Memory to have .... so special.

♥Cari♥ said...

Oh my gosh! Everything is beautiful!!

Sue said...

What a wonderful gift you have given them all!

=)

Us Three and Daisy B said...

I don't know The Kings, nor you, but just have to say that this is one of the most amazing ideas and gifts ever! I can't even begin to imagine what the family is going through. My heart goes out to them and think your talent and great gift to them will keep Aaron close to them all. Great work!

Anonymous said...

Hallo Toni
I just want to tell you that I have never seen such beautiful pieces of artwork before. You are a wonderful person and artist.
Greetings from Switzerland Brigitte

Carli said...

It worked out better than imagined. It says Aaron all over, I bet HE wishes he were here to snuggle under too!!

shirlgirl said...

What a beautiful remembrance of Aaron for Lisa and the boys. You did an amazing job on the quilt, blankets, and cushion. I'm sure they will feel Aaron's closeness with this quilt, new blankets, and cushion. I also loved how you copied his signature. Great job! (I'm from Jamaica Plain, Massachusetts, USA)

Toni :O) said...

I've been following the Kings story for just the past few weeks and my heart breaks for them. I had to click over to see more details on this gorgeous quilt-what a lovely and meaningful gift!!! That and since I have the same name as you (there aren't many of us Toni's in the world you know!) and I saw he had a Michigan t-shirt (my hubby went there!) and we live in Farmington Hills, MI, I just had to comment. Lisa is blessed to have you as a friend! God bless you!

The Coull Family said...

The quilt looks amazing Toni! Such a beautiful idea x

Melissa said...

What a thoughtful gift Toni. I'm sure they will treasure it forever.

Rachael said...

What a beautiful idea, this look s fantastic, memories to last forever

Penny B. said...

Awesome Toni! What a great way to keep Aaron close. I love how they all turned out.

Debbie said...

You did an excellent job. And you made it so fast. Sarah quilted it very nicely. The pattern is perfect for the quilt. And the signature was a great idea. Well done. I'm sure they will all be treasured for years to come.

Delightful Domestic Science said...

So in love with this.
You have such a kind heart Toni.
xx
Holly

Naomi Olson said...

Wonderful job... such a warmhearted gift that will keep good memories alive.

Rebecca said...

I am blown away by this amazing gift you have given. So many memories and love in those t-shirts. I love the signature, very moving.

Amy said...

I too am blown away by the quilt you made for Lisa. What an enormously loving and special gift you have given her and the boys. As I said on Lisa's blog. Just WOW!

I imagine this gift will be among the most treasured and loved items in the King household for many, MANY years to come.

Clares Place said...

It looks fantastic! You did such an awesome job Toni (and Sarah)! I saw Kobe holding his special blanket up in such a way it looked like he was wearing the t-shirt. Too cute. xxx

Kathy said...

Oh Toni, what wonderful gifts you have created for Lisa and the boys :)

Stephanie said...

Beautiful

Anonymous said...

Toni, the quilt looks great... I even recognise one of the shirts from time we spent with Aaron when Hugh was blessed. Lisa looks so pleased with it, I can't imagine how much something like that would mean to all of them, especially on really hard days throughout so many years to come missing him.
So glad she had you to ask and trust with something so meaningful and special!
Scarlett

Louisa said...

What a beautiful quilt.

Anonymous said...

Hi Toni, the items are perfect, I am impressed with all of the things you made, it is obvious they are made with great thought and love,I am so happy Lisa has such wonderful friends and family around her. x

Amelia said...

It turned out perfectly Toni!! What a wonderful touch putting Aaron's signature on it. I'm sure Lisa and the boys will gain a lot of comfort from snuggling with the quilt/blankets/cushion etc and most importantly knowing that they have a cousin that loves them enough to make it for them!!

Sarah said...

WOW!! Everything turned out wonderful Toni! Such beautiful gifts for the whole family. Well done! And, thanks for letting me be a part of such a special gift.
x Sarah
PS: Thanks SO much for my gorgeous necklaces xx

Anonymous said...

What an awesome thing you did for her.
This is my favorite t-shirt quilt I have seen.
Thanks for sharing!!

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