When Chip’s wife, Kate, first contacted me to discuss making memorial quilts for Chip’s children, she assured me that I would love the collection of shirts she was sending because Chip was “a total fashionista”. What she didn’t add was that Chip also had excellent taste and a bold eye for color. The shipment of expertly laundered and folded shirts arrived with a virtual rainbow of colors to choose from – a designer’s heaven in a box.
Kate loved the idea of a custom tartan design made with three color combinations, one for each quilt. This also gave me a way to divide the plethora of shirts into distinctive color families.
Interpreting my designs into working schematics takes methodical thinking on a good day, but the planning on these three quilts was especially tricky due to the complexity of the design and the number of shirts I was dealing with.
I had to work one at a time so I didn’t get too confused on which pieces went where for which quilt.
It really isn’t until I start laying out the pieces that I begin to get a glimpse of the quilt’s flavor. This element of surprise is one of my favorite moments of the whole process.
Smaller sections of these tartans could easily be mini quilts in their own right.
Given the number of stripes and plaids in the mix, the solid shirts became important places for visual rest and borders.
It’s fun finding the places to insert the small embroideries like this polo player.
Pinning is crucial to accurately line up sections in these tartan quilts.
My 1/4″ seam guide is my best friend.
Here is the completed Chip’s Tartan 1, followed by a few details. I especially like how the spiral quilting interacts with the overall quilt design.
For the second quilt, I was ready to add in some warm jewel tones and a butter yellow accent.
Had to get the polo guy in there, too.
Here is Chip’s Tartan 2, followed by details.
I waited until the final quilt to include this bold purple stripe, mixed with many of the green-hued shirts.
And the polo guy…
Here is the third and final quilt in the series, Chip’s Tartan 3, followed by details.
A true challenge with bold, cheerful, colorful results. Many thanks to Kate and her family for bringing lightness and humor to this amazing project.