The Harley Quilt

Happy New Year! I hope you had a wonderful holiday season and a great start to the new year. For me, it's been back to work and busy since January 2. I want to share a quilt that was completed and delivered to the customer at the end of last month. 

I received a call from Jim wanting a quilt made from his Harley Davidson t-shirts. As a Harley rider, each shirt holds a special memory for him of road trips and friendships. I had no time to piece a quilt, in addition to the quilting, with three active teenagers at home, including the twins who are getting ready to go to college. So I called Lisa Redmond (who I've blog-mentioned here, here and here) to partner with me on this quilt. I think Lisa is an extremely talented quilter and I've enjoyed partnering with her on projects. She constantly amazes me with the ideas she comes up with for quilts.

We used fabric from Tula Pink's Halloween-themed Nightshade line, more specifically the Spider Blossom and Raven Lace patterns. Even better, it was post-Halloween on sale at Sew Modern. The Nightshade fabrics were an ideal choice for the themed quilt. The dark grays and muted lavendar of the Eveningshade colorway, and the pattern designs with subtle skulls and crossbones, lightning bolts and cobwebs were perfect for a masculine Harley quilt, yet not over the top like a giant tattoo. We also included a Michael Miller print, Tiny Houndstooth in grey. The houndstooth gave the quilt a little retro Route 66 feeling. And the last fabric we used was from Aneela Hoey's "a walk in the woods" collection for Moda. It is a coral-colored near solid with little dashed white circles. This fabric picked up, and was nearly the same, as the Harley orange.


Lisa used every part of the shirt, from sleeve graphics to pockets. She even loved the woven labels and appliqued them to the front of the shirts. The difficulty Lisa ran into when piecing the quilt is the art/designs for Harley t-shirts are large and take up a lot of landscape opposed to other t-shirts. So in order for Lisa to get the amount of blocks/shirts in the quilt and maintain the promised queen-size for the customer, little room was left for sashing, and abosolutly no room left for borders. Although Lisa is a modern quilter and prefers no borders, her concern was that the quilt felt like it needed at least a little something to frame it more than just the binding. Lisa solved the problem by using the bias binding foot on her sewing maching and adding a little binding edge to her binding. I think it is fantastic!

I custom quilted each block based on the graphic found in each shirt. In some areas, I went around individual letters allowing them to pop in almost a trapunto-type of fashion. I used a wavy loop pattern for all the sashing. I had to be careful not to go into some of the actual graphics due the heavy layer of silk screening as I was afraid it would be like quilting into a thick rubber ball. Polyester batting was used because of the weight from the jersey fabric of the t-shirts.

One last picture... the happy customer with his Harley quilt on his Harley!