Monday, May 30, 2011

Mr. Bug's Navy T-Shirt Memory Quilt: Finished

Better than honor and glory, and History's iron pen,
Was the thought of duty done and the love of his fellow-men.
–Richard Watson Gilder

One week before his birthday {which is two days before Christmas} I had the brilliant insane idea to make a quilt for Mr. Bug using old t-shirts from when he was in the Navy. Five months and one week {not to mention a fair amount of unpicking} later and it is finally finished!

There are six t-shirts, four sweatshirts, a turtleneck and the leg of a pair of sweatpants in the blocks. The sashing is made from the work shirts he wore on board the ship. I also used a bit of one of the shirts in the center of the quilt and also for the label on the back of the quilt. The label has his dates of service and his rank. I also put the emblem for a QuarterMaster on the label; in the Navy the QuarterMaster navigates the ship.

Below is the front of my favorite t-shirt {it sits in the bottom left corner; the back is in the bottom right corner}. The scroll reads We men of the USS Clark crossed the Royal Relm {someone forgot to spell-check} of the Honorable King Neptune, known to all land lovers as the Equator. When a ship crosses the equator, there is a big to-do aboard {read hazing} for all the sailors who haven't crossed before. Those who have set up an obstacle course and if you have to go through the course, you're guaranteed to be wet and miserable. Not only did they cross the equator, but they also went through the Panama Canal {denoted on the back of the shirt}. Mr. Bug was the navigator on duty when they went through. He says it is a bunch of hurry-up-and-wait, because you have to go through a series of locks and each one has to fill when you enter it, but I think it sounds really neat.

Mr. Bug wanted to include his insignia and some of the patches he collected over his years in the Navy. I used the front of one of his work shirts because the little emblem above the pocket was a pretty big deal to earn. I kept the pocket on just for fun. Below that I used part of a sleeve that has his insignia printed right on it. I pulled the navy blue insignia just below it off of a jacket; it would also be used on a dress blue uniform. The white insignia {which includes the QuarterMaster emblem} would be used on a dress white uniform. There are patches from the two ships he served on and the others are some he traded with servicemen from other countries.

I started this quilt with the intention of finishing it in the week before Christmas as a birthday surprise. It would have been a very different quilt had it happened that way. Because I ordered the wrong fabric for the sashing and back and had no hope of getting an exchange and finishing the quilt in time, I showed Mr. Bug what I was up to. As I worked on it, he gave input and pulled out the work shirts and a couple of other t-shirts that we put in the quilt. He also helped me with the placement of the blocks in the quilt. And I think it really turned out great! I'm so glad to have it finished and am excited for Mr. Bug to be able to have a tangible object to associate with those memories.

Here are links to each of the posts about the creation of this quilt.
Last-Minute Gift
Fabric S.N.A.F.U.
About the Blocks
Half-done is Well Begun
Quilt Top
Quilt Label in Progress
Ready for Quilting

Today's post brought to you by:

Myra's Ph.D Challenge

My 2011 Finishes

P.S. Click the button above to take you to AmyLouWho's for lots more Sew & Tell.


Impera Magna said...

Beautiful and sure to be treasured for a long long time!

I like that your DH was involved in the quilt's creation... makes the quilt doubly special...

Congratulations on such a spectacular finish!

Barb said...

What a wonderful quilt!!! You did a fantastic job!

Ivory Spring said...

Elizabeth, what an heirloom!!! I love it.

Paulette said...

You really created a masterpiece here, Elizabeth! It's so wonderful! I love how you arranged everything. I think not being able to have it done earlier was definitely for the best. Love the patches and pocket. How was it to quilt through the different fabrics?

Jennifer Lovell said...

Words can't express how valuable I think this quilt is. It's like the world's best scrapbook made of fabric. I'm so happy that you made it.

Shay said...

Your quilt is wonderful. I love that it's been made out of something meaningful and precious and Im sure it will be used as part of your family history for generations.

You picked the absolute best quilting and it looks amazing . Well done Elizabeth -Im sure Mr. Bug is thrilled.

QuiltNut Creations said...

love it love it love it!! fabulous job Elizabeth!

Annelise said...

unbelieveable!! what a work of art and love. i really like that you ended up involving mr bug. such a beautiful and special quilt. awesome work :)

Jen said...

Wow, what a special quilt! I love that you used the pocket. This is so much more than a T-shirt quilt and is sure to be treasured for a long time!

Wanda said...

Wow wow wow! And wow again!It's spectacular. I think it was a gift in disguise that you had to take your time to make this and that Mr. Bug helped with it all. Really wonderful. Once again you have inspired me. I really want to do this for my husband. His uniforms and t-shirts are just sitting in the closet screaming to be sewn into something like Mr. Bug's Navy quilt. I particularly liked that you left the pocket and that you used the shirt fabric for the sashing. Hope you don't mind if I use your ideas...can't help it!

Mom said...

Wow This quilt is so awesome! You just continue to amaze me. Although anything you do shouldn't suprize me, You always have been so talented. I have so many quiltes started but not a one finished. I guess I am a starter. What more can I say about this wonderful quilt that hasn't already been said. I love it!

karen @ badlandsquilts said...

Very striking layout, looks wonderful!

Sara said...

What a super neat and super special quilt! I have been saving some of my kids ball shirts to make a t-shirt quilt with, but haven't gotten started yet. One day!

Angie said...

It looks wonderful! I bet he loves it!

Auntie Pami said...

I love this! I have a ziploc bag full of my Navy patches. I still have some of the t-shirts (most have long been worn out) too. I think working on it with your husband makes it so much more special.

Lynnie Eiden Kolber said...

Beautiful Work! My brother just got out of The Navy after 8 years. I would love to use the picture of your quilt to post privately on FB. I wanted to ask first.
Thank You!

Unknown said...

The picture of King Neptune is my drawing from the USS Mississippi (CGN-40) around 1991-’92 Then I was known as Ronald Blair Dehning … Now I take me father’s last name. Ronald Blair Phillips!