Springwater graduation quilt

t-shirt quilt 1

My oldest daughter has attended Springwater Environmental Sciences School since the 1st grade – which was also the first year that the school opened.  She’s now finishing 8th grade and is getting ready to move on to high school, which is a big step for her, since Springwater is the only school she’s ever known.  A small K-8 charter school in the country, it’s been her community and her family for eight years now, so we’re marking her graduation with some pomp and circumstance :)

At Springwater, the classes aren’t referred to by grade, but instead by their mascot names – Dragonflies, Salmon, Blue Herons, River Otters, Foxes.  Each class has a symbol and a color, printed on t-shirts, and the kids wear these t-shirts on Friday Field Studies, field trips, special all-school events, etc.  As a graduation gift, I cut up all of Emmersen’s old t-shirts and sewed them in order, from youngest to oldest, into a quilt.

t-shirt quilt 2

For the back side, I did the same thing with her zoo camp t-shirts — she’s gone to the Oregon Zoo’s summer camp every year since 1st grade, as well, and has now aged out, but it was always her favorite camp, year after year.  Like Springwater, the zoo camps helped foster and develop her love of wildlife, nature, and the environmental sciences.  So, I thought it was a fitting backing for the graduation quilt.

t-shirt quilt 3

The t-shirt material is a little challenging to sew with, because it’s a knit; someone originally recommended that I use knitted interfacing, but after giving that some thought, I disagreed because I wanted more of a stabilizer.  So I went with a mid weight fusible interfacing.  Then I used leftover fabric from this project as the sashing and binding.

The quilting was a little challenging because I didn’t want to quilt through the middle of any of the t-shirt squares on either side of the quilt, so in the end, I went with vertical quilting down the sides of the sashing on either long end, and then I sewed a bar tack in the middle of each square, just to secure things down a little more.

The finished size is approx 45″ x 55″, which is the perfect size for throwing on a bed, over a lap, across the back of a chair, etc.  I hope it will be a keepsake that she will hold on to and one that will bring back fond memories for her :)

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