Before my son moved out of our home five years ago he kept all of his favorite t-shirts and put them on until he just couldn’t fit them any longer. My son’s a pack-rat, a horder of epic proportions. I suggested I use those special t-shirts to make him a small quilt. With his blessing, I sliced through the t-shirts, keeping the parts he liked best, and laundered them. Having no real experience making a quilt, I tucked the t-shirts away and tried to ignore them.
We moved, I went to school and began a new career; no pressure. This year, I realized I had to make good on that promise as my son’s homeless status became more precarious than ever. Enlisting his sister’s sewing expertise (but no quilting experience) I rewashed the shirts. Armed with a small amount of gleaned knowledge I went to the local fabric store for interfacing to adhere the t-shirt material to, cotton batting and fabric for the shell of the now to be queen sized quilt. Adjusting the image in my mind to accommodate what was available vs what was not, I began to wonder about the wisdom of this offer. Not only was this a larger project than anticipated, my looming surgery meant time was more limited than originally thought.
This quilt, the stretching of our talents and knowledge, needed to be:
- extra warm – layers of easy care material make this possible
- large enough to cover my 6’4″ son – used a queen size flat sheet as a guide
- water proof if possible – best I could come up with was to Scotchguard both sides
I did another load of laundry composed of all of the new fabric. Then I began ironing: the fabric, the interfacing required some patience to adhere to the t-shirt material and then all of the seams as we went along. Working afternoons and evenings as time allowed my daughter and I worked diligently to get the quilt pieced together so I could do the finish work of tying small knots throughout it, sealing it with fray check and Scotchguard to help protect it for a while. Imperfect as it is with our inexperience, it is done.
We do our best to short up his needs as we can. Calling a tent in Seattle home isn’t what he wants, not how he was raised, but it is presently the only place he has. (I have shared some of his story before: earliest, another, again, latest.) As the weather gets colder we hope this blanket provides both physical warmth for his body and a link to us, his childhood and some of the good memories that can warm his spirit. Thankfully, there is an address that I can ship it to so he will receive it.
When I look at our local homeless I see my son’s face. Any help we offer here is an offering made with the prayer that someone in Seattle is reaching out to help those in Seattle in a similar way. Stretch if you can, take on a giving tree gift, drop requested items off at a drop point in your community, and know that someone somewhere will be better off because of it.