Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Fabric of my gymnastic life

I've been holding on to a bin full of old competition and training shirts for the past who knows how long in hopes of one day making a t-shirt quilt. Finally, after years of procrastination, Kristin and I (along with countless hours of help from her Mom and Dad, Carol and Maurice, and sister, Amber), buckled down, made a plan and got it done.

First, we assessed the inventory. There were soooo many shirts to choose from and unfortunately many of them didn't make it off the cutting room floor. I picked my "must haves" and then we started to build a pattern on a piece of grid paper.  

Once we had the general puzzle mapped out, we started cutting and sewing…and adjusting. HA! T-shirts don't always end up being the size you thought you were cutting them. Sometimes the corners curl, sometimes the material magically shrinks or stretches after you've cut it. I was so nervous cutting the first shirt, but after it was sliced with a fabric cutter on a quilting board, there was no turning back. 

This project took eight solid sewing/cutting sessions. We even put in four or five hours of hardcore concentration on some occasions. Much like the years of gymnastics it took to earn these shirts, the process of building this quilt took patience, team work, flexibility, attention to detail and a plan.  

When I look at this quilt, every single square inch has meaning to me. If you look to the far right, there are two sets of thin black and white stripes that look like arrows. Those are the sleeves from my favourite training shirt - I wore it so often, it was covered in holes. In the bottom right corner, The CMIGC logo is from my very first Senior International competition in Taipei in 1999. The hand print part way down on the left hand side is from my White Palms movie shirt. Every Olympic Games, World Championships, World Cup Final and Commonwealth Games I competed at for Canada are represented here. There are also a few from my favourite summer camp, GymJam, and some miscellaneous memory provokers. 

We still have to put a border/backing on it and fill it with batting, but the foundation of my long awaited tshirt quilt is complete. I absolutely love it and can't think of a better way to preserve memories for a lifetime.  

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