Memories preserved in quilts
By DIANE GASPER-O'BRIEN
Stamped deep into the fabric of every cotton T-shirt are some sort of memories, said Gini Augustine.
So for years, Augustine has wanted to make a T-shirt quilt for her daughter.
"My daughter has wanted a quilt from her T-shirts since she was 16," Augustine told an audience of more than two dozen one night last week. "Fifteen years later, it's still not done. She keeps changing her mind what she wants."
Augustine doesn't want other people to have to wait that long if they're interested in getting a quilt done for some upcoming special occasion.
An avid seamstress -- "I sew like other people breathe," Augustine said -- she started making her own quilt samples and trying a variety of methods of piecing them together.
By day, Augustine works as the librarian at Thomas More Prep-Marian High School in Hays. But in her free time, she sews for herself and relatives.
Recently, she decided to share her passion with others and announced through an all-school email she would be putting on a talk about T-shirt quilts.
A co-worker gave her an idea to title her talk "Make a Mosaic of Memories."
Augustine said she didn't care if there were two or three or 20 who came to hear her talk, although she expected a modest number somewhere in between. Instead, nearly 30 people filed into the TMP library Wednesday evening.
"Goodness," she began when all were settled into their seats. "I've taught crafts in small groups before, but not in front of a large crowd. I just really want people to get involved and to get excited about (making a quilt). Have fun with it."
Augustine showed five basic quilt techniques. Some involving tying instead of sewing. She then asked others to display any quilts they brought along for show and tell, giving the audience an idea of what a T-shirt looks like at completion.
Cora Schulte of Victoria -- whose daughter, Kathy Dreiling Amrein, teaches at TMP -- brought two quilts she had made out of T-shirts for two of her grandsons when they graduated from TMP.
"I was so glad that she brought those," Augustine said. "Another way for people to see how it can be done. Every piece holds a memory; it's not just a piece of clothing."
Augustine offered to have a work day later this month for those interested in coming to the library to work on quilts.
"Tonight, I mainly just wanted to be a cheerleader, to let people know if they have a box of T-shirts they have been wanting to do something with, there are ways out there to do a quilt," she said.
"I'm way behind time," said Cindy Washburn, whose son Dusty graduated from TMP in 2004, then went on to play baseball at Garden City Community College and Fort Hays State University, as well as the Hays Larks summer program.
So in addition to the TMP navy and white, Washburn also has lots of brown and gold shirts, as well as black and gold and red and blue shirts stored away.
"Don't know when I'll get to those," Washburn said with a laugh.
"I'm hoping to get one made for my granddaughter," she said, pulling out a photo of Dusty's three-and-a-half-month-old daughter, Tessa.
Renee Michaud, mother of two teenage high school daughters, said the email about the demonstration piqued her interest when she saw it, so she decided to come to get some pointers.
"My girls have both sewn patchwork quilts, but I've never made one," Michaud said. "I thought it would be interesting to learn how to make a (T-shirt) quilt. I have all their shirts from grade school and Hays Rec. I learned a lot, and now I'm hoping I can actually get one done."