The Story of Crystal River HOG Chapter’s Florida Harley-Davidson T-Shirt Quilt
By James M. Curtis
In The Beginning
The story begins with a meeting of the Board of Directors 0f The Crystal River HOG (Harley Owners Group) Chapter in February 2013. Near the end of the meeting the director, Terry Corbin, opened the floor for anything that needed to be discussed. I raised my hand and was recognized. I thought that if the chapter could make a Harley T-Shirt quilt and raffle it off it would be a good money-maker for the chapter. I brought my recently finished Harley-Davidson quilt to show to the directors. The only problem was to get the necessary number of T-Shirts to be donated and to get volunteers to create the quilt. Terry Corbin thought that this was a good idea and that we could get enough t-shirts donated. I was chosen to be the chair because it was my idea. I asked if Johnny and Norm could hold up the quilt so the members could get an idea of what a Harley T-Shirt quilt looks like and they agreed.
Mary agreed to present this idea at the next LOH (Ladies Of Harley)meeting, which was scheduled for a week after the chapter meeting. I presented the idea to the chapter as a whole at the HOG Chapter meeting, which always follow the BOD meeting by one week. I gave my presentation and showed my quilt to the group and asked for T-shirt donations to be placed in the container so marked and to please note your name and the number of shirts donated and to sign on the volunteer list. That evening I received 14 t-shirts and had two individuals volunteer to help out. I did no work on the quilt other than to wash and dry the donated T-shirts and spread them out on the bed. I was finishing sewing on my son, John Morgan’s, Illusion quilt. The quilt went to the long arm quilter on March19, 2013. Now I could turn my attention to the Harley quilt. I forgot to get the quilt information to the clubs newsletter director to be included in the March newsletter. The Chapter meeting was set for March 21 at which I was going to make a presentation. Both Cheryl Jorgenson and Terry Corbin sent out notices to the chapter for T-Shirt Donations. I sent out e-mails to all those who volunteered to help with the quilt and to other members who I knew sewed or quilted, to meet at 6:00 pm at the Moose Lodge so I could show them what we are going to do. When I arrived at the Moose Lodge only one person showed up and that was Betty, Norm’s wife. So I showed her that we were going to make a queen sized quilt using 14” blocks, having five rows across and six rows down using ¼” seams. The meeting was called to order by the director and near the end of the meeting Terry called on me to discuss the quilt so I went to podium and made my presentation. I told the group that there was a quilt show at the Crystal River Armory last weekend and that there was an appraiser that was willing to tell individuals the value of their quilt. I told the group that the quilt that I showed them last month was valued near $3000.00. That brought a reaction from the members. When the meeting was over I found that there were 37 T-Shirts in my container and five people volunteered to help out. I will schedule Tuesday & Thursday of next week for cutting up of the shirts and applying the stabilizer. Then the following week we would begin sewing the shirts together.
Saturday March 23, 2013
On Saturday March 23, 2013 I began to cut up the black Harley T-Shirts. I stopped after lunch at I:00 PM. I have 14 sides cut and stabilizer iron into place including 5 seven-inch square blocks.12 more sides are awaiting stabilizer to be ironed into place. I have 4 more black t-shirts to cut and then I can begin cutting the rest of the shirts. We are using Pelion lite fusible interfacing as stabilized material.
The procedure for cutting up the t-shirts are as follows:
- Lay the shirt flat with the side you want to use facing up.
- Lay the 141/2 square blocks over the top of the graphic chosen.
- Using a scissors cut a 3 “ border all around the 141/2 square.
- Take the cut section & place it on the pile to be stabilized.
- Turn the shirt over & check if want to use the graphic if yes then do the same process described above.
- The scraps of shirt left are to be placed into the rag-bag.
The procedure for ironing the stabilizer:
- Lay the stabilizer on cutting board rough surface facing up.
- Put the T-Shirt facing up on the stabilizer.
- Trim around the side of the shirt & stabilizer so all sides are square.
- Put the 141/2 squares over the graphic making sure you have a 3” border all around the square.
- Pin the shirt to the stabilizer by placing 2 pins at the top.
- Take the shirt & stabilizer to ironing board and lay shirt face down so the back of the stabilizer is facing up.
- Make sure the iron is on high or wool setting and tack the stabilizer in five places, on each corner and one in the center.
- Turn the shirt over and remove the pins. Place the shirt face down on the ironing board.
- The back- side of the stabilizer should be facing up. Then place the plastic ironing cloth over the t-shirt and iron the whole shirt from corner to opposite corner.
- Remove the t-shirt from ironing board & place it on cutting table and put weight over the center of the t-shirt & go to the next t-shirt.
Sunday March 24, 2013
Betty Sequin E-mail me with her hours for next week and decided on Wednesday March 27, 2013. I called Trish Koch, Diane Houston, Gail Noll and Mary Moksay and all agreed to meet Wednesday to cut up & stabilize the remaining T-Shirts. For the first time I felt that making this quilt could be done.
Monday March 25
On Monday I squared up to 141/2 inches all the T-shirt backs that were stabilized and are as follows:
- Twenty seven T-shirt backs with stabilized
- Eleven T-shirt backs w/o stabilized but having non Florida images or images deemed in-appropriate.
- Twelve T-shirt backs w/o stabilized having Harley Davidson designs.
- Twenty one T-shirts to be cut & stabilized.
- Three T-shirts cannot be used (ladies-stretch material)
- Three T-shirts that were duplicates.
Wednesday March 27
The five ladies mentioned in the text above met at my house on Wednesday March 27, 2013 at my home at 9:30 AM. They were organized into three groups. The first group was to cut up the t-shirts & put them into a pile for stabilizing. The second group was to cut & pin stabilized material on the T-shirt. The third group was to iron the stabilized material on the back of the T-shirt and put them into a pile on the cutting table. My job was to take the stabilized t-shirts and square them to 141/2 inches.
Once all the T-shirt were stabilized and squared they were placed on the bed in the spare bedroom and organized in six rows of five t-shirts per each row. The fun part came next by arranging the t-shirts by matching colors and or subject matter. The quilt can only use 30 squares and we had 50 squares to work with. All T-shirts not having a Florida designation were removed and placed in a separate pile. We ended up with Crystal River Chapter t-shirts on the four outside corners and Florida HOG Rally T-shirts on the four inside corners with Crystal River HOG t-shirt on the center square. It took the six people 31/2 hours to accomplish this task. The original color of the border was a wine color. This was changed to a medium gray border. The backing of the quilt was to have the brown/Grey/Slate marbled pattern fabric, which I had in my stash. The binding is to be of orange/yellow flames on a black background, which I also had in my stash of fabric.
April 1 2013
On April 1 2013 The Ladies of CRHOG met at my house with the objective of sewing the 21/2 Gray border fabric between each block in a row and then connect all five blocks together. We broke into three groups Jim & Gail, Betty & Mary and Trish & Diane. We had three sewers and a helper for each. Near 12:30 all rows were assembled with gray border. The gray row borders were ironed and placed between the rows and a series of images were taken of the quilt and the workers around the quilt. It took three hours to accomplish this task.
April 4 2013
On April 4, 2013 Betty & Jim assembled the six rows of the Harley HOG Raffle quilt together. They added a three inch gray border all around the outside of the quilt. It took 41/2 hours to do this job. The quilt was ironed and cleaned up. The quilt was to taken to the long arm quilter, Leda Hall, for quilting on Wed April 10, 2013. Leda will call Betty when the quilt is finished. The committee decided that that Betty will take the extra blocks with stabilizer home with her. Linda & I left for Illinois on April 21, 2013 and returned back to Florida on October 21, 2013.
Betty picked up the quilt from Leda hall and took it over to Trish Kock to have her finish the quilt by sewing, by hand, the binding of black flames on the quilt. Betty & Norm arranged at the next board meeting to get the raffle tickets printed and paid for. The price of $5.00 was charged for each ticket or 5 tickets for $20.00. Betty Sequin spent the summer and fall selling the raffle tickets. The drawing for the quilt was at the December HOG Christmas party. The person who won the quilt was Robin Gardner. Robin was a road captain and past safety officer of the HOG Chapter.
The Crystal River HOG Assembly Crew
- Jim Curtis, Chairperson
- Mary Moksay, Director of L.O.H.
- Gail Noll
- Trish Koch
- Diane Housten
- Betty Sequin
To many people Harley-Davidson T-Shirts are memory chips reminding us of where we rode and when we did so.