One Last Laundry

Dearest Rachel –

They’ve been sitting around in the folks’ basement, and I’ve been meaning to do something about it them for some time. But every time I think about it, I’m away from my computer, and by the time I come back to the computer, it’s completely slipped my mind all over again. But I’ve finally managed to get the timing right, and remembered to look up possible vendors who can make quilts out of T-shirts when I’m actually in a place where I can look up that sort of thing.

And it turns out to be a little bit more complicated than I thought it might.

Most places simply take the design on the front, and make a series of squares out of them, which they then assemble into a quilt, or a blanket or even a pillowcase. Pretty standard stuff, and nothing too objectionable. However, some of the designs on your shirts are of varying sizes, and a one size fits all approach doesn’t quite do them justice. So, when I found a company that takes a more artistic, collage-style approach, I concluded that this would be something more to your liking (even if you’d never see the end result)

Here’s an example from their website

I think they refer to this as ‘stained-glass’ style, and while the added complexity doubles the cost of the finished product, I’m going to say the the effect looks to be worth it. When you come down to it, none of the options are particularly cheap, so one might as well splash out and get a truly unique, quality product. It’s not as if it’ll break the bank, after all.

At least not until I go through the entire lot of shirts you left behind. And that won’t happen until I’ve commissioned three or four of these.

For now, I’m just working on one; the one having to do with all of the fandoms you had – we had. This includes all those sponsorship T-shirts from the anime conventions we’ve attended (along with various shirts purchased while at those conventions), merch from various YouTubers over the past few years, and all the My Little Pony and Doctor Who (including crossovers between the two) paraphernalia you’d accumulated over the years. If I read it right from the company’s website, you had enough shirts from just those categories to build an entire queen-size quilt. Imagine what we could do with the souvenirs from your – our – various travels, not to mention the ones you bought to express your faith.

But, one step at a time. In order to get these assembled and shipped off, they need to be washed, and they need to be labeled.

Somewhat tongue-in-cheek, they recommended washing everything in fragrance free detergent, and not using dryer sheets: “you don’t want us sneezing on your shirts,” they said. I’m afraid I didn’t find this bottle until after I’d done the first load (of whites, for which I used a bleach-laced detergent). I did send the company a notice that I would be shipping these shirts today, along with my own tongue-in-cheek warning that I still don’t quite know how to do laundry without you. It’s not exactly accurate to say so, but I’m sure they would be understanding.
They also instructed me to use painter’s tape to indicate graphic I don’t want included as part of the quilt; since the picture on the front is more than colorful enough, I’ve decided not to include most of the date and location information from the convention T-shirts (with the exception for the one in our own backyard). It’s almost eerie to note that the last anime convention you went to had an apocalyptic biohazard theme.
It’s also sad to note that several of the shirts, including this one from Christmas 2020, you never got the chance to wear. I don’t think that means you became one of the ghosts on the shirt, though.

On that particular subject, I wound up leaving out a couple of shirts. Not because they didn’t fit in the box, but because they were of the same image, and I concluded that there was no point in duplicating graphics simply because you had two in your collection. You see, you’d enjoyed the original so much – and wore it so often – that the image had started to fade. So, I’d gotten a new one for you for Christmas to replace the faded one (although, knowing you, you’d just continue to wear the old one as well for more grubby activities, I suppose). It’s entirely possible that the wash I just put it through, like with the Rebecca Parham shirt above, was both its first and last laundry, having never been actually worn.

It’s just as well I excluded those extra shirts, though, because once I got everything folded up and placed in the box (and let me tell you, it’s a pretty big box), it literally filled it to the top. I couldn’t get another shirt in there if I tried; it almost is too much as it is.

They didn’t all turn out perfectly; there were a couple of the iron-on MLP designs that were already somewhat faded that didn’t take very well to the wash, I’m afraid. At least this is the last time they’ll have to go through it, I think. We’ll see how it all turns out in about a month or two.

For now, I have to figure out how to seal it, and send it on to the quilting company. Since I’m already taking some of your ashes to the local FedEx outlet, I might as well do the same with this box as well.

That’s twenty-three pounds of T-shirt fabric; I can only imagine how heavy the finished quilt will end up being.

As it turns out, they have tape here at the FedEx place; it’s all part of the service, since I’m already paying to get all this shipped. Even nicer, since the company is only a couple of states over in Michigan (as opposed to your ashes, which need to be shipped to the middle of Texas), the clerk informs me that they’ll arrive some time tomorrow afternoon – all for a price that’s just a few cents less than I pay for lunch? dinner? for Daniel and myself a few minutes later.

So, it’s been a surprisingly productive day today. It will be interesting to see what gets accomplished with everything I’m sending out today. Hope you’ll like how it all turns out; and maybe we’ll be able to see a few more like this one as time goes on.

Until then, honey, keep an eye out for me, and wish me luck; I’m probably still going to need it.

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I am Rachel's husband. Was. I'm still trying to deal with it. I probably always will be.

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