Hooray! I got this done and it was actually relatively painless. I'd say that I worked on this here and there over the course of a week and was able to get it all done with very little swearing -- a major feat sometimes, let me tell you.
I've never made a t-shirt quilt before, so I was nervous. Knits + quilts = insanity, right? Actually it was way easier than I thought it'd be. I don't know how the shirts will hold out (I didn't quilt them down, I only stitched in the ditch so they may lose shape after time), and I did not interface them.
Part of me feels OK on this, and part of me worries. The reason I'm not worrying is because the shirts already looked worn & loved when she gave them to me, so I think any loss of shape has already happened. Plus, they're all substantial t-shirts, not crappy or flimsy. Time will tell.
Also, this quilt is for a dude. Dudes never trip about stuff like that anyway.
I didn't use a pattern, just laid the pieces out in a way that was aesthetically pleasing to me and not too symmetrical (as requested by my girlfriend) & then just used sashing to make all of the pieces the same-ish size.
I got to use some free motion quilting ideas I got from Leah Day's 365 Days of Free Motion Quilting and thank goodness for her because stippling freaks me out. Quilting in general freaks me out. I don't know what it is... probably just my inexperience with it, but it just seems so overwhelming and hard and TIME CONSUMING. Jeebus, it takes FOR EVER. Martha was not as cooperative as I had hoped she'd be, but I think it's due to not having the right foot on her, nor a good, slippery needle plate which would make quilting easier. I only did some fun quilting in a few places.
And I used orange thread on the back of the quilt to give a little pop to the backing. The dude likes the Broncos, hence the orange binding and blue sashing.
The rest of the quilting was either done in the ditch or just straight lines.
I'm thinking about doing this with my 5K shirts, but I only have three of those, hahaha. When I did my triathlon last year I didn't get a shirt because they were out when I finished, and I know the swim cap I got will not quilt. :) But if you've got a bunch of t-shirts laying around, they make a really nice, cozy quilt. Use an old fleece blanket as the filler and bang! You're reconstructing some existing materials and making something wonderful that's full of memories!