By Kathryn Rice
This is the second in a series on Nodaway Countians who have taken the repurposing and upcycling of old items to a unique level.
It started with a person asking Angela Farrell to make a quilt for her son’s high school graduation from his old T-shirts.
“I like making T-shirt quilts because people have emotional ties to the shirts,” Farrell said. “When people look at the finished quilt, you can see the emotions play across their face. If I didn’t make the person cry, I didn’t do a good enough job.”
Farrell has been quilting for more than 15 years. She said it takes 20 T-shirts to make a twin-size quilt. A queen-size quilt requires 30 to 36 shirts. Farrell doesn’t have a quilting frame large enough to make a king-size quilt.
“It gets fun,” Farrell said. “You can take the same T-shirts and what you add can make a totally different quilt, just in how you put it together.”
She interviews customers about their interests and what colors and fabrics they like. She chooses fabric based on those interviews. She said she hasn’t had a customer yet who hasn’t liked their finished quilt.
“It’s a good way to keep your T-shirts down to size,” Farrel said. “It’s functional, can be used for a lifetime and much better than a tote of shirts that’s forgotten.”
Her quilts have been gifts for graduations, Christmases and weddings. At least one wedding quilt traveled to New York City. Farrell said she feels like she’s investing a part of herself into each quilt.
She makes quilted blankets from baby clothes and remembrance quilts from deceased loved ones’ clothing.
Farrell remembers, as a child, laying under a quilting frame as her mother and grandmother quilted. She still gets together to quilt with her mom and sister.
“One of my kids has said that it is the hum of the sewing machine that would put them to sleep at night,” she said.
Farrell has four children, Jessica, 25, Cain, 21, Clay, 18, and Drew, 16. The two youngest attend Maryville High School. Clay graduates this year and Farrell is making his T-shirt quilt.
Farrell is a Missouri State Highway Patrol driver examiner in St. Joseph.
For more information, contact Farrell at 660.582.0308 or on her Facebook page at Angela McIntyre Farrell.