Appendix 1.14 – There’s No Place Like Colorado

A brief respite from the blues and browns today with a Kelly green shirt from Colorado. I myself have never been to Colorado, unless you count the Denver airport, which I don’t, as everyone knows that airports don’t count. But apparently there’s no place like Colorado, specifically Boulder. I like how they just threw in the name of the town down there in small print on the flourish. Another nice travel shirt that you wouldn’t see today. I appreciate the way that the “COLORADO” is obviously hand-lettered, not just some off-the-rack typeface. Hand-lettering to me is the equivalent of live music. It is always worth the effort. What is lost in polish that you would get on the recording is more than made up for by the obvious heart that goes into the performance. Just like any thinking person would not accept going to a live concert to hear pre-recorded music played to them, because they are going for the express purpose of experiencing a live, vital, and necessarily imperfect performance, one should always appreciate the craft and care that goes into a hand-lettered work above that of one created digitally. I often wish I had the skill to do so myself, but as with professional musicians, it is a talent that I lack beyond the most rudimentary attempts.

Appendix 1.13 – Ft. Walton Beach Wave

Here we are back in Ft. Walton Beach, Florida (this time with a period to properly abbreviate “Fort”) and back to a blue shirt. This one features all the stuff you would associate with a good Floridian souvenir shirt: a sunset, palm trees, seagulls (I guess), and a wave crashing. This is a good souvenir shirt. I would bet that if you went to Ft. Walton Beach today, you would find some souvenir shops that sold shirts but none of them would probably be as nice as this one. They would probably be either of the variety of advertising how drunk you can get there, or just saying “FLORIDA” with no graphics nearly as nice as this. This shirt is really more about the graphics than pointing out where it came from.

Unfortunately it has had a little wear, and around the wave with all the little lines to indicate foam the printing has started to come loose in places, so I don’t wear it much anymore to preserve it.


Upcycling Project #1 – Update 1

So upcycling project number one is underway—the race shirt quilt. I selected sixteen race shirts to give their lives to become a quilt. Strangely enough, these are actually shirts that I wear with some frequency, as opposed to the vast majority of the other shirts in this project, because they were my shirts of choice for working out in the gym. That is not because I was particularly fond of them, however; quite the contrary, it was because I wasn’t especially worried about keeping them nice. Nonetheless, I have decided to switch to ultimate shirts for workouts and use these as quilting material. Part of the reasoning is that I have a lot of them and see no likelihood that I will not continue to acquire them, and enough that I could compose a quilt of them while maintaining one encompassing quilt-wide theme, as I am a sucker for themes. Sixteen race shirts also makes for a nice, symmetrical, perfect-square 4 by 4 layout, and I am also a sucker for symmetry and regularity.

Sixteen race shirts.

So having selected my sixteen shirts, I measured them to get a good idea of how much usable space I could harvest from each, and settled on a sixteen-inch square, front and back. Sixteen inches based on that it was roughly the maximum space between the sleeves on the smallest shirts and that it would enclose the design of both front and back on all of them. Square based on see the above about liking symmetry, etc.

The next order of business was to make a template so that I could accurately replicate the sizing of the cutout on each shirt. Template-making is a hallmark of my project work. So I measured and cut a 16” x 16” square from my favorite template material, that being whatever cereal boxes are currently in the recycle bin. I also made a space with center points on each side so that when using it I could have a gauge on properly centering the design in the square.

Template front.

Template cereal box view.

I then proceeded to iron all sixteen shirts (inside-out so the heat of the iron would not mar the printing) and then lay them flat, center the template, and cut out the square with a rotary cutter. Because the square on the front as a rule will not line up with the square on the back, one must put something in between to prevent cutting through, and do each side separately. The only tricky part of this was that I don’t have a cutting surface that is 16 x 16, so I had to either move it halfway through, which was a pain, or after I got sick enough of it to justify trying to find a solution, using more cereal box for the other half, which was still less than perfect but serviceable enough to get the job done. Thus I had two identically-sized squares (more or less) from a shirt, and a leftover neck-sleeves-shirttail with giant hole through it.

Template on shirt.

An individual cut-out square.

Giant hole.

Once all these squares were separated from their previous shirt-bodies, I laid them out in rows as I intended them to end up in the quilt. The plan is for the fronts to be all on one side, and the backs on the opposite side, such that each shirt’s front square corresponds directly to the back square of the same shirt when viewed from the other side.

Pile of cut squares.

Squares laid out.

At that point it just becomes a matter of pinning and sewing. Four squares to a row, four rows per side, two sides. As of this writing I’ve completed I think six of the eight rows. Further updates as events warrant.

Pinned for sewing.


Some rows completed.

Appendix 1.12 – Bear Country

The late 70’s/early 80’s blue/brown trend continues today with another ringer, but this time a brown one. It features a giant bear. Below the bear it says “Colorado”. Above the bear, in tiny green script (tiny compared to the giant bear, at least) it says “Bear Country”. That is pretty much all there is to it. Not much more needs to be said when you’ve got a giant bear.

Appendix 1.11 – Ft. Walton Beach

Today we have a brown shirt that says “WHERE THE HELL IS Ft Walton Beach FLORIDA”. If any of you read the comments on the mullet festival shirt you know that Niceville, Florida is the home of another of her uncles, and Ft. (with a period) Walton Beach is just down the road from there. That’s your biographical connection. I have to respect a tourist souvenir shirt that openly calls in to question its origin’s value as a tourist destination. I also sometimes like to read the fact of the line break and the palm tree framing as a question/answer device, such as: “Q: Where the hell is Ft. Walton Beach? A: Florida.”

Appendix 1.10 – Once a Knight

So by now I expect everyone knows the standard format for these shirts is the blue ringer with the probably sparkly iron-on design with some kind of euphemistic pun. Today’s euphemistic pun is “Once a King always a King but once a knight is ENOUGH”.

I will set aside some of my questions such as how the knight managed to get his eyeballs to exist on the top of his helmet, and not behind his visor, which is why helmets have visors to begin with, and get to the more obvious question. Again, I’m pretty sure I get the joke here, but I am confused as to who is supposed to be making this joke. So someone please correct me if I am missing something, but this is another sex joke, clearly, right? The joke is a pun on night/knight, but the crux of it is saying that sex more than once per night would be excessive. Which is probably true, at least over the long term, but usually these kinds of jokes are of the “I like sex” variety, as that is (arguably) funny, and the opposing “I want to limit my sexual encounters to a reasonable level” point of view, while it may be a respectable perspective, is not all that humorous. Usually if that perspective is put forward in a humorous context it is attributed to the foil, not to the joker; the “I don’t want a lot of sex” voice is usually coming from someone who is portrayed as the frigid wife/prude/hypocrite, who is then mocked because of it.

The best I can figure is to draw from the image of the obviously symbolic downward-curving lance (the perspective in the photo may appear that the curve is just the way the shirt surface curves away from the camera on my torso, but it is in fact intentionally drooping) and assume that this is supposed to be a sort of self-deprecating style of joke where the person is asserting that yes, they enjoy sex up to and including once per night, but because of their own physical failings are incapable of more than that. Which I guess is kinda funny but still a little unusual because that’s laughing at me instead of laughing with me. If I were the writer of this T-shirt pun, I would have probably gone with something more like “Once a king, always a king, but once a knight is a good start” or something like that. Because it’s more relatable to people in the “Oh hey, you like sex as frequently as possible? Me too!” kind of way. That doesn’t mean it’s literally true. It’s a joke. If I were in the position (ahem) to have to prove it by actually having sex multiple times per night, I’d give it my best try but eventually admit it was just a funny T-shirt. I’m not advocating hypersexuality. I’m just saying moderation isn’t that funny.

Appendix 1.9 – Unless You Ask

So my wife’s uncle was kind of a goofy guy with a decidedly unsophisticated sense of humor. This shirt is a good representative of that. It is a blue shirt—no rings this time—upon which is another iron-on design which features a scroll which states:

I will never:

Lower my Standards

Compromise my Ideals


Be party to lustful Acts

And then below the scroll in sparkly red letters:


The design on this is baffling to me. I mean, I get the joke; it doesn’t take much to get me to put out, ha ha. But the design elements are bizarre. Why is it on a scroll? Is that supposed to make it seem more biblical, with the glittery initial calligraphic I like an illuminated manuscript, or something? Because most of those were in book, not scroll form. And if you were trying to give the air of antiquity, why would you include those pointy fingers? Those are generally associated with a much later 18th or 19th century style. Especially with a cuff featuring cufflinks. The text is erratic and not remotely calligraphic other than the initial, and the capitalization is essentially random. Then there is the bottle of spilled red ink, and a paintbrush (not a quill or pen as would make sense with ink) that one would assume was used to append the punch line, even though it is not actually on the scroll but hovering in space below it.

Yeah, so it’s weird. But I’ll totally do anything you tell me to, so that’s funny.

Appendix 1.8 – Hooked on Fishing

Today another blue ringer with an iron-on design. I am now beginning to wonder if he just got a bunch of blue ringer T’s and iron-on transfers and made these all himself, because I never noticed it until now but the uniformity is striking. I guess I never thought about it because it was the designs themselves which caught my attention, but the quality on all of them is so good I guess I assumed they were done professionally.

This one the design has faded somewhat but honestly that might be my fault. I think it was in better shape before I got it. The picture is of a fisherman who has inadvertently caught the seat of his own pants and in classic cartoon style has somehow defied physics by lifting himself out of the water. He appears confused and distraught, judging by the look on his face and the “!?!” hovering above him. Surrounding this scene are the words “HOOKED ON FISHING” with one side of the H barbed like a fishhook.

At this point I would like to mention that although I work with several avid hunters and fishermen, none of them have at any point commented on my awesome hunting and fishing shirts, which is a little disappointing.

Appendix 1.7 – Wisconsin

After a brief detour we’re back to our outdoorsy theme again with another blue ringer with an iron-on design. This time we still have a deer, but we have added some trees and a waterfall, etc., as a tribute to the home state of Wisconsin. Where there are lots of deer and trees and waterfalls. Or at least that was the case thirty years ago, apparently.