Quilting buddies Carolyn Hays, Linnadelle Lee, Judy Meadors and Pat White have been busy all summer, piecing and quilting a little bit of Stephenville's athletic past.
"It was Judy Meador's idea, White said. I was telling her that my husband was already wanting to know what I had planned to do for next year's Optimist Club auction. He always asks me to help with it. So Judy suggested we do a Yellow Jacket T-shirt quilt for them. And I thought it was a great idea.
Meadors voiced to White her concern about finding the T-shirts needed for the project.
"I told her to leave that to me, White said.
And so began an odyssey involving many garage sales and a local thrift store to obtain the required shirts.
While she began her search for vintage Yellow Jacket T-shirts, White started to formulate yet another idea. She wanted a quilt to be made for the Stephenville Athletic Booster Club to use in a special raffle as a fundraiser.
With the backing of White's husband, Dee of White Real Estate, she began her search for the necessary garments in May.
"I first thought of garage sales. I was looking for everything that was connected to the Yellow Jackets and the Honeybees?all sports, she said. That was our first thought for the Optimist Club quilt.
But anticipating crisp, cool evenings watching the Yellow Jackets play football changed the game plan for the booster club quilt.
"This quilt ended up being all football because the timing was perfect, White said. I spent three and a half months searching garage sales and talking to anyone I saw walk by with a Yellow Jacket T-shirt on.
Friends got in on the action and donated items after cleaning out their closets. And White became a regular at Project Hope, often scoring a bag full of shirts set aside for the project.
White amassed at least three hundred shirts?which left the quilters with a surplus.
"We only needed 20 for the football quilt, she explained. But it gave us a nice selection.
As the initial concept was to include all of the sports, White nabbed any and all T-shirts that showcased the district's mascots, and the quilters have plans to select from that stash the shirts they will use in the quilt for the Optimist auction.
White assesses the T-shirts go back as far as the early nineties based on their color.
"They're all navy, she said. They decided to incorporate navy blue into the color of the shirts a couple of years after (former athletic director) Art Briles came to Stephenville.
The finished project will have its opening night exhibit at tonight's football game, and the booster club will be selling raffle tickets for a chance to win it. Tickets will be $5 each.
The quilt will then tour area banks, spending two weeks at each location. Beginning Sept. 4 it will be on display at Town and Country Bank. The Sept. 17 leg of its journey will be at First Financial Bank. Beginning Oct. 1 it can be seen at Members Trust Credit Union before making a final stop on Oct. 15 at Texas Bank. Raffle tickets can be purchased at each bank while the quilt is on display there.
The drawing for the winning ticket will take place at the Oct. 26 homecoming game.
Darrell Brown, president of the booster club, appreciates the time the ladies have spent in ferreting out the shirts as well as creating and finishing the quilt.
"It is exciting that individuals from the community have taken the time to reach deep into Stephenville's athletic history with these T-shirts they found, he said. To have this in a quilt that someone may be able to enjoy for years to come is exciting for the Stephenville Athletic Booster Club. And, of course, it will help us raise proceeds to benefit both jr. high and high school athletics.