Graduation gifts made with timeless love
by Rory Doyle
May 02, 2013 | 2429 views | 0 0 comments | 13 13 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Margaret Ray, great-grandmother of graduating Cleveland High School twins Hannah and Hunter Taylor, displays the two quilts she designed out of their old sports and school T-Shirts.
Margaret Ray, great-grandmother of graduating Cleveland High School twins Hannah and Hunter Taylor, displays the two quilts she designed out of their old sports and school T-Shirts.
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The special graduation present for two Cleveland High School seniors has been a long time in the making — but it's been well worth the wait.

Margaret Ray, 83, has spent the last two years carefully crafting separate quilts for her great-grandchildren, twin 18-year-old siblings Hannah and Hunter Taylor.

But the stories that make up the quilts go well beyond the last two years.

Ray has been collecting the twins' old sports, school, band, camp, 4-H, dance and travel T-shirts for more than a decade, all the while knowing she would one day make queen size quilts honoring their childhoods.

Between the two, the quilts are made with more than 60 memorable shirts.

"It's been a lot of hard work," said Ray, a quilting hobbyist. "They were all quilted by hand and bounded by sewing machine.

"There were several times where I didn't know if they'd come to completion," Ray added. "These are two big quilts and they take a long time to make."

The twins, who live with Ray, were surprised to learn about her project when she first asked them to pick out their favorite shirts.

"She had some shirts I hadn't seen for years," said Hunter.

"I kind of got upset when she told me she was going to cut up my shirts," said Hannah. "But I'm happy now because she did a great job and my shirts still keep me warm."

Quilt making was a skill Ray picked up from her mother, and she said it was an honor to complete the unique gifts for her great-grandchildren.

"It's something they'll be able to keep for a long time," said Ray, who also made them baby quilts when they turned one. She has also made specialized quilts for Hannah and Hunter through the years.

"These are really special and I'm appreciative of all the time she put into them," added Hunter. "It shows all the things we've done and the places we've been.

"I just want to say a big thank you to her."

"All my favorite T-shirts are on there," said Hannah. "I like that I can look back and remember wearing all of them — so many memories."

The twins both plan to live at home after graduation, but they are thrilled to have a distinctive gift to keep with them as they get ready for college.

Hannah plans to attend Delta State University and Hunter is considering Mississippi Delta Community College.

Ray doesn't have any immediate plans for another big quilting project, and she is quite relieved to be done with the major undertaking.

"I feel really good about them," she said. "It's been worth the effort and time that went into them."