I became obsessed with the Tree of Life Quilt while watching Alias Grace on Netflix earlier this year. Quilts are an important feature of the series (and book) and I’d love to make versions of all of the quilts mentioned in the show/book. I became so obsessed, I even took a picture of my tv!
After declaring that I was going to make this quilt, I saw it again, this time at the Museum of Russian Icons in Clinton, MA.
Since this is a very traditional pattern, I found it in a lot of books at the library. I didn’t love how most of the patterns were written, so I created my own. In case you’re wondering, each block had 84 pieces – total madness but very fun to make! I’m sure there is an easier way to draft this pattern but my quilt math is a little sketchy.
I followed my usual method of “throw a bunch of fabric on the floor that I want to use and I think kind of works together and stare at it for a week and adjust as needed”. I love how the fabrics work together!!
Despite the madness of working with a billing 2.5″ squares, this was super fun to make and I love how it turned out! I just picked my machine up from getting serviced and after a little quilting break, I am ready to get back to sewing!
Since my pink/red/black scrap quilt was so fun, I decided to make another in blue/green/yellow. I barely planned this out and realized only a few blocks in that I didn’t have as many blues and greens in the right shades. Why knew there were so many shades of blue and green?! I threw in a bit of yellow and some other random scraps so make it work. To be honest, as individual blocks, this quilt didn’t work at all so I was really nervous to put the blocks together. Fortunately, my eye and brain were wrong and it worked out!
I used the same technique as the last quilt – I just sewed scraps together until I had blocks that were slightly larger than 6″ and then trimmed them to size. These are very fun to make and I plan to make more when I have more scraps!
For the back, I went with my old favorite “use whatever is left from the quilt top and add in whatever larger scraps until I have the right size”. I should patent that technique, right? :-)
I know I say this with almost all of my finished quilts, but I really love how this one came out!
After my first two projects with my grandfather’s old neckties (seen here and here), I still had a few left over so I decided to make a small wall hanging for myself. When I first looked for ideas for quilt patterns for the neckties, I found a lot of samples of Dresden blocks/quilts. Since I didn’t have too many ties left, I thought making one Dresden square would be perfect.
There are a million Dresden patterns on the internet, but I used this one. It was very easy to follow except for two small problems. The first problem is that evidently, interfacing can lose its stickiness over time. Or at least this was the case with what I had in my stash? It was a nightmare to work with and no amount of watering or pressing would get it to stick. This caused the neckties to pull a bit when sewing them together.
The second problem is that I never use a true 1/4″ seam. I hope this confession doesn’t get me kicked out quilt club! :-) I just follow the right side of my sewing foot as my seam allowance. I’ve always done this and as long as I always use that as my seam allowance measurement, I’ve never had a problem. My blocks/quilts come out a little smaller than they are supposed to but I don’t really see that as a “problem.” The problem with the Dresden block is that is there is no wiggle room among the blades to be off in your measurements. As a result, I made what I believe to be the first Dresden oval :-) I should have trimmed each quarter of the Dresden instead of both halves of the Dresden. It looks a bit like it should be framing a mirror. I’m kind of annoyed by this but it’s only going on my wall so I’m chalking it up as a “learning moment”. And no, I am not going to change how I measure seam allowances, unless it’s a project that built around a finite amount of wedges.
It doesn’t look horrible, it just didn’t come out the way it was supposed to. And since the point of the project was to make something with my grandfather’s neckties I still like how it came out and love seeing it on my wall.
The back is a random Hawaiian shirt fabric that picked up somewhere. I like the fabric but couldn’t imaging using it for a quilt so it’s kind of perfect for this project.
It’s been really fun working with my grandfather’s neckties, but alas, I’m out of necktie scraps and it’s time to move on. I love that my brother, my mom and I all have a piece of them.
I had a ton of pink scraps left over after making the bear claw quilt so I decided to just “play” and make a mega-scrapy quilt in pink, red, white and black. There’s not much I can explain about how I made this quilt – I just started sewing pieces together and/or cutting from larger pieces to have just the right sized scrap. I sewed the scraps together in blocks of 6″ and then just sewed the blocks together. I am sure there’s a technique for sewing all the scraps together as a large amorphous piece, but I found it easier to work in 6″ blocks. It also helped keeping the colors even-ish throughout the whole quilt. I didn’t spend a lot of time on the layout of the blocks – I think the final quilt was my first attempt – when you’re working with so many scraps, it really doesn’t matter how they’re laid out! This was a super fun quilt to make :-)
Despite using up a ton of pink fabric, I still had plenty left over so I used it all to piece the back. I am happy to report that I now have just 6 pink scraps left!
This quilt was so much fun to make that I am making a second one, this time in blues, greens, and yellows. It’s addicting to just keep sewing random pieces together and seeing how they turn out!
I saved as many of the labels from my grandfather’s neckties as I could and made them into a quick zipper bag for my mom. My grandfather’s ties are like the gift that keeps on giving!
I hadn’t originally planned to make a zipper bag – I had thought that I would try to incorporate them into the quilt somehow. Unfortunately, a lot of the labels fell off in the wash or were ruined so I didn’t have enough to make an impactful section on the quilt. So I decided my mom needed a piece of this project and made a zipper bag. I sewed some of the leftover strips of the ties together and then sewed the labels on before adding the inner pouch and the zipper. It absolutely worked out the way I hoped, even if I wish I had centered the group of labels a bit better :-)
I love that there are 5 labels from The Torrington Shop! I remember it being a mecca for all things Connecticut preppy :-)