necktie label zipper bag

necktie label zipper bag

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 :-)

necktie label zipper bag

necktie label zipper bag

I love that there are 5 labels from The Torrington Shop!  I remember it being a mecca for all things Connecticut preppy :-)

necktie label zipper bag

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bear paw quilt

Bear Paw Quilt

Since I donate most of the quilts I made to Project Linus, I sometimes feel a little guilty, like I’m sending them my experiments rather than my best work or something that’s more appropriate for a child.  So I made a more traditional quilt – one that was made specifically for Project Linus: a bear paw quilt!  In pink!  As it turns out, I had a LOT of pink in my stash – odd, since I don’t really think of myself as a “pink person”.  Guess I’m a “pink quilter” though?

Though it looks like there are a million pieces in this quilt – well, there kind of are – it came together really quickly.  The hardest part was making sure all of the “paws” were facing in the right direction.  Once I had the blocks sewn I was kind of shocked at how big it was going to be.  I almost made it into two small quilts but left it at one huge quilt.  I had no regrets about the size until I went to quilt it – this really stretched my ability to wrestle a quilt through my machine.  As a result, the quilting is a little wonky.

bear paw quilt

bear paw quilt

bear paw quilt

bear paw quilt

This was a really fun quilt to make and I love all of the pink :-)  Hopefully it will find a new home soon!

necktie quilt

lonestar quilt of neckties

I remember my grandfather as being a sharp dresser.  I don’t ever remember seeing him in jeans or an old t-shirt, even when working in the yard or doing something messy.  In my memory, he always wore khakis, an oxford shirt and a sweater vest.  When he dressed up, he wore ties.  He had quite a collection of ties that my brother took after my grandfather died.  My brother is an engineer and leans towards cargo pants and polo shirts when he dresses up, so I couldn’t imagine what he was going to do with them.  Evidently, my brother didn’t know what to do with them either as they sat in a couple of grocery bags in his closet for almost ten years.

Over the years I’ve thought about making a quilt out of those neckties but there were always more urgent quilts to make.  While at my brother’s house last year I asked him if he was ever going to use the neckties for anything.  He said No and I offered to make him a quilt out of my grandfather’s ties.  The bags of ties sat on the floor of my sewing room for about 6 months until I worked out the pattern and summoned up the courage to cut into them.

I chose a lonestar pattern – the third that I’ve made (with modifications!).  This was the first memory quilt (well, maybe second, if you could the t-shirt quilt I made out of my triathlon shirts) and I was a little nervous about ruining the ties and working with a different type of fabric.  Though the quilt is made of neckties, I didn’t necessarily want it to *look* like it was made of neckties.  This was a really really fun project and a big learning project and confidence booster for me.

This quilt was also a lot of work!  I first washed and dried all of the ties (yes, I just threw them in the washer and drier – just added soap!).  Then I opened the ties up and took them apart.  Then a quick pressing and adding of interfacing.  I think cut the ties to size and started sewing them together – once you’ve affixed the interfacing, it’s *just like fabric* haha!  I loosely followed this blog post on how to work with the ties (again, with my own modifications and shortcuts).  One thing I didn’t anticipate was, even after washing and drying the ties, I could still smell my grandfather’s pipe when I took the ties apart.

necktie quilt

I was so psyched to finally have quilt top!  By this point, I had already fallen head over heels with this quilt :-)

necktie quilt

My brother is over 6″ tall so I had to add a lot of borders to the top.  I had always planned to longarm the quilt and my resolve was strengthened once I realized the top was so big I could barely lay it out on the floor of my sewing room!

necktie quilt

For the quilting, I just kind of meandered around the quilt.  If I was more confident in my longarm skills and more patient with using the machine, I probably would have done something different.  I think the meandering works.

necktie quilt

necktie quilt

The back is pretty simple – the green fabric is some old Marimekko fabric I had and I think it works well with the simpler fabric on the right.

necktie quilt

necktie quilt

I think it goes without saying that I LOVE how this quilt came out!  I am so proud of it and I am so happy that I was able to use my grandfather’s ties in a way that will be used for (hopefully) many years to come by my brother and sister-in-law.  This is the first quilt that I’ve made that I was a little sad to let go of but I’m thrilled to pieces that I’ll be able to visit it every time I visit my brother :-)

postage stamp quilt

postage stamp quilt

When I first started quilting almost 9 (!!) years ago, I got it in my head that I wanted to make a postage stamp quilt.  While there’s some variation, postage stamp quilts are mostly made of 2.5″ squares.  In my enthusiasm, I started keeping a couple of squares from nearly all projects that I made until I had what seemed like a lot of squares.  I started to sew them together in groups or nine and realized that “a lot” of 2.5″ squares sewed together doesn’t necessarily become a standard sizes quilt.  So I kept saving these squares and, every so often, sewing them together.

A couple of weeks ago, my mom and I painted my sewing room and as I was emptying the room, I decided that I had enough and I would just make a quilt from whatever I had.  Well, I had enough for one and a half quilts (of course!) :-)  So as soon as I could get back into my sewing room, I made my first postage stamp quilt.  This one has 1,080 squares (that’s no typo – just a measure of my (in)sanity!).  It was actually pretty fun to put together and I love how it came out!  My only hope is that it doesn’t take me another 9 years to have enough squares to finish the second quilt!

I tried my best with these pictures – it’s remarkably hard to take a good picture of a quilt with so many tiny pieces and retain the depth at the same time.

postage stamp quilt

Not only is the top made of scrap squares, but the batting is a bunch of larger size pieces.

postage stamp quilt

postage stamp quilt

There is a scrap from my very first quilt right in the center of this picture (between the green and blue squares):

postage stamp quilt

I pieced the back to use up some larger size pieces of fabric.  For the quilting, I just did a single diagonal lines in both directions.

postage stamp quilt

Honestly, the most time-consuming part of making this quilt was collecting the 2.5″ squares!  Once you have them sewn in blocks of nine, it comes together really quickly, I promise :-)

black/red/yellow stars

I’ve been spending a lot of time in the library searching for more traditional patterns for inspiration.  I found a great book, Quilts Quilts Quilts by Diane McClun and Laura Nownes, which has some of the patterns that I’m particularly interested in.  Does it take you a long time to think about the construction of a quilt and the colors?  Sometimes I think I spend more time thinking about my projects during the planning phase than I do actually making the quilt!  I didn’t really have anything pressing on my “to make” list, so I thought I’d make the star sampler with the pattern from the book.  A friend recently gave me some random fabric that I wasn’t in love with, so the colors (red, black and yellow) self-selected.  I would not say I followed the pattern exactly – what a surprise! haha – mostly because I am not very careful while sewing HST’s and I need a lot of trim allowance.  Believe it or not, all of the blocks were supposed to be 14″ square.  As you can see, only two achieved that size.

IMG_0291

I used up a lot of random pieces on the back.  I kind of love the back?

IMG_0292

I had fun making the quilt but I neither love it nor hate it. I feel like this quilt can be filed under the “I made a quilt and it was ok” category.  I guess some quilts are like that?  :-)