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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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 :-)

scrappy string quilt

scrappy string quilt

After my last few projects, I realized I had an abundance of scraps.  Fortunately, I love to play with scraps!  I had this idea that I would make something along the lines of Charlie Brown’s t-shirt – a bit of a zigzag.  Instead of making it all scrappy, I had some blue fabric that I thought might work as the center to create the zigzag line.  Full disclose: the blue fabric was what was going to be a summer dress.  After two pattern alterations (one with the professional advice of my mom), the darn dress still didn’t fit so I gave it up and threw it in my stash.  It was very cathartic to cut up the remains of that dress and put it to use in this project!  I have to admit, this is one of my most favorite quilts that I’ve made so far.  Fortunately, I still have a ton of that blue fabric left over and I am always making more scraps!

scrappy string quilt

I purposefully made the blue strips uneven widths so as to add to the wonkiness scrappiness of the quilt. I think it works!

scrappy string quilt

scrappy string quilt

The back is some Marimekko yardage that I got for cheap at the Crate & Barrel Outlet.  It’s a bit heavier than quilting cotton so it was a dream to quilt – no puckers!  The quilting is very simple – I did a single line through all of the blue fabric and then another single line the opposite way.

scrappy string quilt

I love how this quilt came out and was so pleased with the process that I’ve lost a bit of my “sewing mojo”.  I’m slogging through my latest quilt . . .

half-rectangle quilt

half-rectangle quilt

My mom and I are new members of the New England Quilt Museum.  Last month we went to check out a couple of exhibits and as we entered, we were asked “Are you here to see the quilts or the fabric sale?”  Fabric sale?!?  Apparently we picked the one Saturday they have each year to hold a gigantic fabric sale.  We checked out the exhibits and yes, went to the sale – it was for a good cause, after all :-)  The idea was to fill a bag for $X, with all the money going back to the museum.  This was one of the most exciting and overwhelming experiences I’ve ever had as a quilter!  So much fabric!  So many decisions to make!  I’m so picky!  And I didn’t really have any quilts on my to do list, so I couldn’t imagine what I’d do with all of the fabric!  We each ended up with ~7lbs of fabric and as a testament to how stressed it made me feel to have that much fabric in my home, I bored my bf to tears with taking about my anxiety over it all weekend.

So I did what any self-respecting quilter would do – I whipped together a quick quilt just to get some of that 7lbs of fabric out of my house!  It’s a half-rectangle quilt and due to the fabric that was available at the sale, is kind of a throwback to all those calico quilts the pioneer women made.

half-rectangle quilt

I swapped a couple of rows to make them upside down just to make the quilt a little more interesting.

half-rectangle quilt

half-rectangle quilt

Isn’t this backing wild?  It’s from IKEA and I just love it.  I love how traditional the front of the quilt it and how modern the back is.

half-rectangle quilt

If you look in the upper right corner of this picture, you can see a stack of fabric on top of a plastic bag.  The bag has all of my quilts that are ready to be turned into Project Linus; the stack of fabric is just *some* of what I got at the sale.  Eeep – time to make more quilts!

quilting guilt

Sometimes I feel guilty that I’m not working on a super complex, thousand piece quilt, with the latest and greatest fabrics. Or maybe it’s not all guilt, but envy too. The truth is, that I can’t run out and buy fabric whenever I want to; I kind of have to work with what I have and use what I have, which tends to be leftovers from previous projects. This means that I plan my quilts around what I have and what’s possible with the materials available to me without buying yardage because I need it or just because I like it. As a result, my “want to make” list is a lot longer than is currently feasible (seriously – lately I’ve been obsessed (obsessed!) with making a lonestar quilt!) with what I have and that means that I end up making something simple because fabric limits are well, pretty limiting.

On the other hand, sometimes making something quick and easy is just what I need – something that I can work on while letting my mind process everything else that’s stressing me out.  Like this quilt:
fat quarter quilt

I’m almost embarrassed at how easy this quilt was to make – I just used scraps and fat quarters.  The larger squares are 8″ and the smaller triangles started out as 4″ squares.  Green is my least favorite color but oddly, I had a bunch of green fat quarters that I’m not sure I would have ever found the desire to cut into them, had I not had the blue scraps to match with.  I kind of love how it turned out.

fat quarter quilt

The binding is mega-scrappy.  Seriously, there must be close to 30 separate pieces in that binding!  They all match the fabric on the front of the quilt.  I did the double-fold method of binding and I’m much happier with how it came out this time.  It’s such a neat and tidy finish.

fat quarter quilt

I had nearly a solid piece of yardage for the back that I’ve had for a long time, but it wasn’t quite enough.  So I cut it up and added the veggies in the corner.

fat quarter quilt

The black has a really cute button pattern on it!  And the veggies are left over for some napkins I made as a gift for Christmas.

fat quarter quilt

I tried a little “free hand straight line quilting” on this one.  Yikes.  Not my best work.  I need to think more about planning out how I’m going to do the quilting before I feed it through my machine.  I took an intro to longarm quilting class recently and it totally blew my mind!  I’d never even seen a longarm machine before the class and only had a rudimentary understanding of what longarm quilting meant.  I’m hoping to transfer some of those skills to what I can do on my trusty Janome.

fat quarter quilt

This quilt is for Project Linus.  I’ve only made four quilts for Project Linus since last summer.  I can’t believe last year around this time I was finishing up my 10th!