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