Friday, June 29, 2012

Not so much "scrappy", but . . .

I've really fallen behind on my scrap busting commitment. As June comes to an end, I haven't even started this month's project. In fact, I haven't done any quilting this month except for one project. Even though it's not a true scrap buster, I think there may still be a couple of people who are interested in this. So I'd like to share what I did.

A friend of my mother's contacted me to see if I could make a quilt for her using old family handkerchiefs that her mother, grandmother and other family members made. Of course, I hesitated because of the sentimental value, not to mention these items are irreplaceable. She assured me that this is what she truly wanted to do and, if something happened to them, she was okay with that.

She sent me a small box of 25 or so hankies, a couple of doilies and one hand-embroidered cuff from an old pillow case. It was embroidered with the letter "B", the first letter of her maiden name. She asked if I could add that as some sort of focal point.

I didn't take pictures of the assortment of hankies or my work along the way, because it didn't even occur to me that I might want to share this. (Lesson learned - always take pictures. You can delete them later if you don't want them.)

These hankies varied in size from about 8" square to maybe 12 or 13" square. I don't think any two were exactly the same size! So after several days of trying to fold them or fan them, I gave up and cut them. They were so different in design that I needed some consistency in size. I cut them into quarters like this  (I'll illustrate with a poorly hand-drawn hanky):

And then I trimmed each quarter down to 4-1/4" square, trimming away the inside part:

and used a spritz of 505 to temporarily adhere them to the 6-1/2" blocks I had cut. Then I stitched along the two finished edges of each with a very small zig-zag stitch (the raw edges would be caught later when I stitched the blocks together.

I stitched the 4 blocks of each hanky together, matching the finished edges and trying to match any designs in the hankies that I could. I also stitched the pillow case letter to a couple of blocks and split a doily  in half to add to each outer edge (see photo). This made the letter stand out in the center of the quilt.

I sewed all the blocks together and then quilted it. I did a free-motion meander stitch all around the hankies. And I quilted a grid pattern on each hanky to "hide" the seam lines.

On the back, I added a label with the date it was made. I put the label on another piece of fabric that would become a pocket and added velcro to the top edge (and also on the quilt back). I stitched the pocket to the quilt on 3 sides, leaving the velcro edge open.

I included a piece of fabric (that I serged around the edges and ironed to a piece of freezer paper*) and a micron pen (won't run) with a note that if she wanted, she could write a little history about the hankies on the fabric and then remove it from the freezer paper and heat set the ink with a hot iron. The note could then be tucked inside the pocket. That way if it gets washed with the quilt, it will still be readable - unlike a piece of paper. Bonus: the story will be in her own hand-writing!

(*the freezer paper stabilizes the fabric and make it easier to write on)

I sure hope she likes it!


  1. I love how you incorporated the hankies into being a part of the quilt. It looks great and I'm sure the recipient will just love it!

    1. Thanks so much Rosemary! Seems like everyone has Grandma's hankies and doilies - I think this could work for either.

  2. You've taken some treasures and turned them into an heirloom. It's a great way to preserve memories of someone special. I'm sure your friend will love it. I think preparing a pocket with a label for her to write on was pure genius. Thanks for sharing.

    1. What a kind comment, Katie. Thanks for following!