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Grandpa's Neckties

by Nova Hughes
(Bolckow MO)

I have NEVER used a sewing machine in my life. But I've wanted to learn how to sew in the last 4-5 years.

When my grandpa passed at 96 years old, we were going through his stuff and I wanted his ties to "make something". I had no idea what - so the search was on (for a non-sewer).

I found the quilt ideas and fell in love. Surely I could learn how to sew. I searched for patterns, but only found basic tutorials. By trial and error, I made my own patterns and proceeded.

I washed a dried all the ties at the hottest settings. If something was going to happen to them, I wanted it to happen now - not after they were on a quilt. I took the ties apart and was able to get 2-4 ties out of each regular tie with the pattern I created.

I bought shirts to match the ties at the DAV (disabled veterans) store. I was able to get about 2 shirt squares from each shirt. I then cut the shirt "collars" from the shirts also.

I went and bought a sewing machine and got started.

Through lots of online tutorials on how to sew - I started piecing the ties to the shirts. I then sewed the shirts to the "runners" (sorry, I'm probably using the wrong word there).

I ended up with 7 quilt toppers. Wow! That will be enough for me, my sisters and my cousins. I cannot wait to get them finished so we can all have a memory to hold onto forever.

Then the quilt sandwich ad quilting (all from online tutorials) - the first wasn't the best - but I made it. It does have some puckers. :(

I'm working on the 2nd one at the moment.

Since the shirts are all different colors - I wanted an invisible thread for the top. Through this web sites suggestions I went with the YLI nylon invisible thread. I am struggling "big time" with it bird nesting on the bottom. I'm assuming that's because I have to have my tension lessened. I have tried everything I have found suggestions for on the internet - and will just quit for a while because it's so frustrating. :(

I am only doing straight line quilting. I tried some freehand on scraps, but I just do not have what it takes yet to accomplish a decent look.

Here is a picture of my first quilt. I'm sure a lot of you will cringe - and that's ok - I'm cringing too. LOL. But - I got it done and I'm hoping with each quilt I will improve on my technique.

Thank you for letting me share. :)

Comments for Grandpa's Neckties

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Jul 30, 2017
Avoiding "bird nests" technique
by: SueJean

Hey Nova,

I see you've finished your project, but I wanted to send an idea that might help with future projects. One way of avoiding "thread clumps" I just started using is to use a scrap piece a material to keep sewing onto once you've finished your seam. It's common in chain piecing. Since you don't cut the thread between pieces, it doesn't clump up. I learned the technique from Bonnie Hunter's Quiltville blog but it's an old habit many people use. Bonnie calls it using "leaders" and "enders". It helped me stop that from happening. Great quilt!

Apr 17, 2017
Thank you
by: Anonymous

Thank you for all the kind comments and suggestions! I greatly appreciate all of them. :) I did get all 7 quilts done and delivered in January 2017.

From the Editor: You're on a roll now! Awesome job!

~ Julie

Apr 14, 2017
Very nice
by: Anonymous

What a marvelous idea, and I admire your tenacity to make it happen! Keep up with the good work.

P.S. Almost nobody but you will notice your mistakes. These keepsakes are loved, whether perfect or not.

From the Editor: I totally agree with you!

~ Julie

Jan 14, 2017
by: Marsha

Such a sweet tribute to a man whom you obviously loved. Welcome to quilting!

Dec 22, 2016
Your 1st quilt
by: Diane

This looks like a wonderful first attempt (or a 2nd or 3rd or ...) Creative design.

Only one suggestion: be cognizant of color values.

The top left tie is hard to see because it blends in with the shirt. That might be ok to wear, but not so much in a quilt.

You are off to a great start in quilting. Keep up the good work.

Dec 01, 2016
Great idea!
by: Donna Church

I am a beginner Quilter myself, as well as a new grandma, so I've been testing the waters with baby girl quilts. My first quilt was pretty crooked and my daughter loved it. She said that the crooked lines and imperfections are what made it so special (bless her heart).

Anyways I just wanted to say that I think no matter how puckered you may think your quilt is, the purpose behind it is what makes it so special besides it looks pretty darn good.

Thanks for your inspiration!



Nov 21, 2016
Thank you!
by: Nova

Thank you all for your encouragement and compliments. I appreciate it all!

Oct 25, 2016
Good on you!
by: Cheryl

Your quilt/s are amazing. Such a difficult task for a first quilt. My father passed away in 1999 and in my sewing box I have had stored since then some of his ties and shirts with a quilt in mind. I haven't been sure how to go about it. You have given me the solution. This is not my first quilt either.

Thank you so much.

Well done.

Oct 20, 2016
Good Job!
by: Jacque

How sweet and thoughtful of you! Now you have a lifetime of memories of your grandpa.. great job! Keep up the good work!
I too am learning more and more about quilting everyday.. it's so much fun!

Oct 20, 2016
Good Work
by: Anonymous

I think it looks very nice and the design is good. Sashing is the word you want for the runners. Sashing is between blocks and borders go around the outside of the whole quilt, so you have both. On the bird's nests, for me it's usually thread or lint in the bobbin area or under the throat plate. I have always used regular thread in the bobbin, in a neutral color. It will hardly show, especially if it's thin (like 60-weight). Don't know if that will help, but it might.

Oct 20, 2016
by: Anonymous

Amazing! WOW!!!! I like the pattern you chose and your colors and your quilting and your bravery and tenacity.

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