Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Handkerchief Quilt

I think I should call it Houses made of sticks and stones.
It is truly made out of what I would have otherwise discarded in a heartbeat if it wasn't for Bonnie Hunter's lecture at our guild couple of weeks ago.
I was so impressed by her quilts, all traditional and made from scraps cut in itty-bitty pieces and strings.
I bought one of her books for some inspirations. I was already feeling as if she was speaking my language. I have hard time throwing away scraps but I end up making mostly improv string quilts with them. So after hearing her talk, I came home and decided to organize my scraps the way she explained and give a traditional quilt a try.

Well, that didn't go as well as I imagined. Few squares cut out of scraps and I was done with that "cutting up my scraps and putting them away for later use" method.
I had to make something right away. So I started this project by cutting them up into 1 1/2" strings.


The only problem, I had mix of all kinds of scraps, dull and brights. To make things easier and since I had vowed to not take contents of the scrap bins back into the sewing room, I decided to make two of the same quilts at a time. A woman's handkerchief quilt and a man's handkerchief quilt.

My husband loves the version below.
 

Current size: 22"X 45"

Needless to say, I had more of dull and old looking strings from forever ago! These blocks are the same size as the bright ones. I like the contrast and real handkerchief look of these blocks. And, in a way they are made out of sticks and stones. Almost insignificant prints and colors compare to my current taste in fabrics. I wouldn't have given them a second look. But yet, here they are... Sitting pretty next to each other.At least that's what I think.

I can easily see these quilts as an ongoing project. I am not going to rush this one. I will make these blocks as I gather scraps from my other quilts. That way I will keep my bins under control and will know exactly which quilt they will go to.

I think it's great idea! Don't you? Choose a block or a pattern, and keep cutting away pieces for that quilt.Thanks, Bonnie!

Finished block 7.5" X 7.5"

Here is how the block is made.

Start with a 3" square. The numbers in the picture represent the cut size.
The strings are 1 1/2" wide. When I cut them from leftover scraps, tried to get two strings from the same piece. For example, 3 and 4 inch and paired them up. Longer strings were cut out of longer chunks. Little ones from the smaller pieces.

You get the idea.

No rhyme or reason where they all go as long as there is some what contrast in the piecing.
That's all!

Want to make one? It goes really fast once you have cut strings. Since I am not preplanning the quilts, it will be itneresting to see how the colors and prints of the blocks evolve with time and with scraps at hand.

I guess we all will have to wait and see!

I also cut more of my red and yellow hsts.


Keeping busy while not sewing with yummy food and company of friends.
Life is good!

26 comments:

  1. Great idea! I can see this made from my string basket of random width strips, too. Keep posting; I love your work!

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  2. Thanks for sharing! I love your handkerchief blocks and look forward to seeing our finished quilts!

    I have been working with tiny scraps recently making very wonky small scale improv blocks. I like what you are doing better!

    I have tons of strips already cut, so I may try to make a few of these handkerchief blocks with strips of varying widths and see if I like them that way too...

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    1. Liz,
      I would love to see your version on this quilt. I think it is interesting that for some quilts, the prints or color don;t really matter. Varying widths of strings is a perfect way to get a unique look.
      I started a flickr group pool for this quilt. Be sure to share your pictures if you'd like.

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  3. I love these blocks... thanks so much for posting. I'm going to try making some with the oodles of strips of varying widths that i already have, instead of cutting them all down to the 1.5' size...

    Thanks for the inspiration!

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  4. Your little quilts are wonderful. I was just getting ready to make some little fall quilts from the scraps of my fall tablecloth that I just quilted. I wanted a little improvisation so I think I'll just try this idea and use the leftovers!! Thanks for your inspiration.

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  5. I love this quilt! I mean, these quilts. Although the "woman's one" is my favorite. Thanks for the instructions!

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  6. So sweet - these really look like handkerchiefs, especially the men's quilt! My dad used to have a bunch of handkerchiefs with a similar look - I remember, because I would iron them on "ironing day". Wow, that dates me...
    As always, thanks for sharing - must try this one!

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  7. I love the idea of making blocks a little along instead of indiscriminate "cutting for later" . . . developing a go-to style for future scrappy gift and donation quilts!

    Brilliant interpretation for an age-old dilemma!!

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  8. I agree about the cutting up for later use. I don't have the patience for that! But I love what you did with your random scraps. I'm inspired.

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  9. I love your hankerchief quilts. I think its so fun that you are doing two quilts using different colourways, I really like both versions. There's that beautiful bowl again, full of colourful trimmings.

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  10. They are turning out great! No wonder you can't stop at one!

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  11. Love your quilt tops. I too have a hard time with the cut up now to use later method. I see cutting as the necessary evil. I only cut when I have to.

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  12. Your versions of a Handkerchief quilt are beautiful, Sujata!
    I love your ideas and tips on using our scraps. They seem to multiply overnight :)

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  13. love these blocks you've made up, will be watching to see them made into whole projects!

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    1. Thank you! I posted another version of the blocks on http;//basketfullofscraps.blogspot.com/
      Be sure to check it out.

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  14. More fun with scraps. Your quilts are great fun. I think sewing with scraps is the most fun. PS Hit the thrift store this week, got a couple of great shirts to cut up...I'm finally giving myself permission to do it.

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  15. I'm surprised at myself, but I really love that version for your husband, even though I buy brights like crazy. fun!

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  16. You have been sewing like crazy. I love these blocks. I do prefer the muted one. You have such a unique view of traditional blocks that I just live.

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  17. Hi, Sujata. Cool quilts and of course the idea is a winner. I especially like the second one. Maybe it's because it's in "old" colors (out-of-style?) and that feels refreshing to my eye, a relief from color overload.
    best, nadia

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  18. Wow, that's beautiful! Great project to use up scraps in such a pretty way.

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  19. This is such a great idea for strings and scraps. I love that it uses up all thos narrow strings but looks so different from the traditional string quilts. I can't wait to see where these quilts evolve to.

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  20. What wonderful projects you have been working on, Sujata ! I love those handkerchief quilts and the pattern you used. I have been sorting out my boxes of scraps lately. Colourful treasures. I might well try to "compose" new mini-quilts with scraps of previous quilts. Wonderful inspiration, as always. Thanks a lot Sujata.

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  21. I have been busy making zig zag patches with my 3" wide scraps left from my binding and also cutting fabric from my scrap bins. This is another idea I where I can use up the narrower pieces. Thanks for the inspiration. With my zig zag patches I am making what I call McQuilts - small baby quilts for the local Ronald McDonald house (see posts on my blog). THis is our company's charity project for xmas this year. I have vowed to get my scrap bins under control. Thanks for the inspiration!

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  22. The quilts are gorgeous!! Bonnie has definitely made people think differently about those "scraps".
    Have a great time in India - look forward to seeing how you interpret your travel experience.

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  23. I just saw racks of handkerchiefs at the Japanese dollar store and now I am wanting to go buy them for a quilt! Like I need more fabric! I love the idea of a quilt in progress for scraps and strings! Thank you for the idea!

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  24. I saw a rug made in this pattern. Didn't know it was called handkerchief. I've always wanted to make a quilt like it!

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