Quilt Care Instructions

I’ve gotten into the habit of adding care instructions with all of the quilts I make for others. It is a simple list of rules that should be followed to care for a quilt but I can honestly admit I break most of them. For instance, I always put my quilts in the dryer because I like the shriveled look and I usually add fabric softener to make them soft. I know I’ve pulled a thread or two when I’m too lazy to get up and hunt for scissors but the one thing I always do is wash my quilts in cold water. The instructions I include are below:

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I print these instructions on decorative printer paper that fits the holiday or season the quilt is given. I started doing this after attending an open sewing group at my LQS and hearing the ladies speaking of things that had ruined their quilts in the past. They all agreed that fabric softener was the biggest no-no so I try not to use it every time I wash a quilt. One lady even admitted to never washing her quilts, just hanging them on a line outside to freshen them. That wouldn’t work for me because I have a Labrador Retriever and two cats that sleep on my bed. I’m curious to know if you have any special care instructions for your quilts?

Why Do You Quilt?

One day while sitting on the beach admiring the ocean my cousin (whom I love like a sister) asked me this question. She wondered why out of all of the hobbies and activities in this world I chose quilting as mine. I was in my early 30’s at the time so it probably seemed like an odd hobby to her being in her 20’s. The answer for me is the same now as it was then; because I love it! It’s a passion not just a hobby! Quilting relaxes me (most days) and keeps me sane. No amount of therapy could do for me what quilting has done. There is nothing more rewarding than finishing a quilt and gifting it to someone who will truly appreciate it. I rarely quilt for money because I don’t want it to turn into a job and have deadlines. Some days I will work in my sewing room for 12 hours straight barely stopping to eat and then other times I have dry spells where I don’t sew at all. It usually doesn’t last long though and I find myself looking through a new book and pulling fabrics to start on my next project. I love knowing that one day when I’m gone, my children and grandchildren will have quilts that I have made to remember me by. Everyone in my house fights over the quilts that my great grandmother made because they are so worn and soft! I can only hope that one day my future grandchildren will do the same!

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Even the cats fight for space on my Grandmother’s quilt!

Finished T-Shirt Quilt

I finally finished my son’s t-shirt quilt last night (remember I am slow at hand sewing). He loves it and can’t wait to use it on his dorm bed.

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View of quilting on back of quilt

Today I had an easy job, I monogrammed towels for him to take to college. He wasn’t excited about me embroidering his towels but I am only putting one small letter (last name initial) on each one so if someone has the same towels, he can quickly recognize his. He will be sharing a bathroom with 3 other young men and I know things will get mixed up!

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I used a satin fill stitch and a basic font in Monogram Wizard Plus called Gregory. I wanted to use a monochromatic thread but the closest I had was lighter than the towels. Not wanting to make a trip to my LQS I decided to use it. I think they look classy and not feminine which is what he was worried about.

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Now I can get back to work on my 3 fabric Bargello quilt. We leave in a few days to take our son to school so I probably won’t have time to get a lot done on it but will look forward to finishing it when we get back from Wake Forest. When that is done, it will be time to start my favorite sewing of the year, Christmas gifts!

T-Shirt Quilt Continued…

I’m still working on the t-shirt quilt for my son. I added the borders and got it quilted over the weekend. I added the binding this morning and now it’s time to hand sew the binding to the back which takes me forever! I am so slow with hand work, I would never have the patience to hand quilt like my grandmother did! The quilt turned out to be 102”x70” which is a good size since my son is almost 7 feet tall (6’8 to be exact and still growing). I loaded it sideways on the longarm machine because it’s much easier to work across a long row instead of starting and stopping constantly.

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I’m not happy with the backing of the quilt but there is nothing I can do about it now. I went to my local quilt shop on Saturday to buy wide backing so I wouldn’t have to piece it (I’m on a very tight time schedule). I guess we had a miscommunication about yardage because when I got home and loaded the quilt on my machine I was short about 15” of backing fabric. I take full responsibility for the mistake because I have been overwhelmed with everything going on trying to get my son ready for school. My LQS is about an hour and a half round trip and it’s closed on Sundays so I went to Walmart and bought a sheet to use for the back rather than waiting and making another trip. I’ve used sheets in the past but to get the color I wanted I had to buy a (more expensive) brand that I have never used before. It has a sateen finish and the tension on my longarm really gave me problems, most likely because the sheet has a very high thread count. I finally worked through the problem using King Tut thread and loosening my thread tension and roller tension. (I have a bad habit of rolling my quilts too tight!) Tonight I have a date with a needle and thread. I’m going to put on a good movie, fix a cup of coffee and start sewing…

T-shirt Quilt

Our youngest son will be leaving for college very soon. I have offered many times to make a quilt for his dorm room bed and he has declined every time. I was okay with that even though I have been saving his t-shirts since he was 10 years old to make him a quilt. While going through his clothes to see what was needed for school, he was sad that many of his favorite shirts were too small and decided that he did want a t-shirt quilt after all! Of course that meant that I had to put everything on hold (sorry 3 fabric bargello) and get busy!

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I quickly cut them up and ironed on a lightweight stabilizer.

His dorm bed is a twin XL so luckily it’s not a large quilt. I had to make a trip to my LQS because he couldn’t find anything in my stash that he liked for the sashing and borders. Before sewing on sashing, I like to arrange the squares on the floor in a pleasing order.

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I don’t use a pattern for my t-shirt quilts because I like them to look very random. I cut them into different size squares and use sashing on the sides of each block to make them the size of the largest block in each row. Then I piece them vertically instead of horizontally with sashing between each block. I use color coded sticky dots to number my rows and blocks so if they get out of order, I can quickly figure out where they go. Sometimes I get lazy with this step and just take a pic with my cell phone of the layout before piecing.

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After sewing, I press the seams open because they can get a little bulky with the t-shirts and stabilizer.

I got a little emotional cutting up some of his shirts because it hit me that he is leaving and we will be empty nesters in the very near future. I have been a homeschool mom for 12 years and I am excited to see the plans that God has for his future but sad that he is leaving. He will be attending college out of state and will be about 5 1/2 hours away from home.

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Below is a pic of my progress so far. I still have to sew on the final borders, quilt and bind it. We leave in one week to take him to school and I also have to get him packed and organized during the week as well. I will update with a pic when finished…

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Peter Rabbit Cross Stitch Quilt

I was recently asked to finish a cross stitched quilt top and I have to share it because it is so beautiful! The cross stitch blocks were started over 30 years ago when the maker was pregnant with her daughter. After working on it for several years, she put it away but never forgot about it. This past Christmas, after having back surgery, she decided to finish the blocks and have it made into a quilt for her grandson.

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I was very nervous because I have never quilted anything this special before. I cleaned my long arm machine very well and practiced quilting on counted cross stitch fabric to be sure the tension and settings on my machine were correct. I also experimented with a few different threads until I found one that I liked (OESD). I used a low loft 100% cotton batting by Quilter’s Dream and did a free-motion, edge to edge meander leaving the cross stitch designs untouched.

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I cut the binding strips 2 1/4” and hand sewed them to the back of the quilt. I also added a large sleeve because this is going to be a wall hanging.

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For the finishing touch, a monogram was added with the baby’s initials in the bottom right corner. I used the Serif motif in Monogram Wizard Plus and used satin fill stitches because it complimented the cross stitch design very nicely.

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My husband and I decorated our first child’s nursery in Beatrix Potter’s Peter Rabbit 22 years ago. It was done with a Peter Rabbit border and baby blue striped wallpaper. This quilt would have been gorgeous hanging over his crib! Maybe I’ll make one for my first grandchild but the blocks will have to be embroidered with the designs instead of cross stitched because I would never have the patience to finish this!

Memory Quilts

I love making memory quilts (quilts from clothing of deceased loved ones). I usually spend my time praying and reflecting on the life of the lost loved one while sewing. We recently lost my husband’s step father and it has devastated my mother-in-law. They were married for 39 years so I can’t imagine the loss she is feeling right now. I made a memory quilt out of my father in law’s shirts and I’m going to give it to her for her birthday.

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When making memory quilts I don’t like to use any fabric on the top except the loved ones clothing if possible. I think this is important to me because that was the request of the first one I ever made. My friend asked me to simply cut squares out of her mom’s shirts and sew them together. I like to keep them simple so the clothing is the main focus, not the design or the quilting. There have been several exceptions to this, one time I embroidered each square of a quilt with Winnie the Pooh characters to match an article of clothing for a child’s memory quilt. Sometimes people only have one or two articles of clothing so I have to add other fabric but I always make sure they choose it. If they want a pattern I try to lead them to a pattern with large blocks to get the most out of the clothing being used. I’ve also had requests to print pictures of loved ones onto fabric and add them into the quilt which I love to do. Although I enjoy making flashy, fun and whimsical quilts I also love the simplicity of a memory quilt!

 

 

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Quilts 009 (478x640)

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