Nellie"s Needles

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Handkerchief Quilts

A number of years ago my friend had viewed a traveling exhibit in Milwaukee of quilts made with handkerchiefs. This prompted her to give the book about the exhibition, "Handkerchief Quilts" by Pat Long Gardner, to me along with her own collection. They were souveneirs from her brother who brought them back from AFS trips abroad during the 1950's. I made a wall hanging as a Christmas present for her several years ago with one that came from France. I was so pleased to have the most appropriately printed fabric for the inner border already in my stash. It also happened that there was the striped fabric on my shelves for the outer border that perfectly matched the colors in the handkerchief as well. It is hand-quilted.
Recently I made this piece using her hanky that had come from Germany.The border is a silk crepe scarf belonging to a lady who is one-hundred years old. I combined the two in this piece to honor the wonderful, caring friendship between my friend and her friend, Alice.
I wanted to retain the scarf's identity by keeping the original hem finish. To accomplish this I couched a finer orange yarn a 1/2" from the hemmed edge. The seam line on the back gave me a guide as well as a place to blind-stitch hem the backing in place. This left the original edge of the scarf to "flutter" but still stand up on the top of the piece.
The scarf border is machine quilted along the zig-zag lines and yarn is couched over the straigt lines. A fine rayon flat cord is couched over the lines between the cards in the handkerchief. I then zig-zag stitched between two fine lines that were printed around the outside edge of each card.

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Gerry said...

These are both lovely pieces. The zodiac squares are very nice.

Anonymous said...

I really like both of these but that second one is superb! What a great use for the vintage textiles. Just lovely!

Shelina said...

These are both great. I like the first one the best. What a lovely border fabric!
I have a couple of scarves that I thought would look great turned into quilts. How do you do that? Do you use a stabilizer? Do you zigzag it down on top of the border fabric, or do you sew it on like piecing?

Nellie's Needles said...

In reply to Shelina.

I starch the handkerkchief, making sure it is squared when I iron it.

In the first quilt the hanky was trimmed and sewn to the borders. All the border fabrics were stripped together and then miter cut for each side and seamed.

In the second quilt the hanky was appliqued with a straight stitch on top of the scarf. I purposefully kept the original edge finish on both pieces to maintain their identity. The scarf was cut away under the hanky.

The two important things:
Starch - I use spray on the wrong side and more than one coat.

Keeping everything square. It helps to iron on a padded blocking board that has lines drawn on it.