Fit to Be Tied – Another Memorabilia Quilt

A lady contacted me a while ago, referred by a member of my Guild (Asheville Quilt Guild) whom she approached at an expo, looking for a brave and conscientious quilter who could turn her husband’s 12-lb bucketful of discarded neckties into a quilt. She had been trying to find someone who would do the project, and when my Guild colleague informed her that I was sort of known in the Guild for successfully completing these types of projects, she gave me a ring. We met, discussed pattern, size, etc. and I was off and running. Next, I received the most outrageously large and diverse quantity of ties, of every material, texture, and color imaginable, plus a large package containing 5 lbs of Campbell tartan that I was to integrate into the quilt as well. As can be seen in the image on the left, that’s quite a lot of fabric to make into a quilt!

Sample of Crazy Quilting

She wants it done using a “crazy quilt” technique, which will include some embroidering, with her family tartan pattern to be the center of each block.

Detail of my earlier attempt

I myself undertook a similar project of making a quilt using ties a couple of years ago. It’s amazing how many neckties men can acquire in just a few years, so I also had a huge pile of raw materials to work with, as it were!

I wasn’t too happy with that first attempt, but I also didn’t have a lot of experience working with unconventional materials. I took that first project apart in the hopes of attempting it again someday. The big pile of ties is still in a box somewhere.

Here is a photo of that earlier project, however:

As can be seen from a recent posting, people are very fond of commemorating their cast-off garments into quilts. Whether baby clothes, T Shirts, or ties, folks don’t really want to let go of their old things, especially when they belong or have belonged to a loved one! That was of course part of my reason for attempting my very own tie quilt to begin with, but it also is the reason why one of my earliest quilts consisted of my husband’s old T shirts.

So I am really not surprised at this woman’s request, and I also feel grateful that I have successfully made a niche market for myself as the Quilting Upcycler of Memorabilia. Not only is this in some business-y way a useful thing, but in terms of always having fun and interesting challenges, I enjoy the work.

I guess I’ve developed a knack for making cohesive quilts out of disparate elements and ideas, plus I have a philosophical interest in breathing new life into things. I also have trouble “coloring within the lines,” as it were, much preferring to do my own thing when it comes to following specific patterns. It is also, I suspect, why I do so love the Modern Quilting Movement, which is firmly based on improvisational quilting (or I should say, piecing).

So here is my second attempt at making a quilt out of ties, and I do hope that I am happy with this one, so that the client will be as well. The Tartan is a nice unifying theme that might help where the previous tie quilt fell short due to too much going on.

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