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Wednesday, March 1, 2017

A Family Keepsake and NTT

Happy March, and happy NTT, y'all!  We have been getting a taste of spring around here, and I am loving it!  This week, I've been working on a very special keepsake quilt, made with a couple of my mom's old chambray shirts.  These shirts were hand embroidered by my grandmother when my mom was a teen, and my mom actually helped stitch some of the designs!  As soon as I saw the shirts, I knew this quilt needed to be made with Anna Maria Horner fabrics!

I started by cutting the shirts into useable blocks.  Most blocks finished at either 4 or 6 inches, except for Holly Hobbie in the center, which is a full 12 inches, and the row of penguins, which is 3" x 12."  Once I cut and counted the embroidery squares, I used the AMH fabrics to fill in around them, making 25 different 12" blocks.  The randomness works so well with the fun, quirky designs, and makes it look like the embroidery really belongs there.

I was even able to use the pockets, collar lapels, and the ric-rac from the bottom hem of the shirt.  Not a single bit of stitching was wasted!

You can see that these shirts were well loved.  The airplane and heart blocks were on the sleeves, and the lines you see are almost threadbare from ironing creases in them.

My very favorite design is the row of penguins.  On the shirt, they were marching from shoulder to shoulder across the back, and I think they are so cute!

I quilted this one with an all over meander in yellow thread, like blue jeans!  These shirts were very worn, so I didn't want to stitch the delicate fabric to death, but I knew that it needed enough quilting to stabilize it a little bit.

Lots of AMH leftovers went into the backing, and the chartreuse binding finishes it off!  The finished quilt measures 60" square, and I love how it turned out (my mom and grandmother do too!).  There are a couple of photos of my mom as a teen wearing these shirts while out on a date with my dad, and that alone makes this quilt special.  It's nice to know that even now, though the shirts have long been worn out, this beautiful hand work will have a new life in this quilt.

If you have some special fabrics and want to make a Keepsake quilt, I put together a graphic showing the finished block measurements to help you out (remember to add seam allowance when you cut!).  I color coded each block size, so it is easy to see how they all fit together.

Time to check out the features from last week's party!  This scrappy rainbow beauty is from Simply, Sarah-

and just look at this fantastic paper-pieced mini by Lori at Crossquilt-

and this modern pillow by Made by Chrissie D is just too much fun!  (ps- she has a tutorial for it!)

I can't wait to see what you're all working on this week!  Show me what you've got!

You can link finished projects or WIP's , but just keep it about quilting and sewing!
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  1. What a great use of Grandma's handwork! My mother embroidered bicentennial shirts for both my boys; now I want to go see if I've saved them!

  2. What a gorgeous quilt, and special heirloom! It's amazing how the vintage embroidery really does go so well with the modern AMH fabrics. Such a treasure.

  3. that quilt is amazing. I love how you mixed up all the fabrics and designs. So original. Who is keeping the quilt? You, your mom or your grandma? I'm sure all three would enjoy it!

  4. Thanks for featuring my cushion and tutes Kelly, I've given you a shout out here on my facebook page. Loving what you've done with the embroidered shirts, a fabulous way to breath new life into the work your Grandma did and to preserve all those memories - Chris :D

  5. You have done a wonderful job on the quilt - it is a real family treasure with those special embroideries.

  6. Oh how lovely. It's a great way to preserve your shirts, and the stitchery is wonderful. Something for your family to keep, pass down, and treasure.

  7. What a sweet keepsake quilt! The embroideries are all very cute. Thanks for hosting again this week :)

  8. What a great keepsake quilt! The talent running through your family genes is wonderful! I bet your Mom and Grandmother were beaming when they saw this gem! Really nice job!

  9. What a great quilt! My Mom made shirts like that for us and my Dad. Im thinking they need to be turned into a quilt now!!

  10. Great way to incorporate your mom's shirts into a quilt. They really blended into the quilt.

  11. I'm loving that family keepsake quilt!! What a special addition to your quilt inventory. Enjoy it!!

  12. Another fantastic quilt, Kelly!!! How great that your mom still had those shirts and I love how you set them in this quilt!! Wonderful way to capture your family's memories!!!

  13. Oh my! Love, love the quilt you made with all those precious embroidered pieces! It would be lovely without the wonderful story behind it!

  14. That is a wonderful way to preserve those family memories! That embroidery is amazing. :)

  15. Beautiful embroidery on the keepsake quilt. Love it.

  16. What a great keepsake! One to treasure always.

  17. What a wonderful keepsake quilt. You've done them proud! A line of talented women.

  18. What a great idea, and you made the blocks look like the belonged in the quilt. The embroidery is adorable. A great keepsake.

  19. Your projects are beautiful and filled with love - what a great combination! Thank you for sharing them - and your heart! :)

  20. How fun! What a great way to make sure those shirts have another whole life time as a quilt.

  21. Kelly, I'm late to this but I found your blog looking for an easy quilt pattern.
    The colour coded chart is helpful but is there a mistake where you have 4X8 & 4x8?
    Should that not be 4X6 & 4X6? Jan.

    1. you're right! Though 4x8 is correct for the block in the bottom row. Thanks for pointing it out.

      :) Kelly


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