Thursday, May 3, 2012

Tie quilt, the plan

I have this bag full of ties that I am using to make a quilt.  I originally thought I would do a string, or strip piece quilt on foundation fabric, but as I was sorting through the ties, I wanted to use a larger piece of the tie in each block.  My son and I played around with the ties, and came up with the idea to use the large end of the tie as the focal point of the block.

If I used four tie ends, then I could use strips to fill in the rest of the block.

This is my plan, drawn on the back of a large envelope in the mail pile.  Oh how I admire those of you who sketch designs on graph paper, with colored pencils, oh so nice and pretty.  Me, well, as you can see, I don't ever usually work this way.  I have to take advantage of inspiration when it hits me. Anyway, here is my sketch, or should I say "rough" draft?  I think I like it, and it uses almost the entire tie.

My first steps were to disassemble the tie, gently lay it open and press, and I mean gently.  These things are so bias stretchy it is crazy.  Often I used the design on the tie to help me know if I had it smoothed out even and not stretched.  Then I ironed featherweight interfacing to the back of the tie.  I work on a teflon sheet, (I think I actually bought a baking sheet, like a silpat wanna be at the kitchen store) so I don't have to worry about getting sticky stuff on my iron.   If the interfacing is larger than the fabric, that is okay, because it won't stick to the teflon sheet.
Here is an opened tie with featherweight interfacing ironed to the wrong side.  With the fusible interfacing, the fabric had more support, and kept it's shape while I worked with it, cutting and stitching.  I still have to treat each piece carefully, but the interfacing makes a huge and wonderful difference.

I made templates using a cracker box.  I do have template plastic, but this cracker box was oh so handy in my moment of inspiration, so that is what I used.  I disassembled about twenty ties to start with, and cut the large center pointed piece from each tie.  Some ties were large enough I could cut two large pieces.  The rest of the tie will be used for the strips, and I'll explain that in another post.

I am enjoying this project, but I can see it will take a loooooog time to complete.  So far I have made pieces and strips from about twenty of the over eighty ties I have to work with.   This is how I have started, and I will keep you posted on progress.

Thanks for reading, I appreciate it.



  1. I think that design will work great. Dont you just love all of the different prints on the ties. Cant imagine who would wear some of them but so awesome.
    will be watching the process.

  2. I look forward to following your progress on this tie quilt!
    I have a bag full of my husband's ties that I've saved over the years. Would love to do something with them when he retires. Thank you for sharing your stabilizer technique - it is VERY helpful!

  3. Hi Esther, loved seeing your grey and yellow quilt and to meet last night at guild :0) Looking forward to following your blog and progress on this new undertaking. Wonderful ideas! Jo

  4. This is going to be a unquie quilt. I can't wait to see it!
    Sometimes the only pieces of cardboard I can find are frm food. I save all the perfect pieces of cardboard to use to make templates and then I either can't find them or don't want to use these great pieces of cardboard, lol.
    Another blogger just used a ziplock bag instead of clear plastic for an overlay. I think all quilters are frugal and creative, always seeing how things can be used in quilt making.
    Take care

  5. I really like the design you came up with -- very clever!


  6. Please tell me about assembly of the block. understand the corner block. How did you attach it to the larger piece and incorporate the pointed center? Thanks. I love the design.

  7. I am 50 years old and am starting my first quilt. I have hand stitched 2 one a twin and one a king. My mother put the tops together and I quilted them. Mom passed so now I am going to put my first quilt together from start to finish. I admire your talent and skill. Thank you for sharing your creation and creative process.