Friday, December 9, 2011

Red Letter Days

This particular quilt is entitled "Red Letter Days" and was made for our son and daughter-in-law to commemorate their wedding in 2008.  It is made from "leftover" napkin fabric!
Late in 2007 (with a Derby Day wedding in early May the following year), I was asked if I'd be willing to make napkins for the rehearsal dinner as well as napkins for the reception dinner.  And the answer was "I'd be honored".  That was an uninformed response because I had no idea I would have to quit quilting for three months to order, wash, cut, and sew napkins (unlined!).
From Thanksgiving to Christmas, the bride looked at fabric and I calculated yardage.  By the end of the year, we had ordered enough Kaffe Fassett fabrics to make 96 napkins for the rehearsal dinner as well as various manufacturers (Kona Bay, SSI, Marcus, Kaufman, etc.) to make about 200 napkins for the reception.  In the process, she determined that Hancocks of Paducah had the best selection and created a "wish list" on their site.  If you've ever shopped at Hancock's of Paducah, you know they present pricing in 1/2 yard increments.  She hadn't and didn't notice.  In her mind, she was selecting all half price fabric!  Not so much but this didn't seem to be the time to pinch pennies so I kept that little tidbit to myself, shopped online, and looked for sale prices at various shops where I could find them.  In the end, we had 4 Kaffes in greens/blues and about 20 different reds.

After playing around and making some samples from my stash to get this down right, I cut squares at 21" and did a double roll of about 1/4" all the way around.  I started mitering corners and decided that was nuts.  I referred to the method as "turn and burn" -- my fingertips got singed/steamed plenty of times!  Napkins finished at 20" square -- +/- a bit.
They were beautiful on the tables and the bride and groom were happy.  And I had lots of scraps -- lots and lots of red scraps and intended to use every single one up -- down to the selvage.  Hence, "red letter days" is made from leftover fabric and was intended to be a memory quilt of all of the different fabrics.  The label commemorates various special days in their relationship -- first date, engagement date, wedding date, among others.

I also washed all the napkins after the events.  We wanted to make sure we got them back from the various sites and I surely didn't want them to mildew.  Let's just say it was the right thing to do but was disgusting.  We also found that some napkins disappeared as mementos of the wedding.  Who can blame anyone for that.

The bride and groom were then able to bundle the napkins and give them as gifts to various friends and family members at Christmas that year.  Everyone loved them as you might imagine....and the newlyweds were able to save a bit of money on gifts.
I have used red in just about every quilt I could -- certainly in some Bonnie Hunter mystery quilts.  I am down to just a few 1.5" and 2.0" strips and STRINGS!  Fast forward to Orca Bay at Quiltville where today's clue is 5.5" red string blocks.  I am all in.  I don't have enough strings to make 64 blocks -- but with my 1.5" strips, I'm pretty close and shouldn't have to cut from my stash too much.
It is my hope that I will be able to use every single piece of the creepy bird wing fabric that I used on the back of "red letter days" -- I will be very happy to see it go!
I hope you're finding time to piece!  Jan


They are done!  64 5.5" string blocks -- pieced, trimmed, and un-papered.  I have never ever stayed up with the steps in a mystery (of course I've never been retired when one was being offered either).  I am happy to say the napkin selvages are GONE.  The creepy bird wing fabric is ALMOST gone.  All my red strings are gone.  The basket is empty!  So, as far as I'm concerned -- these are free blocks!    But these are just the tip of the iceberg for reds, I think -- based on yardage.  I hope you all are stringing away -- I love looking at the blocks on Bonnie's mystery link up -- so many red fabrics I'd love to have in my stash!


Pat said...

What a WONDERFUL story!! The quilt is more than special -- those napkins, and their scraps, will be continuing the story for years to come. You should save a few of the odds and ends to sew into future baby quilts!

Hitch and Thread said...

They are a very lucky couple. But I'm guessing you might be a little sick of red by now?

Sue Daurio said...

Your strings look great, glad you were able to use all the left over strings from the wedding. You'll be reminded of them every time you see this quilt. And I LOVE your red letter day quilt. It looks wonderful

carolyn berroeta said...

I love your Orca Bay reds ! Gorgeous