Hanky Quilts:
 Old Hat to Some, New to Me!

Maureen Greeson 2010

   
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This project was my way of making use of a square I originally made for a challenge. I've been wanting to make a hanky quilt for a few months, so instead of covering the entire front of the little wall hanging with hankies, I decided to combine them with this orphaned square. I think this is a good way to make finished projects out of individual squares. I, for one, make quite a few single squares for round robins, holidays, etc.... Along with hankies, pull out those lace pieces, ribbon, and/or anything with a finished edge that you might have been saving.

Before I started on this, I asked for advice on cutting the hankies from a friend in New Hampshire, Sue Weeks, who makes quite a few of these little quilts and teaches it to others. I also purchased the book "Hanky Panky Crazy Quilts" by Cindy Brick and used some of her cutting methods as well. In other words, don't be in a hurry to cut them until you're ready to make your quilt.  That way, you can pick and choose how to cut it in order to make use of most of the design in the hanky. I had some hankies that were my Mom's, but also ordered some from Sue and bought some reproductions from China on eBay. They are readily available, so if you really want to try this, just start asking around or search the internet. I never left home and just let my fingers do the shopping.

Besides the hankies, I also used an embroidery from an antique, dilapidated table cloth, some antique lace motifs and half of a antique child's collar. These are all things I've collected and brought out just to look at from time to time.

To start your quilt, choose a color scheme, and then size and start auditioning the pieces. I placed my embellished crazy quilt square off center of the backing which is white silk dupioni (in case some peeks through) on a muslin base. I took photos of different layouts, trimmed them to shape through computer magic, and was able to see what it would look like when finished and make changes before I started stitching things into place. This was such a great way to see what direction I needed to go to make it look balanced. I added, deleted and traded locations with various pieces. The following are some photos taken as I went along. I removed the larger collar on the left hand side in the final photo, as I finished embellishing. It was made clear through handling as I stitched it would have the tendency to wrinkle too much over time.

Hand baste your background fabric to the muslin backing.

Place and pin your central focus items - in this wall hanging it is the square and the table cloth embroidery. Sew this down being sure not to catch the basting threads. Tack in a few areas inside the square to secure the extra weight of embellishments.

Photo showing how I cut the hankies and some of the other items I used.

Photos showing procedure of adding hankies and other items around the square. Cut away anything possible as you go by pinning to mark where hankies will go and turning back pieces on top in order to trim underneath. This keeps large areas of other hankies from showing through.

Once the layout is the way you want it, firmly pin it down and trim overhanging pieces away from the outside edge, and then baste the edges down. Stitch everything down securely, remove basting and embellish!  To finish as a simple wall hanging, just add a 3-4" border.

This was my first hanky quilt but I don't think it will be my last. It was restful fun and allowed me to embellish a little or a lot and still have that busy, charming crazy quilt look. I have donated this wall hanging to the Crazy Quilt International Yahoo group, to be auctioned off for their Making Memories project which benefits the fight against breast cancer.

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