Salvaging a QAYG

My sweet neighbor that just moved to a senior independent living apartment was cleaning out her sewing room in March preparing for her move. She had a box of what she said was “blocks ready to put together”, and asked me if I wanted them to do a charity quilt. I said sure, and took the box home without looking at it. I was busy with other projects until the end of April, and it was then that I opened the box. But what I assumed was just blocks, turned out to be a half finished quilt-as-you-go.  There were five rows of four blocks per row put together.

QAYG Re-working at From My Carolina Home

As typical for this kind of construction, the block joinings are left open on the back at the edges.  She intended to whip these down by hand after the rows were sewn together.  She had done some hand quilting on the stars and some but not all the border pieces.

QAYG Re-working at From My Carolina Home

I began by lining up the rows.

QAYG Re-working at From My Carolina Home

Folding the batting and muslin backing out of the way, the quilt is pinned to ensure the sashings line up.

QAYG Re-working at From My Carolina Home

The seams are pinned and sewn one at a time.

QAYG Re-working at From My Carolina Home

I started with the row that had sashings on just one side, and will end with the one that has sashings on both sides.

QAYG Re-working at From My Carolina Home

Within an hour or so, I had the top assembled.

QAYG Re-working at From My Carolina Home

I turned attention to the muslin back. I really didn’t want to do the handwork that this would require, plus I didn’t want to hand quilt it.  So, a creative solution was needed.

QAYG Re-working at From My Carolina Home

I decided to use some very light weight fusible webbing to stick the loose edges down on the backside.  Each section was carefully pressed, trimming excess batting to make the batting layer even.

QAYG Re-working at From My Carolina Home

In the stash was a bolt of this nice little star print that would make a wonderful new backing.

QAYG Re-working at From My Carolina Home

The new backing was loaded on the longarm, and the quilt top floated over it with its batting and backing intact.  I smoothed it out as best I could, making sure all the muslin was flat as an inner layer.

QAYG Re-working at From My Carolina Home

I used a gentle curved pantograph.

QAYG Re-working at From My Carolina Home

White Glide thread on top with Bottom Line in the bobbin.

QAYG Re-working at From My Carolina Home

I left her original quilting, just put mine over it.

QAYG Re-working at From My Carolina Home

The quilting went nicely, and I liked the soft textured look.

QAYG Re-working at From My Carolina Home

The next decision was what to use to bind it.  I had plenty of the backing print, but there was also a fair yardage of the floral print in the bin.

QAYG Re-working at From My Carolina Home

I thought the floral would look nicer, so I went with that.

QAYG Re-working at From My Carolina Home

A few nights of hand stitching the binding to the back and it was done.

QAYG Re-working at From My Carolina Home

Finished, but I just couldn’t donate it.  I thought that giving it to a charity wasn’t the right thing, as she might like to have it for her new place.  And if she didn’t want it, her son might like to have something made with her hands (since he lost everything in the fires), so I just couldn’t give it away.

QAYG Re-working at From My Carolina Home

With the leftovers of some extra fabric,, along with two blocks that were different prints, I thought a couple of pillows would be nice to add to it.

QAYG Re-working at From My Carolina Home

I cut strips, added borders to the blocks, stuffed them and closed them with topstitching.

QAYG Re-working at From My Carolina Home

So, now there was a colorful quilt and two pillows, nice for a sofa or a bed.  I delivered them back to her as a housewarming gift.  I asked her if she recognized it, and at first she thought maybe she had seen the design before.  After a moment her eyes widened as she realized it was her quilt, started but not finished.  She was delighted!!  Her living room needed some color, and she put the quilt on the sofa with the pillows.

QAYG Re-working at From My Carolina Home

She said she was going to wear it out, and that her son couldn’t have it for a long time, LOL!!  I was so happy I made the decision not to donate it as she originally said.  Sometimes you just have to follow your heart, don’t you think?

QAYG Re-working at From My Carolina Home


56 thoughts on “Salvaging a QAYG

  1. lynn bourgeois

    This is a love story, and I love it. What could be better than warming this neighbours heart, and making way for more memories to be created as she starts her new adventure. Hugs

  2. Joyce Carter

    Such a beautiful treasure and one I am sure she will cherish. You did a wonderful thing.

  3. Carol Preston

    What a wonderful story!!! Thanks for sharing it. AND thank you for being the generous, caring, talented person that YOU ARE.

  4. manasotavacation

    Carole, what a delightful way to start my day! Lovely. You have given a wonderful gift to your neighbor and I am sure this will make her transition just a bit easier.

  5. debdevo

    You are just as nice as can be and I’m sure she was THRILLED to get that back…it looked lovely!

  6. that is so neat that you finished it and gave it back to her – leaving her stitches in it – do I understand right that you left her backing on it which was a thin muslin and then added the star backing. Neat idea

  7. joan newbold

    What a wonderful quilt story. Besides being ultra-talented, you have an amazing heart and I’m sure you neighbor will love that quilt for years! Such a kind thing to do!

  8. Donna

    What a wonderful story! It made me tear up reading it! That’s very thoughtful of you to give it back to her!

  9. What a lovely housewarming gift! I’m sure the look on her face when she recognized her work was a delight to behold. Such a nice story to start my day!

  10. Sharon Schipper

    Beautiful! and thoughtful. I have bought some unfinished blocks and tops on eBay for a song, and think of all the work that went in to them and then they became orphaned and sold by someone who hadn’t a clue… I think about the dozens of handmade quilts and tops saved by a home health client of mine in the 90’s and wonder what her son did with them when she was gone. So glad to see these loved in her lifetime and not lost! I have to get back to work on my grandmother’s….

  11. Linda B

    Totally agree with everyones comments here…well done Carole, and 5 stars for not waiting a year or two (or more) before you opened the box! Ha! Just think of the many nice thoughts she will have toward you everytime she see it! I think that is the kind of community we were meant to thrive in! And we are all sending nice thoughts to you both also. Thanks for starting a lovely ripple…

  12. Leslie

    I have tears in my eyes . . . you really are a loving person. More than teaching us how to salvage an old work in progress, you showed a part of your heart that inspired. Thank you. I just don’t know what else to say . . . you really touched my heart this morning. And that dear lady will finish out her days — we hope they are many — surrounded by the work of her hands, touched by your hands. Well done, Carole.

  13. Carolyn K.

    As I was reading your blog my thought was: “Please don’t donate this quilt that was so lovingly started by your neighbor”. I was thrilled to read that you returned the finished product to her. You made my day.
    Each time I read one of your quilt blogs, I learn a little bit more about quilting. Now I’m stuck on the meaning of sashings, White Glide thread on top and Bottom line. I am fascinated by the process and will keep on trying to understand.
    Thank you,
    Carolyn K.

  14. Lesley Gilbert

    What a great finish; well done! Loved reading the story and it had a happy ending 🙂

  15. Lisa Marie

    A lovely quilt and a lovely story. I think it will bring her a lot of joy. Thanks for sharing.

  16. Sharon O’Reilly

    All of the comments are my sentiments too. Thank you for an uplifting story and good information, such a great start to a beautiful day.

  17. Absolutely a wonderful story and quilt! Sometimes the best donation is when you can donate the finished quilt right back to the original owner.

  18. What an excellent strategy for finishing the quilt! I like some QAYG ideas but pause at doing the back – I might try piecing/quilting with just the batting and then add the back last, makes a slightly larger quilt something I can do all by myself. Will see.

    So perfect that you gifted her quilt back to her! @susansquiltstudio

  19. Hi Carole,
    LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this post! Yes – that is exactly what I wanted you to do with the quilt, and I just knew you felt it too. Oh my, it just gives me the goosebumbs. It turned out SO well, don’t you think. It just puts a smile on my face, thinking of her in her new place with a quilt that she started and abandoned for whatever reason. Now it is keeping her warm and cozy with your love added to the mix. Perfect-o. ~smile~ Roseanne

  20. Tami Von Zalez

    What a wonderful finish and a great backstory. I run into a lot of half finished orphan blocks that I incorporate into quilts but haven’t as yet found a quilt top or a QAYG.

  21. I love this story! And I love that she fell back in love with her own quilt. It really was a pretty one and now it will be family heirloom thanks to you!

  22. What a delight for your friend, and sometimes an idea just has to be followed, this was definitely the best one,It looks wonderful and the pillow covers, a great addition.

  23. kathyinozarks

    I love this and Yes always go with your heart. I bet she is still smiling and admiring her quilt-that was so nice of you to do this-hugs


    Thanks Carole for giving it back to your neighbor. She will think of the job you did to finish her quilt, every time she looks at it. Great job.

  25. Brenda Ackerman

    Hello Carole; You did a fabulous job on finishing this lovely quilt. The quilting design you chose is wonderful. I think that your offering it to your neighbor first was a splendid idea and it was great to know how she loved it and will use it. Thank you for sharing and have a great day!

  26. Lynne Stucke

    What a heartwarming story, Carole! Such a precious act on your part; I think you are one of my new heroes!

  27. That is a brilliant way to finish the quilt. I would not have thought about adding an extra layer with the batting. I am so pleased it worked out and that she was delighted to have her quilt. Well done on a great solution.

  28. I am so glad you followed your heart. I’m glad she loved the quilt. Your kind heart always shows through your your charity to others and to us, your readers.

  29. What a beautiful quilt. I am so glad you decided to return it to her. I think quilt should be kept in the family, especially ones that were so lovingly made.

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  31. Vicki in MN

    What a great way to get this quilt done! Thanks for sharing that idea. That was very sweet of you to finish and give it back to her, I am sure you received many ‘warm fuzzies’ over your good deed.

  32. What a beautiful story. It was generous of your neighbour to intend to give her work to charity, as she must have loved this quilt at some point, and so lovely that you returned it to her. Thank you for sharing the construction and quilting process as well.

  33. lapaylor

    what a terrific connection between the two of you… great job, it’s hard to start in the middle of something to finish it.

  34. debrapugh

    I absolutely LOVED this sweet story ! Of course you’d want to surprise her and give it back. Her heart was in the right place in regards to a charity quilt but she’d put so much effort and work in to it. What a sweetheart you are 🙂

  35. dezertsuz

    Carole, you don’t need my comment, but I want you to know that I love the quilt, and I think what you did was just the perfect thing.

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