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Fabric Scraps for Military Retirement Quilt

Adding Fabric Scraps to a Military Retirement Quilt

Thankfully, we are celebrating a retirement here in the family! How does a quilter celebrate? With a quilt, of course! The quilt is a gift for someone very close to the retiree. I hope she likes it!

Design Inspiration

Back in January, Heather Kojan [1] on Instagram shared a photo of a blue scrap quilt. On her instagram feed [1], she mentions that her quilt is loosely based on a design she created for 100 Blocks years ago. My quilt is based on her single image, which is, of course, a traditional signature-style block [2]:


The design is gorgeous and simply elegant. Scraps set on the diagonal. Of course, her scraps are much more orderly and of more uniform size, hue, and value.

The Scrap Quilt

My blue scrap pile was a big ole wild mess of color values and scrap piece sizes. I was still able to piece and create shapes from which to cut one diagonal piece and two setting triangles. The templates were created from freezer paper [3]. My 20 blocks are 15″ square with a 6″ wide diagonal section. Since this retirement quilt celebrates 20 years in the United States Air Force, I mixed in a few pieces of military uniform, too.

My quilt is 4 blocks x 5 blocks. With borders it measures roughly 70″ x 85″.

Using the military uniform in the quilt was a no-brainer for me, since almost 10 years ago I authored the book Deploy That Fabric [4]. Man, I love that book so much!

Deploy That Fabric Cover [4]Longarm Quilting Design

What I didn’t do 10 years ago was longarm quilt my own military uniform + fabric quilt designs.

I was nervous, but the quilting was actually quite smooth. My basic block design features two curling feather designs in each white triangle and a wide wishbone pattern on the scrappy/military diagonal line.

This was the first time I tried curling feathers.

Thank goodness for practicing on a white board to develop muscle memory.

The diagonal wishbones were quilted in one long quilting pass. The quilt is loaded onto the frame horizontally. As in, I rotate the quilt 90 degrees from how it would lay on a bed. By doing this, I can quilt the longest pass possible and advance the quilt fewer times.

The military uniform pieces are cut from the no-longer-worn uniform shirt, complete with pockets, welt seams, and character. (aka ink pen stain). The HandiQuilter didn’t hesitate stitching over the heavy welt seams. Sewing slower helped. A nametape was added once the quilt top was complete, but there’s no way I was going to try to quilt over that.

I think this quilt will be a hit. It will be gifted before the big retirement celebration coming up. Thank you for your service!