Vintage Project Layout: Applique Butterflies

The past several days brought the Vintage Applique Butterfly quilt started by my Great-grandmother, Mina Opal, to a completed top.

As I picked apart the previous setting, I noticed that there were 6 blocks where the butterflies were straight on the block and 48 blocks where they were angled.  Considering the care and attention to detail in the work generally, I was certain that was not an accident.  But, why?

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Research revealed that that there is a layout for 54 blocks that has a six block center–a medallion!

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After that the process went relatively quickly. I created a six block medallion and surrounded it with three part sashing, placing a nine-patch in the corners.  Most quilts in this style used either a single wide piece of sashing or additional background material, but I liked this look. Around and around we go!

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Three layers plus a wide outer border of muslin as close as I could get to that in the background of the blocks.  It is lighter, but the texture is right and I think after quilting it won’t be too obvious.

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I am preparing to scallop that outer border when it gets back from the quilter and marked a rough draft version to guide her work.  Yes, this quilt is being sent out.  It deserves the best, so I am giving it that chance.

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Won’t my mother be surprised when she sees it again!

 

Another Vintage Project

This year is the year–of Vintage Projects.

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Recently, my mother surrendered two quilts started by HER grandmother, Mina Opal, (my Great-grandmother) in the 1930-40s.  Today we will take a look at the first one.

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Mina Opal created 53 applique butterfly blocks.  My mother added one.  She then added sashing and started to build a top (early-to-mid 1980s).  But she was unhappy with the results and put the whole project away for about 35 years.

ASIDE:  Now that I think about it, my mother quit on the quilt about the time Mina Opal became ill and died (1987). Hmm…I wonder if that had something to do with it?

Anyway, when it came to me I asked if there were restrictions on what I could do, because “It won’t look the same when I bring it back.”

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With my mother’s (blind-faith) blessing, I have gone to work.  First, pick the entire top apart. It took days.

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Clean up and iron each block. This was a tedious but useful process.  It helped me to see the work more closely and to better appreciate the skill and care Mina Opal and my mother, Verna, put into the quilt.  It also gave me clues as to the possible original intent.

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It also gave me a reason to AGAIN use my new lint roller.  WHO KNEW one would be so useful?!  I don’t know how I did without one this long.

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I chose the largest possible size (9″) for the blocks and squared up. This step was the hardest emotionally so far.  Cutting 80 year old fabric…arrgh!  What if I make a mistake?  But, I went slowly and only did a few blocks at a time.  And double-checked.  A lot.

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Time for design decisions….Coming soon!

 

Lone Star Rescue COMPLETE

While my time spent working on the longarm machine I rent is normally smooth and pleasant due to the assistance and maintenance of the owner, it was not so with this quilt.  The thread kept breaking for reasons unknown.  Just one of those days.

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But, patience and persistence prevailed and it was finished in the end.

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I am really pleased with the freemotion work  in the background,

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less so with the work in the star itself.  I just don’t have good control yet on my points.

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I hope the original maker could be pleased with the results.  They probably aren’t what she had in mind, but we can all relate to the feeling of knowing that our efforts weren’t in vain.

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It goes into the giveaway pile waiting for the “just right” home to come along.

Can This Quilt Be Saved?

In a recent hand-me-down quilting box was a ziplock bag with this partial lone star quilt in it.  I am fairly sure it was started at least 20 years ago and most of the work was hand piecing.

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However, over the years some of the pieces were lost,  or at least they weren’t found in this bag.

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And, the top had numerous stains.  Yikes!  Can this quilt be saved?

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While I wouldn’t generally recommend it, I washed the assembled section.  Carefully stain treated.  By hand.  Air dry.  Much pressing. There were still a few stains, but I could replace those pieces.

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It seemed to want a sort of modern-Amish (there’s a contradiction in terms) treatment.

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But, I went too far and that bottom strip had to come off. It felt awkward somehow.

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So, this is where we are.  It is currently about 63″ x 81″.  Finished? Saved?

Crazy Curtain Quilt Finished

Grandma’s curtains have new life as a quilt.

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It is quilted with an all over panto called Pipeline.  It seemed to suit and I am pleased with the results.

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The backing is something I had on hand from a great sale a few years back.

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Green binding AGAIN! After several auditions, this seemed the best match for the slightly faded period fabrics.
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I am so happy to have been able to give these curtains purpose again.

Crazy Quilt Top

What to do with those curtains?
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Following the advice of Susan and others, I settled on Option #1: Just square them up and stitch them together.

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First, I picked out the hem and all edges, removing the hanging sleeve, which was not part of the pieced unit.

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Then, while ironing, I scanned for loose seams and holes.  I marked them with a pin as I found them.

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There were a few, but not too many, all things considered.  There is some fading, but not as much as you might expect, considering that they hung in windows for years.

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After considering options, I decided to mend them in the manner my grandmother probably would have, using a sort of darning type look.  We’ll all pretend it is decorative stitching, which belongs on a crazy quilt, right?! (Pretend, too, that the picture isn’t fuzzy.)

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Squaring up was where it got scary–I have to cut this?

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But, when there is no other way, one must do what needs to be done.  And it was worth it.  The seaming isn’t as obvious as I thought it would be.

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And the whole thing looks pretty good.

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My original estimate of “pieced in the 1960s or 1970s is probably wrong.  Looking at the fabric, I don’t see fabric that modern.  There is no polyester knit, which my grandmother was not shy about using in a quilt. It probably was more like the 1950s. My father doesn’t remember.

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This fabric has already been in service for a long time, but I do think it will be a good quilt.  Finished top is 83″ x 86″.  I hope to quilt it sometime in the next few weeks.

 

Vintage Crazy Quilt Curtains

My grandmother (Mary Emma–father’s mother) made these curtains sometime in the 60s or 70s.  I can still vaguely remember them hanging in a bedroom window at her house.

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They are in quite good condition.

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She foundation pieced before it was popular.

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Each curtain is about 40″ square.  I could make 4 baby quilts, but they will not probably get used that way.

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My thought is to combine them somehow into a larger quilt.

  1. Just square them up and stitch them together.
  2. Cut into smaller blocks and sort of mix and match.
  3. Put narrow sashing between the smaller blocks (1″ so there are no seam allowances).
  4. Put them away and think about it for another 5-10 years.

I really don’t like option #4.  Suggestions?