Sparkle Jane spotted it, wadded up in a pillowcase in a scrap bag. It sort of appeared at her shop, snuck in and left without a word. Many mysteries…
And she brought it to me. “Mom, you can do something with this.”
Well, I can try, but what is it?
It appeared to be a fairly large vintage flimsy that had most likely been washed. It was so tangled I couldn’t even flatten it out enough to see what it was.
So it sat for a while. But, while I was home with Covid, it became interesting. What is it really?
I started from a corner on the back. Trimming threads and fixing any popped seams that came up. By the time I was done (the picture is EARLY in the process) it looked like a fairly large long haired cat had taken up residence on the cutting table.
It was STILL too rough to really see, so I turned it over and started pressing. And pressing. And pressing. More than 2 hours of pressing
Sort of flat…
To the quilter. Who did an amazing job. A thick batting helped to absorb the waves in the blocks. SO much stitch-in-the-ditch. So much detail.
And now, it is the centerpiece of the guest bedroom. I look in every time I pass and feel great happiness that it is finally finished. I wish I knew who the original maker was. I would take it back to her and show her that her work was not wasted.
How old is it? There is no polyester in the top as far as I can tell. There is some original feedsack material. 1950s or maybe 1960s…
The entire quilt was a bit of doozy…30 of 30 blocks needing help.
For insight on how I fixed blocks with ruined backgrounds, see HERE.
Today I am sharing one way to fix a damaged applique. I am not pretending this is a great way, but this block needed two different techniques. So it seemed a good example.
A previous repair had stitched netting over the damaged fabric. I suspect much of the damage on this block, and a number of other places on the quilt, was due to a combination of different shrinkage after washing and very light quilting.
So I removed the netting and cleaned up the frayed fabric so I could see what was going on.
The small frayed area at the bottom could be sort of darned using matching threads. the larger torn area needed matching fabric.
I stitched the bottom area first (no good picture, sorry) and then a line on the matching fabric right where the stripe color changed. Fortunately, not in the way of the eye.
You can see the darning repair in this picture. Once I attached the matching fabric I pressed it open and trimmed it just outside the zigzag edge. Then I turned in under and stitched it down like turned edge applique.
And finished it off with a matching zig-zag stitch as close to the original as I could. Whew! From a distance and on a galloping horse, it doesn’t look too bad.
The original quilter tried, she really did. The pattern is interesting, the fabric is high quality, the colors are beautiful. But, she struggled with the piecing and assembly and eventually gave up.
Sparkle Jane saw potential. She fixed what she could of the piecing, while honoring the effort of the original maker. And assembled the top.
There was plenty of fabric, so she added a triple border–a narrow inner border, a lovely piano key center, and a wider outer border.
Extra fabric was used to make more “piano key” style pieces to stretch the back.
I am certain the original maker would be pleased with the results. YAY for the quilt rescuer!
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.
But, patience and persistence prevailed and it was finished in the end.
I am really pleased with the freemotion work in the background,
less so with the work in the star itself. I just don’t have good control yet on my points.
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.
It goes into the giveaway pile waiting for the “just right” home to come along.
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.
However, over the years some of the pieces were lost, or at least they weren’t found in this bag.
And, the top had numerous stains. Yikes! Can this quilt be saved?
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.
It seemed to want a sort of modern-Amish (there’s a contradiction in terms) treatment.
But, I went too far and that bottom strip had to come off. It felt awkward somehow.
So, this is where we are. It is currently about 63″ x 81″. Finished? Saved?