A Vintage Rescue

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.

Finished

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…

Quilt Restoration Complete

It was a big push to finish before I start Teacher Work Days.  Once school starts intense projects are much harder.

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This quilt was made for JoAnne by her mother Florence about 1976.  You can tell that Florence was resourceful.  She used the fabric she had.

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Every block needed some repair, and that was how I approached it:  One block at a time.  You can read more about some specific repair techniques HERE and HERE.

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Since the one-block-at-a-time system seemed to be working so well, I quilted it the same way–A meander-stipple around the birds in each block.  My freehand quilting is not great, but it disappears into most of the fabrics and, hopefully, no one will look at the back too much.

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Speaking of the back, it is a white piece of wide-back flannel (prewashed) that I hope will mimic the feel of the fleece when it was new and stabilize the overall structure of the quilt.

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The wide binding was not in good shape, but couldn’t be removed without danger, so I put a narrower binding over it.  The wavy nature of the quilt made it hard to achieve a uniform look, but I hope the original binding peeking out preserves both the quilt and the memories.

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So, it is complete and should be back to its owner within a week.

Here are before-during-after shots.  What an interesting experience this has been.

Quilt Restoration: Block Style 1

The quilt has 30 blocks, and not a single one didn’t need something.  Some were fairly simple, just restitching the ric-rack or mending a small hole, but a few were much more involved.DSC01995

There is no batting, exactly, in the quilt.  Rather, a recycled, lightweight fleece served as both batting and backing.  There was also essentially no quilting.  Just some stitch-in-the-ditch at the sashing and between the blocks.  The blocks themselves are roughly 13″ x 14″. You can guess some of the problems that causes.

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This block, and two similar to it, had ruined backgrounds.  The birds were in pretty good shape, but…

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First, to expose the entire problem, the netting applied as mending needed to be removed.

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The fabric that hadn’t already torn was so fragile that saving it with some kind of backing wasn’t an option. I found a near-matching piece of fabric as a new background and cut it around an inch larger than the existing block.  Pins mark the position of the bird as it was placed on the block.

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I cut  the applique bird out of the existing background, leaving some extra around the edges where possible.

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I ironed the extra towards the back.

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And re-appliqued it onto the new near-matching background.

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Now, to fit the block into the hole, which is no longer a true rectangle, or any particular shape.  Lots of pins.  And blind stitching the edges into the hole.

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In the end I believe the new block doesn’t stand out too much as “new.”  Hopefully the owner will see the memory of what once was and not be too taken aback by the changes.

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One more look at “before” and “after” side by side.

Believable?

Quilt Restoration

This might be out of my league, but I was asked to do it by a long-time neighbor and friend of my parents.

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Her mother made her this quilt when she was a young child.  It is much loved and is full of memories…

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Each block and each bird have their own personality.

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I am tentatively starting to work on it, making repairs one block and a time and hoping for a grand revelation on a finish.  It is mostly not-quilted and there is no batting…

Suggestions?  Ideas?  Encouragements?

Mina Opal’s Butterfly Quilt COMPLETE

Sometime in the 1930’s, my great grandmother, Mina Opal, started this quilt.  She made 53 butterfly blocks.

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Sometime in the 1980’s, my mother, Verna Lee, made the 54th block.

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Earlier this year, Mom handed the project to me and said, “You can finish this.”

And I have.

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Working on the quilt was an interesting experience.  I felt guided in some way and am convinced this finished product is very close to what my great grandmother had in mind.  Why else would there be 6 straight butterflies and all the rest on an angle?

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I am not sure she would have used the three-part sashing.  More likely matching the background fabric or a single slab.  That would be in keeping for the era.  But I couldn’t match the background and I didn’t want to use a slab. It felt clunky somehow.

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But, the medallion setting I am sure of.  And the border. Even the scallop binding. (Thanks for this tutorial that pointed me in the right direction: http://whatahootquilts.blogspot.com/2013/01/wips-tips-for-scalloped-bindings-and.html )

It would be very easy for me to point out all the failings in the binding, but it is the best I can do at this time.

And, 80 or 90 years after the first stitches were taken, it IS finished.

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Final size is about 91″ x 99″.

MANY THANKS to Tara for her brilliant quilting.  It wouldn’t be the same quilt without her.

Previous posts on the process:

https://weddingdressblue.wordpress.com/2019/08/02/another-vintage-project/

https://weddingdressblue.wordpress.com/2019/08/09/vintage-project-layout-applique-butterflies/

 

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.