I’ve been keeping a little secret from you guys. Well, not exactly a secret, just not exactly admitting to something.
At the beginning of the year, I decided my craft focus had to be on finishing things. I’m notorious for being ADD when it comes to my projects, and I just have too many that are undone.
I didn’t want to say anything in case I didn’t make good on my quest. It’s the perfectionist in me, but it’s time to get over it and get to work.
But, you guys, wait till you see this. You’ll know immediately why I had to say yes to something new.
One of my friends at work, Carter, has heard me talk about quilting and happened to mention he had found a hand-sewn quilt top at his mother’s house started by his great-grandmother, who passed it down to a daughter (or daughter-in-law, he’s not sure), eventually winding up with his mother.
Since sometime in the 1970s, we figure, it’s been folded up in a plastic bag in a closet. Take a look at this beauty:
(OK, try to ignore the toile curtains and checked bed skirt – they are so going!)
Isn’t it gorgeous? I love all the solids in it and how even though it was likely started with fabric from the ’20s and ’30s, it has a really modern feel to it. Thankfully, the fabrics appear to be in terrific shape, just a few loose threads from the frayed edges on the back. Take a closer look at some of the blocks.
I love this block – with its little S and star, almost like it was destined to come to me!
Here’s an interesting detail. All of the blocks are square in shape except for a row at the top, which looks like it was cut in half. (The blue stripe at the top is my Mariner’s Sky quilt.)
So, what happened? The cut is too clean to be an animal’s work. Was there a spill and the ruined part had to go? Or did the sewist think she didn’t have enough fabric to complete a full row of blocks? Carter said there’s another top and a couple of additional blocks at his mom’s house, so lack of fabric seems unlikely.
I love trying to determine the history behind something like this.
The top measures approx. 76×85 inches, great for a full size mattress. As you can see, though, there are a lot of wrinkles. I put the question out to the MQG community forum and asked for feedback on ironing/quilting/etc.
They suggested laying it out flat for a long time (up to a month) and smoothing it with my hands and let it work out some of the wrinkles on its own.
You’ll see what I mean when you look at the back. Stitching by hand, obviously, doesn’t give you the straight lines a machine will. Also, the seams aren’t consistent in direction, making pressing difficult. I think eventually I’ll try using my Clover mini-iron and see how that works.
Everyone also agreed (as do I) that it should be hand-quilted, but didn’t offer any suggestions as to how. What do you think? This will clearly be a long-term project, and I’m so honored Carter would let me finish a family heirloom for him, so I’d love to know your thoughts.
I’ve done very little hand-quilting, although lots of stitching, but I think I’d like to do something very simple, like stitch in the ditch. But first, I need to decide what to use for backing – should I use a ’30s reproduction print or a solid? How about the binding?
I hope my excitement for this project will keep me going. Once I finish my garter-stripe blanket, it’ll be the perfect watching TV activity.
But just in case, it’s a really good thing Carter isn’t in any hurry for it.
Linking up with Lee at Freshly Pieced for WIP Wednesday.