Monday, September 22, 2014

Something Old, Something New

One of the reasons I love longarm quilting is the variety of quilts I get to quilt for others.  I have done small projects, large projects, new projects, projects that have been in the works for years.  Each quilt is beautiful and tells its own story.  It's fun when I take in a quilt to hear from the maker why they made their quilt and what it is going to be used for or to whom it is going to be given.  I love a good story so it always makes me happy when someone is finish up a quilt.
The quilt I'm sharing today came to me from a good friend, Carol, who I met 10+ years ago on our state bicycle ride, Biking Across Kansas.  Carol lived in the town next to mine so our paths would cross frequently over the years with bicycling and friends.  Carol is the fun loving gal everyone wants to hang out with because she has great stories and genuinely cares about you.
When Carol contacted me she told me about her quilt.  She had found an old quilt top in an antique store in a little town, Weston, Missouri, across the river from my hometown.  She thought it was beautiful and brought it home.  It needed a few repairs but who doesn't have many years of good living. It was small squares (approximately 2"X 2") of various fabric pieced together by hand. She wanted it quilted and thought it would make a good gift or look cute laid across a sofa or bed.  She was right this is going to look gorgeous where ever it is displayed.  On a different note if you happen to come across an old quilt like this in the future keep me in mind! I'm looking for my own special antique store find.
A variety of the various fabrics that made up this quilt
I brought it home and repaired the large gaping holes where the seams had come undone. Some were a much looser weave which caused the hand stitch to come out and need some repairs. The fabrics were a hodge podge of choices from different decades. The fabric itself had held together well and it was in good condition.  Although the quilt had originally been hand pieced I machine sewed the gaps back together with my machine.  The original piecer apparently had my impatience with hand sewing and had several places where she had gathers in the fabric from trying to match all the seams.  I left the original gathers in the quilt as it was part of what made it unique.

A close up of the quilting pattern I chose for this particular quilt.  
When I was ready to quilt I decided to use a plain white backing as that to me seemed the most authentic color backing choice that would have been used had this quilt been finished during its early years.  I did take some time in choosing a pattern to quilt on the quilt.  I knew I was going to pick a pantogram from my Pantovision software. The pattern I chose was due to to the fact that this quilt was old and even though I repair some seams the rest of the seams would benefit from the additional stability offered by a dense quilting pattern.  I chose the pattern and made it small enough that on nearly every seam it is crossed twice by quilting stitches and in some places it is crossed a third time.  This added stability will help the quilt handle use and provide needed structure.  Often times people think that machine quilting an old top takes away from all the hand work the original person did and that old tops should only be hand quilted.  My quick off handed remark always is that if the original piecer had wanted it hand quilted she would have got that done in her lifetime.  Since she didn't it's up to me to finish the best way I know how.  But the reasons I mentioned before about the machine quilting help preserve the quilt for more generations to enjoy.  

The finished quilt.  For whatever reason the lighting wasn't the greatest and it is a little washed out in the picture.  The above photos do a better job of showing off the bright colorfulness of this quilt.  
I finished this quilt for Carol by adding the binding and hand sewing it down using a blind stitch on the back.  This past weekend it was used as a wedding gift.  Hopefully the new couple will love the something old passed down to them on their new journey through life together!

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Quilting Field Trip

This summer I packed myself up and took a quilting field trip.  We live approximately two hours from Lincoln, NE, home of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.  There they have the International Quilt Study Center and Museum.  I had been planning on going for several summers and one morning I woke up early in July and decided this was the day.
When I got their I was excited.  I paid my entry fee and hit the elevator.  The first exhibit I went to happened to be the one I found most interesting.  It was called Modern Marvels.  It was all about quilts made from kits from 1915 to 1950.  In my nativity I believed that quilt kits were a relatively new phenomenon and were from the the times of the modern quilt revival at the bicentennial.  I was wrong!  Something I'm always a sucker for in a quilt shop has been marketed to ladies for the last century in magazines.  I believe I took a picture of every quilt they had on display in the quilt kit display.
They also had a log cabin quilt exhibit going on along with a toy sewing machine exhibit.  They were both interesting but I fell in love with the quilt kits exhibit. So enjoy the photos below I took of the quilts.  I didn't put all my pictures in this post.  Just almost all of them.
Ombre before ombre was cool.

Snowflakes on a green background.

Look at those itty bitty stitches!

This is what a quilt kit looked like when it was mailed to you.  Now days they make you cut your own fabric in a kit.

Around the world.

From 1932.  

I could have spent all day looking at this quilt.

A close up of the scalloped border with the hot pink binding.  I also like the touch of hot pink on each flower petal.

This one was called daisy chain from 1936.

A close up of the delicate and fine stitching.

Another example of a quilt kit for a lone star quilt.

A close up of the double wedding ring ombre quilt.