Archive for the ‘Preservation’ Category

Finished off the repairs on the baby quilt last night. The quilt as it was initially presented to me is below and below that is a photo of the repaired quilt. I added a new binding (over the old – nothing was removed), stiched down the sashing, repaired a couple of major tears in the fabric and reinforced a couple of worn spots with a cotton backing from inside before darning them closed.

whole quilt 2 resized.jpg

repaired quilt

Everything was done by hand because the original was entirely hand stitched and I wanted the seam integrity an feel to be similar. Also, hand-stitched antique quilts are very irregular and sewing irregular seams through fragile fabric is a lot easier by hand than by machine. It's easier to compensate for waves and bends when hand sewing. So the binding is appliquéd over the original. The corners are butted rather than mitred, to reflect the sashing seams in the quilt, which were butted.
Here you can see the edge before….

edge 1 resized.jpg

… and after.

repaired edge

My basic premise was to remove nothing, change little and preserve the original quilt.  Where that required adding fabric, I stuck with the idea of preserving a feel for the original. 

It was definitely an interesting project. Rather spooky, truth to tell.


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Occasionally a project comes along that is more of a nod to my quilting abilities than my artistry. I don't actually make "quilts" all that often anymore. Most of my friends and family already have a bed-covering of my making and besides, my head and heart are generally elsewhere.

That said, Katherine has been hinting (in anvil, Katherine-like style) that she needs a bigger quilt for her bed, so I may have to regress at some point and make her one.

But I'm digressing. Again. I seem prone to that.

The quilt below was made in the early 1800s and is a form of redwork. It's in pretty hard shape, having been used by several generations, and I was contacted by its owner to help keep it from deteriorating any further and tidy it up a bit. They're not concerned with its monetary value, rather they want to keep it alive and in the family for generations to come (and apparently another generation is due to come this summer).

whole quilt 3

So my job is to change as little as possible of the front, reinforce (from inside)  the panels that are tearing and attach a new binding and border over the old. They were also interested in whatever information I could give them about the quilt and its probable historical context.

edge 1
It's not a big job, but it's one that I feel somewhat hesitant in doing, simply by virtue of the quilt being so old. Needless to say, I won't be using any fusibles or anything but cotton fabrics and threads. I managed to find a fairly good match to the original pink fabric. The quilt has faded variably and it's not realistic to try to match all of the different pinks. The owner knows this and is happy with the binding being the original colour, which you can see below.

fabric match 3
The individual panels are of different animals. Below are a giraffe, sheep, elephant, cow camel and (possibly) a duck. The embroidery is in rough shape, but repairing it would be time consuming and destroy the story of the wear of the quilt. Making a replica of the piece might be an interesting project, should any of the family ever be interested.




The text in the centre panel reads:

then we kiss our baby
And hug it very tight,
And put it in its
little bed
And leave it for the


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