Sunday, June 24, 2018

Giving Vintage Tops and Blocks a New Life

While attending a weekly meeting that has nothing to do with quilting, I became acquainted with someone that had a tub of parts and pieces of textiles from her mother.  The tub had moved from coast to coast, from the US to Canada and it was time to clean up boxes in her storage space.  Once BG learned I was a quilter, we became better acquainted and she brought her bin of "stuff" over to my studio, where it sat for far too long.  I posted here a year ago.  After going through everything, blocks were sorted, organized, and sold off.  A DWR shown here was gifted along and this top below was turned into a quilt.

The crazy piecing was stitched and flipped on a foundation fabric, but then it was top stitched along to stitched edge.  This dark fabric had a metallic stripe woven through it and I'm going to guess it was a swatch sample as it was in five colorways.
An array of prints and fabric designs were used in this top.  BG questioned getting these tops put into quilts as she shared that her daughters had no interest in these textiles.  She herself did not stitch and quilts were not part of their family history.  I assured her once they were done, she would look at these differently.

A simple ribbon motif did the trick for quilting.  I really loved getting close up to so many fabrics from days gone by. Plaids mixed with stripes stitched to dots and florals.  It's all good!

I used a simple plain muslin for the backing and found a light purple print for the binding. 

Next up was a stack of Bow Tie blocks with names embroidered on them.  I did contact the company where all the makers worked, but didn't get very far with the HR person I spoke with.  There was a slight language barrier, and I just could not communicate to her what I had.  She kept repeating "quilts" and although I left my contact information, I have never heard back.  Oh well.  On to turning the blocks into a quilt top.  Only a few blocks needed to be embroidered and the hand writing was clear so that was a quick fix.  Then I had to find the largest measurement I could trim the blocks down to. 

After trimming, I had 51 blocks setting them 7 x 7 left 2 extra blocks.  I promised that every block would get used and BG's mom's block would be in the center.  That's the block with the yellow post-it note stuck to it.  I wanted a place to add some fancier machine quilting, so after piecing the center, I added wide borders using muslin.  The remaining two blocks were set in opposite corners.
Here I got to put a wavy feather all around the quilt border.

and here you can see the corner block that I set opposite each other.
Rissie Moore, the center attraction.  This is who the blocks were all made for.  She left her job back in the 50's and her co workers all signed and pieced a bow tie block for here.  Here we are in 2018 and the blocks are now stitched together, quilted and bound.

After getting everything finished, I returned the tub with one very small quilt, two larger quilts, and all the remaining blocks are now in the hands of other quilters who will now have the opportunity to give them a new life. 
As for these quilts, BG informed me that her daughters were arguing over which ones they would get.  One daughter wants all of them!  I told BG that what the kids didn't want was a box of "junk".  By turning the scraps into quilts changed the dynamics of these family treasures.  I've been thrilled to be part of saving this history.

If you have unquilted tops, take some time to go through them and make a plan to get them quilted.  Many of us have tops that we don't want to spend the money on the quilting, or don't think they are worthy of finishing.  If that's the case, pass them along.  Someone would like to quilt them and turn them into a quilt that just might be treasured! (or donated) Quilt tops, not so much.  They just don't have the same status as a finished quilt.

What are you going to finish in 2018?  I just loaded up a vintage top.  I've had it so long I can't even remember where or who I purchased it from.  I just know it needs to be quilted.

Keep stitching,


Lori said...

Both quilts are really lovely now and it is so nice they will be loved and appreciated.

Janet O. said...

This is inspiring, Sharon. You did a very good thing for your friend and her daughters. Preserving the work of her mother's hands (and her friends), will be something they cherish. Sounds like they do already, if they are fighting over who gets what. :)

Mimi said...

I just love this story and the quilts that you have created with these blocks. To have the daughters now fighting over who gets what makes it so worth all your trouble. I can see why you really feel good about this. Great job!

Nifty Quilts said...

I love this--taking a box of "treasures" and making them into useful and sentimental objects. They are both beautiful. I love the way you placed and quilted the signature blocks. Of course the girls are fighting over them!

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