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Thread: What to do with vintage quilt tops?

  1. #1
    Member mwhite's Avatar
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    What to do with vintage quilt tops?

    I got a treasure of vintage sewing supplies given to me a couple days ago. Since I love reading the advice on this board I thought I would ask what you would do. There are several quilt tops in the boxes much to my delight! This stuff was headed to the trash and if it was lucky a yard sale when my daughter piped up and said my Mom will love to have that and she will take good care of it. I feel like Christmas came!! Most of the fabric is pretty musty and some is stained, probably watermarks. I did wash one quilt last night, a beautiful grandmothers flower garden, all hand quilted from 1930 or so. It came out wonderful. There are a couple more of the same type tops and a wedding ring top. Lots of blocks either hand or machine pieced. And lots of scraps, some of those might even be quilt pieces, I have to open the bags on the porch, kinda smelly.
    So my question is what would you do with the tops? The quilting is beautiful! They are in great shape, and I would love to use them, is it wrong to machine quilt them. I have arthritis so hand quilting would be out for me. Any ideas??
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  2. #2
    Super Member crafty pat's Avatar
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    I have RA so I know how you feel. I have old tops my Mother made by hand that I have machine quilted and they came out fine. I have heard of quilting clubs who you can hire to hand quilt for you. If you want to keep it true to the hand quilting you might check them out.

  3. #3
    Super Member Quiltngolfer's Avatar
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    I think machine quilting would be fine. At least the quilts would be finished and used. The quilts are beautiful! What a nice daughter you have. Enjoy!

  4. #4
    Super Member Annaquilts's Avatar
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    Go ahead and machine quilt. Document their history and add a label on the back. It is wonderful you are making sure these quilts are treted well.
    Anna Quilts

  5. #5
    Super Member jljack's Avatar
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    I have machine quilted some tops I got, and I love how they came out. Some people say tops that were never quilted should be left that way, but think of those ladies now gone on, who look down and see their lovely quilt tops being made into quilts to be enjoyed. If I leave tops behind, I hope someone finishes them into quilts.

  6. #6
    Super Member Annie68's Avatar
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    Wow, lucky you, I love your old tops and a real fan of antique quilts. I would also go ahead and machine quilt them. Machine quilting has been around for a very, very long time, though not as often done as today.

  7. #7
    Power Poster mighty's Avatar
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    I have some myself but have been afraid of recking them!

  8. #8
    Super Member quilt addict's Avatar
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    The only reason I can think of to not finish them if they were some significant historical interest or rare. These appear to be neither so go for it. They look in great shape. I love hand quilting so may save the best one for that or find a group that would do it. That would be very appropriate for the way it may of originally be finished at a quilting bee. If you don't you can still use the tops as decoration draped on a quilt stand or as a bed sham maybe.

    Lucky you. Have fun discovering everything that you have received.
    Lisa

  9. #9
    Super Member ptquilts's Avatar
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    I have to agree that I love hand quilting and somehow I can't get used to seeing machine quilting on a vintage top, except for a very utilitarian quilt. A GFG deserves fine hand quilting IMHO. I have finished many vintage tops by hand quilting, both for myself and for customers.


    I hope after I am gone someone will finish my tops!! Otherwise I might have to come back and be the "Quilting Ghost"!!

  10. #10
    Super Member Prism99's Avatar
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    For a really nice vintage top that has been hand pieced, I would look for a good handquilter and pay to have it handquilted. (You do have to check on the quality of the quilting before hiring someone; have heard horror stories of "hand quilters" who used doubled thread, made large stitches, and did not know enough to hide the knots.) From what I can see of the grandmother's flower garden top, it would fall into this category for me.

    Vintage tops that are not all that nice and/or that have been machine pieced, I would definitely machine quilt myself.

    I think you have to make the decision on a top-by-top basis.

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