Every once in a while, a client will bring me a quilt top made by a grandmother or great-grandmother that has been sitting in an old chest or box for decades. Maybe they picked it up at an antique shop. The fabrics may be stained or faded, torn or nibbled on by some creature. The seams may be hand pieced together, appliqued, or even machine stitched, but the quilt does not lie flat for some reason. These quilts are treasures, and deserve the extra care it takes to rescue them and preserve the love and effort that went into making it in the first place.
I just finished quilting one of these quilts. Yes, on my longarm machine. In this case, it was made by the woman's grandmother 50 or 60 years ago, and she wanted to give it to her mother. It had been pretty stained and she washed it to get out the stains, which ended up shrinking the centers of the pieced blocks, which puckered all the alternating applique' blocks. It was a true rescue effort with a lot of tugging and pulling, a lot of stitching in the ditch, and a lot of "quilting it out."
I am pretty sure this will touch off a discussion regarding machine quilting vs hand-quilting antique quilts... what's your opinion?