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Thread: Advice for recreating a heavy tied old fashion style quilt

  1. #1
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    Advice for recreating a heavy tied old fashion style quilt

    Hi there,
    I do commission quilts and I got a special request to make a "like my grand-mother's" quilt. It's for a young man who wants this for his bed. From his description, I understood he was looking for a tied quilt; I sent him a picture of one I found on the web and he was unbelievably happy that I got it right. He told me it was like a dream coming true finding someone able to make him such a quilt.
    He understand it is an handmade item and he's willing to pay for it. But I would love to keep it affordable for him, since he is quite young and I'm very touched by his desire to get a very old fashion item that will remind him of his childhood.
    He would like the quilt to be as heavy as possible.
    My first idea was to
    1) make a wholecloth quilt on my longarm with all my batting leftovers and large piece of ugly fabric; this would serve as "batting"
    2) make a simple layer cake top with corduroy fabric, and tie it to the "batting" with a recycled bed sheet
    Would it work? I've never made a tied quilt before.
    I also have a bunch of wool blanket, but since the young man really wants to sleep under his quilt, he will have to wash it. So it may not be the best choice.
    Any thoughts will be most welcome! Members of this board always find solution to every problem :-)
    Thanks!
    Annie

  2. #2
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    Do you have a photo of the old quilt? Does he remember the type, or color, or theme of the old quilt? I have visions of recreating a quilt made by my great aunt, but am never satisfied with the fabric I see. Sometime I think some things survive better just as memories.
    Penny

  3. #3
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    Since you have a longarm, I might pre quilt a heavy backing fabric with all your leftover batting in a simple 4 inch grid pattern. I would then sew a simple or do a whole cloth top. I would put the top with a polyester batt under it underneath of prepared backing and use the long arm to tack the layers together following the 4 inch grid pattern already on the backing. You could tie tack yarn at the 4 inch corners and then tie the ends after for a pretend yarn tie effect.

  4. #4
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    A used, washed blanket would work as batting. The old army blankets were warm and heavy - but scratchy - even after being washed.

    Some of those old quilts were actually worn out quilts with more layers added as needed.

  5. #5
    Super Member cashs_mom's Avatar
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    That's true, bear. When I was growing up we had a favorite sit on the the floor in front of the TV quilt made of samples of velveteen upholstery fabrics in large rectangles. It was a tied quilt and much used. When it was getting lumpy from the "batt" starting to come apart and shift, my mom decided to take it apart and repair it. When she took the binding off, there was an old wool blanket inside.

    My mother was raised in a rural area of the midwest in the twenties and said that they always sandwiched old quilts in new fabric to make new quilts. They also cut up the boys old wool trousers in strips to use for log cabin type quilts as the wool was heavy and warm (no central heat in those old farm houses!) and there was no money to buy new batting.
    Patrice S

  6. #6
    Super Member Cari-in-Oly's Avatar
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    I have a really heavy, old tied quilt that my neighbor gave me. It's made with polyester double knits in 6" squares, poly batting and a sheet for the backing. It's kinda ugly but I love it in the winter.

    Cari

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    My great-grandmother's eldest brother was in the Army during the late 1800's. He gave her a bunch of wool blankets that were stamped as the U.S. Calvary. She used most of them as batting. They were washed. Probably not a lot, because they didn't was items as often then as they do now, but they were laundered at least once a year. They were tied. Neither my great-grandmother or my grandmother were sentimental, my grandmother did not sew so when the quilts appeared to be worn-out I am sure she got rid of them. We used them when I was a little girl when my GGM was still alive but no idea what happened to them, just assuming they were either thrown out or given away when the two homes were combined into one.

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    I have a heavy quilt that I made. The top I pieced using muslin as a foundation, sort of crazy quilt style. Then I used polyester batting and flannel for backing. I didn't tie it but machine quilted it.
    I think the flannel adds to the weight. It was just cheap flannel from the big box store.
    Pat

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    I would check some of the thrift stores for corduroy and denim or even estate sales. Heavy flannel or cotton blankets would work well for batting. They've probably already been washed so no worry about shrinkage and washable. Did he say what size he wanted. One way of checking the weight is to gather all your material together, put it into a basket and weigh it. By the time you add the tying and binding, I'm sure it will be very heavy. Good luck and please share photos.

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    Yes, Tessagin, he wants a queen size :-) Here's the pic I sent him. I told him that I would do larger squares to keep the pricing low, but it was exactly what he was looking for. Name:  tiedquilt.jpg
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    Quote Originally Posted by cashs_mom View Post
    That's true, bear. When I was growing up we had a favorite sit on the the floor in front of the TV quilt made of samples of velveteen upholstery fabrics in large rectangles. It was a tied quilt and much used. When it was getting lumpy from the "batt" starting to come apart and shift, my mom decided to take it apart and repair it. When she took the binding off, there was an old wool blanket inside.

    My mother was raised in a rural area of the midwest in the twenties and said that they always sandwiched old quilts in new fabric to make new quilts. They also cut up the boys old wool trousers in strips to use for log cabin type quilts as the wool was heavy and warm (no central heat in those old farm houses!) and there was no money to buy new batting.

    I'm pretty sure it was how quilts where made here in Canada too.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tartan View Post
    Since you have a longarm, I might pre quilt a heavy backing fabric with all your leftover batting in a simple 4 inch grid pattern. I would then sew a simple or do a whole cloth top. I would put the top with a polyester batt under it underneath of prepared backing and use the long arm to tack the layers together following the 4 inch grid pattern already on the backing. You could tie tack yarn at the 4 inch corners and then tie the ends after for a pretend yarn tie effect.
    Oh, I like this idea. Thank you Tartan!

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    You could use denim and corduroy with warm and natural batting.And cotton velveteen.

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    Or get old wool garments (if you can) - wash them - wash colors separately in case some are bleeders - and then cut them up.

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    Power Poster MadQuilter's Avatar
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    Can you find an army blanket? Those are super warm and super heavy and make a great batting.
    Martina
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    I would keep as close to the picture he likes as possible. If you use corduroy or corduroy and denim with a flannel backing, it will be heavy with a cotton batting. Keep it as easy as possible for him to wash. The picture you show reminds me of a grandma quilt. If possible, don't make the rectangles smaller. It will spoil the look he likes.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by MadQuilter View Post
    Can you find an army blanket? Those are super warm and super heavy and make a great batting.
    Yes, I buy them at the thrift store and love them for potholders. But I'm afraid it would be too hard to care for; I find that I have to steam and put my potholder back to shape after washing them. Don't know how I would handle a queen size quilt.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Genden View Post
    I would keep as close to the picture he likes as possible. If you use corduroy or corduroy and denim with a flannel backing, it will be heavy with a cotton batting. Keep it as easy as possible for him to wash. The picture you show reminds me of a grandma quilt. If possible, don't make the rectangles smaller. It will spoil the look he likes.
    I was thinking of making them larger, in fact. But I agree, it looks like a grandma quilt. The lady used a layer cake of woolies flannel I think. This material is wonderful and looks like wool (but is soft and thick). Unfortunately the young man can afford this material, I have to thrift something.

  19. #19
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    Wonderful quilt in the picture. It looks like old shirts cut up for the blocks. I buy shirts from thrift shops to make these kinds of quilts. A thrift shop blanket would be great batting and I would back with flannel.
    Retired USN Senior Chief

  20. #20
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    I think I would do the simple blocks like in the picture and use a double bat of cotton (bottom) and then wool with maybe a flannel or nice muslin backing. The double bat will be heavy enough for him and plenty warm too.

    I'd use the long arm to tack it down and then tie it. I've tied 2 t-shirt quilts and it can be a bit of a pain---have a pair of needle nose pliers to pull that needle if it get's stuck.

    Or you could just machine quilt a grid pattern and then tie about center of your blocks (or every other if 6" of smaller) and it would be that tied quilt but also have a machine grid stand up to the washing and give you an easier quilt to tie with.

  21. #21
    Junior Member Altairss's Avatar
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    I would look for old flannel shirts at the thrift, I regularly see those colors at ours you can get a lot of squares out of a single mens shirts. Also look at the flannel pillow cases. My local store just had a bunch of really nice heavy duty flannel pillow cases which would allow you to get several colors and styles I buy them sometimes for rag quilts as they are soft and warm and so much better quality then most flannel you can buy. they run around 2-3 dollars at my area stores per king size pillow case.

  22. #22
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    Mens casual shirt make a heavy quilt. I was surprised at how heavy a twin size top I made.
    Singer 66 treadle, Singer 15-91, JC Penney 6923, Kenmore 50, White 2334, Brother 920D serger. RIP Singer 1036

  23. #23
    Super Member Dina's Avatar
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    My grandmother used to make quilts that looked like this....and she always tied them in red. Nice memory. My father used to sell custom made suits, and some of her quilts were made from fabric samples Dad would have left over when new fabrics came out. Those were really heavy quilts, as I think she also used army blankets as batting. The goal was to keep warm, like someone has already said.

    Of course, I wouldn't use suit fabric nowadays. Flannel might be a nice choice though. If you make it as close as you can to that picture, he will be very pleased....and slightly larger squares would be just as pleasing to him, and quicker to make.

    I hope you end up enjoying the project. It looks like fun.

    Dina

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    Denim and/or corduroy will be your friend. It's heavy, durable, washable, and cheap if purchased at a thrift store. I made a quilt for my daughter out of heavy cotton denim (one side) and flannel (other side) squares, and it has the kind of weight your client is asking for.

    While mine was a rag quilt, yours could be something else. What I learned is that if you put denim on one side of a quilt, something softer (like flannel or regular cotton fabric) on the other, with cotton batting in between, you get a nice heavy quilt.
    As much as I hate it, my seam ripper is my best friend.

  25. #25
    Super Member EmiliasNana's Avatar
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    I have a layer cake called Woolies Flannel by Bonnie Sullivan for Maywood that would be perfect and manly. All suit like flannels. Could incorporate into your stash as it looks like recycled clothing like Grandma would have used.

    My grandma used wool 2" thick batts from Wisconsin and tied hers also.

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