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Thread: First timer to hand quilt on 80 yr old quilt top. Need advise!

  1. #1
    Junior Member Janan's Avatar
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    First timer to hand quilt on 80 yr old quilt top. Need advise!

    This is a quilt top done by my MIL, who would be 100 years old this year. The material is very thin, so I don't want to put it through the stress of machine quilting. I've only hand quilted one other quilt and that one I did in the ditch.

    Do you think it would look good with perle cotton? If so, can you suggest an easy quilting plan to use? Also, what color or colors thread? 8 weight?

    I appreciate your help.

    Janan
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  2. #2
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    My first thought is - not peerless cotton, use traditional hand Quilting thread- I like the spooks from JAF. I would use white, keeping with age and design of the top. A simple design in the yellow squares and just Sid on the diagonal lines of the hsts....jmho

  3. #3
    Power Poster feline fanatic's Avatar
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    Actually I think machine quilting would help to reinforce those fragile fabrics by stabilizing them to the batting and backing you use. If you do decide to hand quilt an 8 wt is pretty heavy and looks best when doing the big stitch style of hand quilting. That style of quilting would be very complimentary to this almost antique top.

    I would find a pretty stencil, but simple motif for doing in the yellow squares. I can't tell how large those squares are but here is a link where you can shop stencils by size. https://www.quiltingstencils.com/Block-Sizes_c_17.html

    I would then do straight line quilting in the HST that echo the yellow square. I would quilt lines right through the middle of each triangle of the HST as well as the seam line so each round of HST going around the yellow square would have 9 lines of quilting inclusive of the SITD around the yellow square. Please post a pic when you have finished.

  4. #4
    Power Poster dunster's Avatar
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    I agree that machine quilting would help to stabilize the fragile fabrics. That said, I think that hand quilting will be lovely on this beautiful quilt top, and I like feline's suggestion.

  5. #5
    Junior Member Janan's Avatar
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    Thank you for your help! I already have one ball of DMC #8 cream that looks great with the quilt top. The top is 80 x 80. How many balls of thread do you think I will need?

    Also, what batting will do best? And I would love suggestions for the backing.

  6. #6
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    I am a hand quilter. I would not use DMC #8. I would have a longarm quilter quilt the flying geese/hst part of the quilt in a simple straight line design and not quilt the yellow blocks. Now the quilt is stabilized. Then I would find a medallion stencil to fit the yellow blocks , mark them and hand quilt the blocks with off white quilting thread. I like YLI quilting thread. Silk batting would drape beautifully and be easy to needle, though it is expensive. My next choice would be Hobbs 80/20.
    Last edited by Genden; 09-08-2018 at 08:56 AM.

  7. #7
    Super Member luvstoquilt's Avatar
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    I agree with Genden. I am also a hand quilter and I use YLI quilting thread. I haven’t used silk batting but use Hobbs 80/20 all the time.
    "You must do the thing you think you cannot do"....E. Roosevelt

    Sharon
    Yorkville, IL

  8. #8
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    This quilt top would be beautiful hand quilted. I hand quilt with a group of ladies that have been quilting for others for over 30 years. We get this type quilt top very often. The family will be going through grandmothers things & find a quilt top. We like to use a thick polyster batting which makes the quilt puff. Usually these quilts are not to be used but for the memories. We also suggest muslin for the backing.

  9. #9
    Power Poster feline fanatic's Avatar
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    Hobbs poly down and wool are both super easy to hand quilt through. I would also recommend to get a wide back fabric for the backing. That way you only have to deal with seam allowances on the front. Any kind of wide back will do, muslin or print but I would recommend prewashing as this will soften it up, remove factory sizing, preshrink and will alert you if it has excess dye if you get a color or print. No worries about bleed with muslin which is a plus. There are loads of places that carry w/b dirt cheap too, especially muslin. Marshall dry goods is a good one.
    https://marshalldrygoods.com/shop/home/108/widths/?

    PS want to add I gave that 8 wt some thought and think you are better off with a regular hand quilting thread. An 8 wt would be an absolute bugger to pop the knots through the fabric, even if you did the knot popping from the back. I like a 35 wt thread for hand quilting. Valdani makes a lovely one. YLI is also very nice and just a wee bit lighter at 40 wt.
    Last edited by feline fanatic; 09-08-2018 at 02:34 PM.

  10. #10
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    It is pretty and I think your MIL will be with you in spirit while you quilt it. Since I don't hand quilt, no idea how it should be quilted or with what.

    I will be waiting to see it finished, though.
    A quilt is like a good life. It's full of mistakes, but, in the end, it looks pretty good.

  11. #11
    Super Member ptquilts's Avatar
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    I agree with hand quilting, with regular thread. Heavier thread will make bigger holes in the fabric, which will weaken it.

  12. #12
    Super Member SusieQOH's Avatar
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    If you want to retain the vintageness (I don't know if that's a word!) of that gorgeous top I would hand quilt it with quilting thread. I understand the case for machine quilting but that top is old and hand quilting would maintain the look. I wouldn't use perle cotton.

  13. #13
    Junior Member Janan's Avatar
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    Thank you for the wonderful advise. I will do just as you suggested with quilting thread instead of perle. And Hobbs batting with wide quilt back. Thank you! I canít wait to get started!

    Iím at Joannís now and if anyone can tell me how much thread I should buy that would be great!!!

  14. #14
    Junior Member Janan's Avatar
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    Joannís didnít have the thread you recommended, but they had some Guiterman 100% silk that was the perfect color. Will that be ok?

  15. #15
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    If you try to use silk thread for hand quilting, you will be sorry. Quilting thread is heavier and has a coating that helps it slide through the layers and helps it keep from knotting. Gutterman makes a hand quilting thread that is pretty good, not as good as YLI, but is pretty good.

  16. #16
    Junior Member Janan's Avatar
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    Ok, thanks. I will order some YLI thread online then.

  17. #17
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    I, too, am a hand quilter. With the age of this flimsy, I'd be consistent with the age of the fabrics and hand quilt it, using either a cotton or a poly batt. I sometimes do not use quilting thread but the same thread that I sew with. I have had no problem using it, either while quilting or as the quilt is used.

    There must have been a time that yellow was popular. I just came across blocks that my mother put together and there is that same yellow that you have in the pictures. It wouldn't have been my choice but it must have looked good to her! She put a lot of time into these blocks so I will leave the yellow and get the blocks together. It appears like Jack's Chain but the 1/2 blocks for between the blocks aren't there. She left "a million" little 9 patch blocks that I could continue on unless I decide to put these together another way. I can see pencil marks that each of the squares of the 9 patch were individually cut--no rotary cutting or strip piecing there!--and all are consistent size. Seams are more like 1/8" than 1/4. As I remember her machine, that it about the width of the presser foot on that machine though. This is going to be a challenge but, as with you finishing your own mother's work, it will be rewarding. We will hope our moms are watching.

  18. #18
    Junior Member Janan's Avatar
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    Illinois, I also found the beginnings of a wedding ring quilt along with the original pattern and millions of little squares. All of the fabric is as fragile as the quilt shown in this thread. I think if i tried to finish piecing this quilt top, the fabric would fall apart. I'm not sure I want to tackle it and I'm not sure anyone would love to get these precious pieces!

  19. #19
    Power Poster Jingle's Avatar
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    When I was hand quilting years ago I only used regular hand quilting thread with the coating on it. It doesn't tangle as easy as most regular uncoated thread does.

    Good luck. Top is gorgeous and hand quilting it is in order for the time it was made. Lucky you to have it.
    Another Phyllis
    This life is the only one you get - enjoy it before you lose it.

  20. #20
    Super Member Jeanette Frantz's Avatar
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    I have a quilt top I'm going to hand quilt. The blocks are all state flower blocks, with blue calico sashing and borders. With all the hand work my aunt (who is 92 now) did when she embroidered the blocks for this top some 30-50 years ago, I think it deserves to be hand quilted. I know it's going to be a big job.
    Last edited by Jeanette Frantz; 09-11-2018 at 09:45 PM. Reason: correction

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