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Thread: Need Advice on an Unfinished for a dear friend...

  1. #1
    Member DeedeeSwift's Avatar
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    Question Need Advice on an Unfinished for a dear friend...

    I love this board and am confident someone will (hopefully) read and make sense of this project and say to themselves, "I know what that is..it's a such-and-so and this is all you need to do to finish it!"

    Interested in input, even if it means taking parts of this thing apart and re-assembling it in a more traditional manner, but I'd rather try to find a way to go forward if I can.

    Here's my problem. One of my good friends is a sweetie, but can't sew a stitch. She brought me a
    somewhat unfinished quilt that she would really like finished. She's a dear friend and I love her and I really want
    to do this for her and of course I said, "sure dear, (gulp) no problem!" Her sister-in-law started it years ago and, as these stories typically go, she died before she could finish it. It was to be a quilt for my friend's daughter, who was too young to participate in anything other than picking the fabric (little green frogs and so forth). Dot is a sweet kid and is now finishing grad school and, as these stories go, would be so grateful to receive a treasure from a beloved aunt. Up until this point it has been packed away in a closet.

    The quilt top is a set of apprx. 5" squares sewn together and appears to be
    complete. Not all the squares fit together exactly so I am trying to avoid taking it apart.
    The backing is green flannel and appears that it was meant to be
    pieced. It's hard to tell how this thing was intended to be finished. Is there a
    standard pattern or method that has binding on only 3 sides and a pieced
    backing?
    Because, that's what this appears to be.. it's partially quilted and
    the batting appears to be damaged, but I think I can fix that part.
    Packed with the quilt was plenty of backing material (flannel) and
    what appears to be material for binding (uncut complimentary fabric yardage).

    Imagine:
    The quilt top is 5" squares sewn together in a pattern 19 X 16. All along one side of the quilt, the top, batting and the partial pieced backing (flannel) were sewn together right sides together..then some quilting (stitch in a ditch) was started along some rows of the squares, appearing to leave the other three sides "open" (batting top and backing hanging out), as if waiting for binding. I've been looking around trying to find a
    method this might match.

    I'm quite hopeful that someone will figure this out and say,
    "oh that's a such-and-so" and the mystery will
    be solved OR a way to finish it with the backing and binding material remaining.
    Thank you all in advance for advice or suggestions.

    Deedee

  2. #2
    Power Poster earthwalker's Avatar
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    Can you post pics. Some of us require a more visual presentation (not that you didn't explain it well....it's just how some eyes/brains connect the dots).

  3. #3
    Super Member justflyingin's Avatar
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    My guess is she didn't know what she was doing.

    Just bind it normally and be done. I don't think I'd worry about what the original person had as an intent because unless you know what kind of a seamstress she was, you don't really know if it is something that SHOULD be followed.

    It's really sweet of you to finish this. My husband always says that it is easier to repair something from scratch than take over after someone else has started to repair something (think mechanic, here, okay) and then given up.

  4. #4
    Super Member Lisa_wanna_b_quilter's Avatar
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    "All along one side of the quilt, the top, batting and the partial pieced backing (flannel) were sewn together right
    sides together..then some quilting (stitch in a ditch) was started along some rows of the squares, appearing to
    leave the other three sides "open" (batting top and backing hanging out), as if waiting for binding."

    Was she doing "envelope" or "pillowcase" method? That's the only thing that even sort of rings a bell to me.

  5. #5
    Super Member mermaid's Avatar
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    Don't think it was envelope or pillowcase method if SID quilting already started on that turned side. I'd just bind the entire quilt, as already suggested, and have done with it. Perhaps the orig. creator didn't really know what she was doing???

  6. #6
    Member DeedeeSwift's Avatar
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    Red face Here are some pics.

    Thank you all so far! Here are some pics - excuse the mess in my house..you can see the culprit in one of the pics. Kitty seems to like the pattern!

    The pic Top2 shows what really is a pretty pattern that I would like to keep the integrity of, I think;
    The upper left corner tries to show where the along one side the back batting and quilttop were sewn together across what appears to be along the top; and
    The backside pic shows the partially pieced backing, the remaining damaged batting (which I'll have to fix).

    It's hard to see that some of the quilting was done too. Stitch in a ditch along some of the rows.

    Thanks again for help and advice!
    Attached Images Attached Images



  7. #7
    Super Member faykilgore's Avatar
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    I've done some "save my heirloom" projects and they are always a challenge but appreciated sooo much. Personally, I would take the quilting out and take the backing and batting off, so that you have just the pieced top. I would put a complimentary border around that to square it up, then sandwich, quilt and bind. That will also let you inspect the seams in the top and repair as needed so it won't disintegrate with the first washing. You can still use the backing and binding fabric that came with it. Good luck, whatever you decide to do.
    Fay

    "You can't help that. We're all mad here." - The Cheshire Cat from Alice in Wonderland.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by faykilgore View Post
    I've done some "save my heirloom" projects and they are always a challenge but appreciated sooo much. Personally, I would take the quilting out and take the backing and batting off, so that you have just the pieced top. I would put a complimentary border around that to square it up, then sandwich, quilt and bind. That will also let you inspect the seams in the top and repair as needed so it won't disintegrate with the first washing. You can still use the backing and binding fabric that came with it. Good luck, whatever you decide to do.
    That does sound like the most efficient way -

    Undo whatever quilting there is
    Remove the backing
    Remove the batting

    See what you actually have to work with

    Go from there

  9. #9
    Super Member Peckish's Avatar
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    You know what it looks like to me? It looks like either the original maker either didn't know what she was doing, as others have said, OR she ditched that project and cut the backing to use in something else. I second the suggestion to take the quilting apart and go from there. It's a cute quilt.

  10. #10
    Power Poster PaperPrincess's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bearisgray View Post
    That does sound like the most efficient way -

    Undo whatever quilting there is
    Remove the backing
    Remove the batting

    See what you actually have to work with

    Go from there
    I agree even I you loose some of the original quilting, it will be easier in the long run to undo back to just a quilt top. You may want to have your friend purchase a new batt.
    "I do not understand how anyone can live without one small place of enchantment to turn to."
    Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings

  11. #11
    Super Member Crqltr's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by faykilgore View Post
    I've done some "save my heirloom" projects and they are always a challenge but appreciated sooo much. Personally, I would take the quilting out and take the backing and batting off, so that you have just the pieced top. I would put a complimentary border around that to square it up, then sandwich, quilt and bind. That will also let you inspect the seams in the top and repair as needed so it won't disintegrate with the first washing. You can still use the backing and binding fabric that came with it. Good luck, whatever you decide to do.
    I agree, I think its the best way to go, borders would really make a diff. Cute quilt!

  12. #12
    Super Member Jan in VA's Avatar
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    I'm sorry to be among those voices for completely taking it apart; but having done this several times myself, I believe you (and they) will ultimately be much happier with the finished product. Fay had the right objective when she mentioned inspecting the seams of the original piecing.....so many issues point to someone who probably did not know what they were doing, so you can assume there may be issues with the seaming, too.

    If you have to go all the way to individual 5" blocks, don't despair, it *will* be worth it in the end. It'll take you maybe a day or two to take it apart, but could frustrate you for several days to try to finish it like it was started.
    You could replicate the quilting stitch design on your machine and cut down on your time *in* that way, too.

    What a precious thing you are doing for your friend. You and she will always remember it and both be warmed by this quilt.

    Jan in VA
    Jan in VA
    Living in the foothills
    peacefully colors my world.
    http://www.quiltingboard.com/members...bums19552.html

  13. #13
    Super Member Bluelady's Avatar
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    I also am in the camp of take it apart and redo. That way you know it will last. It will lay better, feel better and will be around for a long time for her to remember her aunt by. And adding borders would make it a little larger too, all the better to snuggle up with!

  14. #14
    Super Member ArtsyOne's Avatar
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    I think the original quilter attempted to do a pillowcase method and got confused about the location of the batting. I've done it myself - when I turned it inside out I had the batting on the outside. That's probably why the quilt was not completed. I'm going to second everyone's opinion to take out the quilting and separate the layers so that you can start out with a proper sandwich with the layers in the correct order. It's a pretty quilt, so it'll turn out just fine.
    A fabric stash is always missing that one fabric needed to finish the quilt on which you're working.

  15. #15
    Senior Member kristakz's Avatar
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    Looks to me like an attempt to quilt in sections - keeping part of the backing off initially, to reduce bulk. I was initially thinking - just piece the backing together and finish quilting. But the amount of damage to the batting might be the deciding factor. If the batting isn't too bad, and you are comfortable repairing it, that's what I'd do. Repair batting, piece backing, finish STID on the quilt. Then, I'd probably unstitch the top edge (or cut it) and bind all 4 sides.

    But, if the batting is really bad (in the photo, it looks like it's completely crooked/half-missing?) I might feel obliged to take the 3 layer apart and start over. I would NOT however, modify the front/top of the quilt. That is done and unless you have major issues like seams unraveling I'd leave it as it was done by the aunt, even if it's not perfect.

  16. #16
    Super Member irishrose's Avatar
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    If you don't want to undo the SITD, I would take out that stitching on the one side so it looks like a regular unbound quilt, then patch the batting, fix the back and quilt it any way you want - meander or SITD. Then it will be ready for binding.

  17. #17
    Power Poster dunster's Avatar
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    If it looks like the top piecing will hold, you could just buy a new piece of flannel big enough for the whole back, and pretend the original backing and quilting aren't there. Quilt the piece, bind it in the usual way, and be done. You will have preserved the original quilter's work (the top) and won't spend a lot of time with unsewing, which is bound to result in frayed fabric and lots of frustration. The recipient will be thrilled to have it done and won't notice that one side is thicker than the other. (If that bothers you, you could first lay another piece of flannel over that part of the back.)

  18. #18
    Senior Member QuiltingHaven's Avatar
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    It appears to me that the original quilter was going to make the quilt by sewing the right sides together on three sides and then didn't get it completed. Then someone else came along and started quilting it on a "guess" that this was correct. I would fold under the the 4th side and hand stitch it. Then complete the quilting if possible - if not take out the beginning of the quilting and redo that. Then, hand or machine quilt it. And if neither of those work, take the completed top apart from the backing, put in newer batting, and add the backing (either original or new) and use the binding that is there to complete the quilt. Make a label with both the original Quilter and the 'fix it" quilter with love for the recipient of the quilt.
    Busy in Ohio

  19. #19
    Senior Member rj.neihart's Avatar
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    I'm thinking whoever the quilter was, didn't really know what they were doing. If I were you, I'd just fix those areas of damage and put binding on it and let it go to it's new home. I don't think others look at the areas we look at - we sometimes make it more complicated than it could be...lol

  20. #20
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    I agree with the other folks take the quilting out .. I think she started to quilt it after she had turned it right side out thus causing bumps and gathers... so she got frustrated and stopped... take out the quilting while watching tv and put it back together correctly... please put a label on it with the story about this quilt so the daughter will appreciate the history and the person who finished it for her..
    hugs
    quiltinmama

  21. #21
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    I concur with all who have recommended taking this apart and starting with the completed top and finishing with a method the new quilter is comfortable doing. BUT FIRST, please tell the person who is asking you to finish this about your frustration with how the quilt is now and the finishing. The top is great but the owner should know the quilt as it is now presents some problems for you and what the finishing might require. The "fix" should not be a complete surprise to her. The top would still be the original. Perhaps the owner wants it to be all original and would rather have it as a UFO but, if she wants it finished, give her some options on how it might look if you do it with your own methods. It lets her have some input on "making the quilt" her own, too.

  22. #22
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    Man, that dark green flannel is going to fade big time! I would definitely take that off and wash it, since you probably don't know if it was prewashed. I would take out the stitching and start over with just the top. I always hate to come in on the second act on any project!

  23. #23
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    It's a toughy. I understand that you might want to preserve what quilting was done if it was hand quilting. If it was machine quilting I would forget it, take the quilt apart, check all seams on the top. (By the way, I love the top.) I couldn't tell for sure, but the back didn't seem straight with the top, maybe it was the way you moved it for the photo. If it isn't straight, you will never get it straight without taking it apart. You can't replace the batting without taking it apart, you'll have to judge how bad the batting is. In the end, it's a judgement call, you have the quilt in your hands. I think taking it apart and starting over with the top will give the best result. Agree with the person who said you should talk to the owner before doing that. Do they want a better quilt, or do they want everything preserved?

  24. #24
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    Unfortunately, I agree with the others: take it apart and redo. You'll save yourself frustration in the long run. Good luck and be sure and post pics as you go.

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bluelady View Post
    I also am in the camp of take it apart and redo. That way you know it will last. It will lay better, feel better and will be around for a long time for her to remember her aunt by. And adding borders would make it a little larger too, all the better to snuggle up with!
    And once you make the decision to take it apart (are resigned to do it) it will go faster than you think. I recently took a lot of (my own) quilting out of a project and once I started, was glad I did it. Then you can move ahead doing it the way you know it should be done. You offered to finish it; it is now YOUR project, so do it the way you think best. Think of it this way: otherwise, it would still be lanquishing in a box somewhere, never to be finished.

    Good luck!

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