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Thread: Repurposing a "Well Loved" Vintage Quilt - Looking for Ideas

  1. #1
    Member iCreate's Avatar
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    Repurposing a "Well Loved" Vintage Quilt - Looking for Ideas

    I have a worn, actually, thread bare in places vintage quilt made by my grandma. I'm looking for creative ideas on repurposing pieces of the quilt...Christmas stocking, frame a block, little 3D blocks in a mason jar are a few I've thought of... I made a quilt incorporating pieces of various heirloom linens, which I love, so I'm not opposed to cutting it up for various projects if I have a solid plan. Any suggestions?

  2. #2
    Super Member cashs_mom's Avatar
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    It would help if you posted pics of the quilt or at least the usable pieces. I like the idea of framing blocks. It preserves them as well as displays them. You could also make some small items like a table topper or runner (if there's enough usable blocks), I'd just be careful of using them so they don't get damaged.
    Patrice S

    Bernina Artista 180, Singer 301a, Featherweight Centennial, Rocketeer, Juki 2200 QVP Mini, White 1964 Featherweight

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    Member iCreate's Avatar
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Size:  1.75 MBThe quilt is 70x80. Eack block is 13.5x13.5. A few of the blocks are still in one piece, though friagile. The sashing mixed frayed vs fragile.

  4. #4
    Member iCreate's Avatar
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    Thank you for suggesting to post a picture. It should now be part of the thread. The quilt is well used and loved which I'm sure would make my grandma smile. I have only recently decided that I have to stop using it and try to preserve pieces.

  5. #5
    Super Member cashs_mom's Avatar
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    Awww, what a sweet quilt. I hope you find some good uses for the good parts of it.
    Patrice S

    Bernina Artista 180, Singer 301a, Featherweight Centennial, Rocketeer, Juki 2200 QVP Mini, White 1964 Featherweight

  6. #6
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    You could get a quilt rack and just hang it over it if you want to keep it near and pet it once in a while.

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    What a lovely quilt. I don't come from a family tradition of quilting so I have none from my family -- but my hope is that those that come after me should be taken care of. While yours has some condition issues, it isn't too far gone. Sometimes the only thing that can be done is to use it as batting for a new project...

    You could simply applique either vintage or Aunt Grace fabrics over the really gone fabrics, and then reback it with new fabric and quilt it through all layers in a 1" or so grid to stabilize it all. In terms of quilt restoration (and here it is the memories that are most important) a quilt is only as old as its newest piece.

    For the blades that are not completely gone but are decaying, you can carefully zig zag through the affected fabric in a similar thread color.

    It pains me to say anything about cutting apart, but depending on how many grand/great-grands etc, and how many whole blocks you have, you could frame squares and give them to the rest of the family along with a note on the back about Grandma/this quilt.

    Similarly, you could sacrifice a couple of the worst blocks to fix the ones that only have a blade or two that need replacing by very carefully taking some of them apart. I'd keep the quilt in the existing layers and then reset the blocks on point with fresh bubblegum pink lattice and/or hourglass blocks (like the sashing squares) around the border to keep it a bed size.

    It's sad to face and I think part of the beauty of a quilt is that they do break down over time if you are going to use them and enjoy them -- but in my design philosophy that's what I make them for is to be used.

  8. #8
    Super Member luvstoquilt's Avatar
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    I have a quilt made by my grandmother, her mother and her sisters. It is in pretty bad shape but I still keep it. A few years ago I was really sick and I had surgery. When I got home I got that quilt out and used it. It was so comforting to me and was just what I needed...comfort from my mom. It is put away now but will be there for me if I need it again.
    "You must do the thing you think you cannot do"....E. Roosevelt

    Sharon
    Yorkville, IL

  9. #9
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    That's such a hard choice. I hate to see them cut up but I understand why. I have seen some stuffed teddy bears made out of older quilts.But if the fabric won't hold up, that is not an option. I love the idea of appliqueing fabric over the ones that are decaying. I have also seen blocks framed. Maybe a few blocks could be sacrificed for fabric and a whole block could be framed. You may have kids or cousins that would appreciate a grandmother's block.

  10. #10
    Super Member SusieQOH's Avatar
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    What a precious quilt! Ohhhh I love it.
    I like the idea of displaying it on a quilt rack, or maybe a cabinet with glass. It doesn't look too far gone from the pic but I could be wrong.

  11. #11
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    Personally, I wouldn't cut it up. It's beautiful and obviously well loved. I would display it somehow.

  12. #12
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    Very pretty quilt! What about making decorator pillows, or pillow shams out of it?

    I have a dog, about 1 1/2 years old now that went through puppyhood chewing up anything made of wool. He found my antique, wool camp blankets and chewed holes in all of them. I've made a few into various shaped throw pillows and they look great.

    ~ C

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    You could also use it to cover a bench seat.
    ~C

  14. #14
    Super Member copycat's Avatar
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    I enjoyed seeing your Grandma's quilt..You have some wonderful ideas already.

    For the blocks still in one piece, I would frame them due to being so fragile. I have seen handles added to frames to make a serving tray if you don't wish to hang it on the wall.

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    Thank you for bringing this up. I have no suggestions for you, but this discussion tells me I need to get my older, worn quilts out and display them. I don't use them any more because they are stained, worn, etc. They show the progression of my quilting over 40+ years. Display rather than hiding in a closet might be the best thing I can do with them.

  16. #16
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    You could make Christmas ornaments out of small pieces.

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    Quote Originally Posted by SusieQOH View Post
    What a precious quilt! Ohhhh I love it.
    I like the idea of displaying it on a quilt rack, or maybe a cabinet with glass. It doesn't look too far gone from the pic but I could be wrong.
    Totally agree - wouldn't cut it up, it's too pretty.

  18. #18
    Super Member humbird's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SusieQOH View Post
    What a precious quilt! Ohhhh I love it.
    I like the idea of displaying it on a quilt rack, or maybe a cabinet with glass. It doesn't look too far gone from the pic but I could be wrong.
    My thoughts exactly. Beautiful quilt!

  19. #19
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    How about using a dresden or two to serve as flowers in a smaller quilt? or do a single dresden as a small quilt as gift to family members in honor of your grandmother. Add stem and leaves, and possibly other floral fabrics as the background. I had a Grandmother's flower garden in a similar condition and I cut out flower shape and used those in this way.
    Kate

  20. #20
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    I hate to see you cut up this piece of your family history. Once cut, you can never get it back. I have some like that from my own grandmother and I just fold them to where the bad places donít show and either drape them on a guest bed or hang them where theyíre not in harmís way. Youíll figure out whatís right for you!

  21. #21
    Super Member Irishrose2's Avatar
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    The first cut is the hardest! I cut a ragged quilt that my grandmother made for me. I am framing pieces for my children - and one for me, of course. They remember wrapping in it when they didn't feel well. Grandma was so pleased that someone used a quilt enough to wear it out that she made me another. After I get my 6 cuts, I may just bind the rest for my youngest daughter. She's having her knee replaced in a few weeks. There are lots of ideas if the quilt suits your decor. I would use three blocks for a table runner.

  22. #22
    Super Member sJens's Avatar
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    Love your quilt. I would try to preserve the blocks as much as possible. I have one that my grandmother and her future mother-in-law made before grandpa and grandma got married. It is not in good condition but I will never take it apart to make something else and I hope one of my daughters will treasure it as I have.

  23. #23
    Super Member Rose_P's Avatar
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    I rescued a tattered mess of a quilt from a garage sale for 25 cents one time, questioning my sanity as I walked off with this treasure. I had to put it into a mesh bag to wash it because it looked and smelled as if they'd let the dog whelp on it and cotton batting fluffs were falling out. I was able to salvage enough to make a good sized teddy bear, and it sits in an old doll crib in my sewing room and smiles at me when I walk by. I've had it more than 20 years.

    That said, I regret that I didn't just frame some of the better parts of it. A teddy bear doesn't go with the general decor in a house as well.
    True self-care is not salt baths and chocolate cake, it is making the choice to build a life you donít need to regularly escape from. ~Brianna Wiest

  24. #24
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    That looks exactly like a quilt I received from my mom (it was great grandma's). Right down to the color of the sashing.

  25. #25
    Super Member ccthomas's Avatar
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    My children all received a Christmas angel when they were young from a vintage quilt from a grandmother's ragged quilt.
    Carol

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