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Thread: A Vintage UFO

  1. #1
    Super Member Rose_P's Avatar
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    A Vintage UFO

    Over the weekend we went to a family wedding. My SIL's sister approached me, knowing my interest in quilts, and offered me a quilt top that had turned up in the family things after her father's recent passing at the age of 95. Nobody seems to know who made it, but it could be from either side of their family (Their mother had died earlier at age 98 and definitely had quilters in her family). The woman who gave it to me had tried to donate it to her local quilt guild, but nobody responded to her email. She said she didn't find it all that attractive and wanted to find a home for it. I am pleased to have it because, although I agree that it's not the most lovely design, it reminds me of the utilitarian work my grandmother did, of which I have none. Here are some pictures - sorry not good in the tight space with morning light streaming in.

    I have been studying the fabrics and concluded that it may date to the 1950's because a large number of them are similar to things that were around in my childhood. Some are quite old, including a few feedsack prints and others that are probably 1930's and 40's, which would be consistent with the generation of the grandparents of my SIL, who would have had many grandchildren by the mid-1950's. Many of the 7" squares were cut from used clothes because you can see the crease from a hem and the stitches that held it up, as well as random seams here and there. The workmanship is not good, with some seams under 1/8" inch and quite a lot of puckering. To get things squared up and the grain straight, the border was torn in strips. It's machine pieced at about 8 stitches per inch. It's 99X 78". It might have been someone's first attempt or just the work of someone who was in a big hurry. Still, I find the overall effect charming and I may see what I can do to turn it into a quilt.
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    True self-care is not salt baths and chocolate cake, it is making the choice to build a life you don’t need to regularly escape from. ~Brianna Wiest

  2. #2
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    Don't you just love those old quilts? Back in the day the batting was so thick and the quilts were tied. This allowed for all those little flaws to disappear.

  3. #3
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    Maybe you can do something about the very skimpy seams - and then tie it.

    It looks like something my Grandma B. would have made. She was prolific - she did allow generous seam allowances, though.

  4. #4
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    What a wonderful piece of history. I have a quilt my sister bought at thrift store or something. It is double knit polyester - think women's pants suits from 1972. It is not "pretty" but I like it because I imagine an elderly lady piecing it from scraps or old pants suits.
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  5. #5
    Senior Member AVFD215's Avatar
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    What an interesting story. It is surprising no one in the family want it.
    Seems many people do not appreciate the effort that went into a quilt like that.

  6. #6
    Moderator QuiltnNan's Avatar
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    you can make it fine, the quilting will disguise the corners
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    Power Poster nativetexan's Avatar
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    I was just going to say it would look great tied!! nice find!!

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    Super Member jbj137's Avatar
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    ***
    *** I am soooo glad she did not put it in the garbage. I like it. Reminds me of my childhood quilts.
    ***
    J J (jbj137)

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  9. #9
    Power Poster dunster's Avatar
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    I've received wonderful old tops like that and had fun quilting them. My preference is to machine quilt it fairly densely so that the quilting holds those skimpy seams together. If you get a tuck or two, that's okay - at least it will be a quilt and not an unloved top. Please post when you get it done.

  10. #10
    Super Member Daylesewblessed's Avatar
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    I think that the sister-in-law who gave it to you and the other relatives who didn't want it will be surprised at how nice it will look when it is finished. Enjoy the process!

  11. #11
    Super Member Rose_P's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jbj137 View Post
    ***
    *** I am soooo glad she did not put it in the garbage. I like it. Reminds me of my childhood quilts.
    ***
    Me, too!!! But she wouldn't have done that. She said that if I didn't want it, she would have donated it somewhere. Not keeping it in the family was just a matter of them having too many nostalgia items. Other quilts were finished and nicer than this project, and nobody in that bunch is currently a quilter, though one of the late mom's sisters made beautiful quilts in her lifetime. In any case, I'm thankful that I have a chance to make a quilt out of this and see if the family will feel differently about it then.
    True self-care is not salt baths and chocolate cake, it is making the choice to build a life you don’t need to regularly escape from. ~Brianna Wiest

  12. #12
    Super Member Rose_P's Avatar
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    Thanks for the encouraging words! I will probably do some basic machine quilting with my walking foot and maybe add a few motifs with the embroidery machine. I'm impressed when people do hand tying, but it's not for me. I just got the embroidery machine last month and never realized before that they can do quilting such as this. This sample is two layers of cotton fabric sandwiching Warm and Natural. No stabilizer is needed, but it does have to be hooped snugly. I made this little test with poly embroidery thread, but for an actual quilt, I'd use cotton on top and in the bobbin.
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    True self-care is not salt baths and chocolate cake, it is making the choice to build a life you don’t need to regularly escape from. ~Brianna Wiest

  13. #13
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    Have fun with the embroidery machine! I'd love to be given something like that to work on and once it's quilted someone will decide they like it after all.

  14. #14
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    We will be watching to see what you decide to do with it.

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    their loss. It is going to be magnificent when quilted. I would label it "family heirloom" & show it off at the next reunion. Thank goodness it wasn't lost.

  16. #16
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    I have learned a lesson with this story. I have several tops that have not been finished. I will add a note to these telling the story of why I made them and make sure my name is on the story. That way if some one finds it they can finish it and still give me credit. I need all the credit's I can get!

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    I too think it is well worth finishing, and will be a great heirloom when finished. How do you feel about using a bright contrasting print binding? A 40s look. The fabric would mostly pass for 30s/40s repro, I think.

    Along the lines of frugality, my FIL was a drycleaner , and of necessity learned to sew, in order to repair, hem, take in and let out the suits he cleaned. He used old and "abandoned" suits to make very heavy quilts. They are not attractive, and are too heavy to be practical, but they were welcome on a few nights that the power went out, I can tell you.

  18. #18
    Super Member tlpa's Avatar
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    It's fun to look at the different fabrics in the quilt. Thanks for sharing!

  19. #19
    Power Poster Homespun's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dunster View Post
    I've received wonderful old tops like that and had fun quilting them. My preference is to machine quilt it fairly densely so that the quilting holds those skimpy seams together. If you get a tuck or two, that's okay - at least it will be a quilt and not an unloved top. Please post when you get it done.
    I agree with Dunster.
    Retired teacher, loving it.
    Love quilting also.

  20. #20
    Super Member Rose_P's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Garden Gnome View Post
    I too think it is well worth finishing, and will be a great heirloom when finished. How do you feel about using a bright contrasting print binding? A 40s look. The fabric would mostly pass for 30s/40s repro, I think.

    Along the lines of frugality, my FIL was a drycleaner , and of necessity learned to sew, in order to repair, hem, take in and let out the suits he cleaned. He used old and "abandoned" suits to make very heavy quilts. They are not attractive, and are too heavy to be practical, but they were welcome on a few nights that the power went out, I can tell you.
    Not repro. I'm pretty sure this is old, as in about 50 60 years or more. Some of the types of fabrics in it are very much like things I remember from my childhood, and they're not quilter's cottons, for the most part, but things that would have been used in garments of the time (before double knits). Some of the fabrics almost certainly date to a decade or two before it was assembled. If I had to guess who made it, I'd say it was probably the aunt who later made prettier quilts. Maybe she wasn't all that fond of this one herself. She was a younger sister of my SIL's mom, both part of that great generation that lived through the Depression and WW2.

    I agree with Donna that we should include some information with our UFO's because otherwise they won't get due respect and people forget who started them. I'm sure my SIL's dad, who was the last survivor of that generation of their family, probably kept it for a reason and knew who made it, but he passed on before anyone could ask him what he knew. Even without the full story, the scrappy fabrics leftover from sewing clothes for the family, and in some cases maybe even cut from discarded garments or curtains, have a story about frugality that anyone can notice and appreciate, even without knowing the who, what, when and where behind it. But wouldn't it be good to know!
    True self-care is not salt baths and chocolate cake, it is making the choice to build a life you don’t need to regularly escape from. ~Brianna Wiest

  21. #21
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    I love it. Sometimes we forget that quilts were often made of whatever was handy because they were needed to keep warm. There are so many wonderful choices these days for us quilters and we take our bounty for granted. Please finish this quilt and post a photo.

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