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Thread: Finished the Vintage Top

  1. #1
    Super Member Rose_P's Avatar
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    Finished the Vintage Top

    Some of you may have read my post several weeks ago about this top that was given to me by my SIL's sister at a family gathering. She thought it looked like a dog's breakfast, and I tend to agree, but I could tell that the elderly parents who had passed away in recent years had some important feelings about it because they kept it even after they drastically downsized. Nobody seems to know who pieced it. As I worked with it I began to realize that it is probably made entirely of discarded clothing from a family and maybe a few curtains. I checked a couple of reference books I have about fabric and I think it's safe to say they are all prior to about 1960, and many date to the 1940's or possibly earlier. One square has little African American boy - style hitching posts all over it, probably from a pair of men's boxer shorts or pajamas ordered from the Sears catalog in the early 1950's. It's a sad legacy of that time, and pins the quilt squarely before the time when respectable people were expected to have their consciences raised about black servitude.

    This piece was kept as clean and fresh as could be for its age, and had no musty or cigarette odors on it. After I finished it I ran it through a gentle cycle in the washer and dryer and I'm surprised to see it's even fresher and brighter than it was. It had almost no trace of stain to begin with, and now they're gone. I am not one to baby bed-size quilts. I want them to be used, and if they're going to be used, they have to be washed by machine. The person who started this project all those years ago was not trying to make something that would be stored in acid proof paper in a hope chest and never used. It's a very practical sort of quilt. It's the kind of thing I totally loved looking at when I was a little girl sleeping at my grandma's house. I have enjoyed every minute working with it, more than stuff I make from scratch from new fabric and artistically designed patterns. I'm giving it to my SIL and will urge her to let her grandkids sleep under it when they visit.

    When I started ironing the top I discovered that some of the "squares" - using the term very loosely, LOL - were cut in the most jagged and irregular way and sewn by hand with long, crooked running stitches and thick, doubled thread, with seams that varied from 1/8" to 3/4" in some places. Then, in the worst cases of that, an adult came along and sewed a straight line by machine. Much of it was cut and machine sewn very precisely, obviously by the adult. I believe this was a little girl's first lesson in making a quilt, and her mom or grandma or some other loving adult guided her along the way, but let her take much of the responsibility and learn from it. The toughest lesson in evidence was the fact that the setting triangles were cut from squares that were the same size as the other squares, not allowing for any seam allowance on the diagonal. So they had to lop corners all around the quilt in order to add the border. I think in this case it just adds to the charm and lets the quilt tell its story. I don't know why it never got finished, but perhaps the little girl went on to other things. Maybe she spent the next 50 years making better quilts. I know that one of the SIL's aunts was a very accomplished quilter.
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    "Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities." - Voltaire

  2. #2
    DJ
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    Wow, you've given it new life with your loving care and appreciation. Nice work and beautiful story.

  3. #3
    Power Poster
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    What a treasure! Maybe the Aunt that quilts knows the whole story. It's super. Thank you for taking such good care of this quilt. BrendaK
    Be kind to yourself, by being kind to others. When you help others you help yourself.

  4. #4
    Power Poster JuneBillie's Avatar
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    I am working on one for my brother in law made by his grandma just so much like this one. I am going so slow on it to restore it. You did a great job on this quilt.
    "Sometimes it's OK if the only thing you did today was breathe."
    Good friends are right there with you.

    Susan

  5. #5
    Power Poster twinkie's Avatar
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    Thank you for finishing someone's dream.

  6. #6
    Moderator QuiltnNan's Avatar
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    a real treasure beautifully finished
    Nancy in western NY
    before you speak THINK
    T is it True? H is it Helpful? I is it Inspiring? N is it Necessary? K is it Kind?


  7. #7
    Super Member liking quilting's Avatar
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    Your quilt rescue and finish remind of a novel that could have been written by Jennifer Cheverenie (sp?) You did a great job!
    Mavis

  8. #8
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    Nice to be able to save something that meant a lot to a family. I have a sunbonnet sue quilt that was made for a daughter and when her mother went into assisted living she was going to throw it away. She asked my DIL if she knew someone who whould want it and she said yes. Brought it to me and I now have it safe. All hand done and hand quilted. I just don't understand people who don't understand the value of something that was made for them by a parent. Their loss and my gain.

  9. #9
    Super Member vicki reno's Avatar
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    Such a nice quilt! I share your opinion about quilts and sometimes, when new parents tell me that the baby quilt I made for their new baby is on the wall, I cringe. That is not why I made it. i wanted it to be used, not on the wall. I mean no disrespect, but cannot understand that, nor canI understand the joy of making a quilt just to enter in shows and see how much money you can win. I know it gives some people happiness, but it is not my cup of tea. I love sleeping under quilts and do so whenever the weather cooperates.
    I made it to the mtns and love every minute of it!

  10. #10
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    what a treasure. You've done splendid work saving this special quilt. Seldom do we get to work with vintage fabric with a story.

  11. #11
    Power Poster Homespun's Avatar
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    I love the story and your finish! It deserved to be saved.
    Retired teacher, loving it.
    Love quilting also.

  12. #12
    Super Member GingerK's Avatar
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    Thank you for a lovely story. You have helped preserve someone's treasured possession. Well done!
    Never argue with an idiot. They'll drag you down the their level and beat you with experience.

  13. #13
    Super Member luvstoquilt's Avatar
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    What a great story. I love that quilt. I hope it gets a lot of use with grandkids. It deserves to make a lot of memories!
    "You must do the thing you think you cannot do"....E. Roosevelt

    Sharon
    Yorkville, IL

  14. #14
    Super Member wesing's Avatar
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    Great job in finishing this quilt and finally letting it live it's life! I also wanted to comment on the backing you chose - it has a definite vintage vibe to it and complements the top.

  15. #15
    Power Poster Jingle's Avatar
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    It looks great now, with your help.
    Another Phyllis
    This life is the only one you get - enjoy it before you lose it.

  16. #16
    Super Member Rose_P's Avatar
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    Thanks for all the sweet responses. I was just so happy to have a little hand in this one.

    Vicki, as for a baby quilt on the wall, many young parents these days are told not to use covers with their babies for fear of suffocation. They're supposed to have the crib free of anything the child can tangle in. I think that applies to newborns up to a certain age, but I don't know how long. Under the circumstances, you should probably feel honored that they wanted to display your quilt in the baby's room. When I give a baby quilt, I always tell them it's for "tummy time" on the floor before the baby can crawl, and I try to make it as colorful as possible for that reason.
    "Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities." - Voltaire

  17. #17
    Junior Member Crispy_Frog's Avatar
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    This really has a vintage charm to it. It grows on you. I love what you did!

  18. #18
    Super Member Taughtby Grandma's Avatar
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    I would love to have that quilt to use. So glad you were able to finish it. The quilting adds to the beauty.
    Jeanie

  19. #19
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    Beautiful quilt and story. Thanks for sharing the story and your discoveries with us.
    Pat

    Pfaff 7510, Viking Mega Quilter, Viking Quilt Designer II, Singer Treadle

    http://craftypat.blogspot.com/

  20. #20
    Super Member quilter2theend's Avatar
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    Great story on the quilt, so glad you rescued it and gave it some loving care.

  21. #21
    Super Member 1screech's Avatar
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    I think it is gorgeous.

  22. #22
    lue
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    Bless you for putting such love and care into this quilt! You did a lovely job.

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