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Thread: Quilting an old (like 100 years) quilt top

  1. #1
    Super Member Eddie's Avatar
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    There's a couple, Tom and Gail, that I know from a local historical group that I'm good friends with, have known them about 20 years. They're more like second parents to me, and Gail has even told me at times that I'm her "second son". :) Tom's grandmother made many quilts and he has probably a dozen tops of hers that were never quilted. So Gail asked if I would quilt a couple of them. I was delighted. :D And she gave me my pick of the tops to keep for myself to make me one as well.
    Now I was doubly delighted. :D :D

    The tops were made by Mary Jane (Weathers) Senter, and she was born in 1843 and died in 1937 at age 93. She married Robert Winthrop Senter in 1861 when she was 18. I'm not sure how old she was when she made this particular quilt top, but in looking at the fabrics I can see some that are strikingly similar to some Civil War reproduction fabric that I have. So my guess is maybe late 1800s. There was not a straight seam anywhere on the top, but I guess that's part of the charm, right? :) This first quilt is one that Gail picked out that she wanted done, and I just did a free-motion quilt pattern all over it so it will hopefully help it hold up from any deterioration. I had some nice red-check fabric that I used for the binding on it that matched some of the fabric in it really well.

    Looking forward to doing the next two now. :D

    I have some Civil War repro fabric that is almost identical to that fabric in the middle square.
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  2. #2
    Moderator Jim's Gem's Avatar
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    You did a wonderful job quilting it!!!
    How special for you to do this for them and even more special that you get to keep one for yourself!!!

  3. #3
    Super Member Dawn Hendrix's Avatar
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    WOW.. that is some treasure.. and MORE to boot!!! Yes I am jealous!

  4. #4
    Super Member raptureready's Avatar
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    Eddie, that's a beautiful old quilt. I love those old ones.
    Hey, I'm going to try those Hickory Nuts tomorrow at a one day retreat. I want to do a table runner and maybe some trivets. The fabric I picked has bird houses and birds on it. I'll try to post a pix if they turn out okay.

  5. #5
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    Just wondering if you included the 'history' of the quilt and maker in a label for the quilt - for the next generation!

  6. #6
    Super Member Eddie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jbud2
    Just wondering if you included the 'history' of the quilt and maker in a label for the quilt - for the next generation!
    I did make a name label for it on my embroidery machine.
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  7. #7
    Super Member belmer's Avatar
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    Nice job. The quilts are beautiful, this was very nice of you to do this, and nice for you to keep one.

  8. #8
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    Eddie's a regular quiltin' machine!!! This is just a lovely quilt!

  9. #9
    Moderator littlehud's Avatar
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    That is a wonderful quilt. I'm so glad you got to preserve a little piece of quilting history. You did a wonderful job.

  10. #10
    Power Poster sewnsewer2's Avatar
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    Good job Eddie.

  11. #11
    Power Poster earthwalker's Avatar
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    Thanks for sharing with us Eddie...you have done a marvelous job. You are obviously a very special person, you don't entrust such precious family treasures to just anyone! It must have been great fun to finish what was started so very long ago (an I love the fact it has those quirky seams!).

  12. #12
    Super Member Sheila Elaine's Avatar
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    Beautiful finishing & quilting you did on this lovely old quilt. I know your friends are glad to have you do it. Enjoy the quilt they gave you, also. Glad to hear you're busy. Sorry Melissa isn't feeling well. Hopefully she'll feel better tomorrow.

  13. #13
    Gal
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    How beautiful and how very lucky you are! I love the uneven seams these are so much part of the charm. You have finished it off so nicely. I am curious as to why you chose machine quilting over hand quilting mainly to do with the integrity of such a piece this age. And also perhaps some one might be able to tell me about the dating of such a quilt. I read just recently in the Australian Quilting Mag that the dating of a quilt is determined by the latest fabric used not the oldest, how would you get on in this case with a recent fabric being used for the backing? Gal

  14. #14
    Google Goddess craftybear's Avatar
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    Wow, that is awesome!

  15. #15
    Super Member Toto's Mom's Avatar
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    Beautiful job you did on this. Old ones have a lot of character.
    I also have the same question about the machine quilting over hand quilting, to maintain the integrity of the original piece.
    I have a top that was entirely hand pieced and appliqued in the 1920's to early 1930's with miniscule hand stitching
    I recently showed it to another quilter, and was told it needed to be hand quilted.
    In that case, I may well be 100 as well, before it is ever completed!

  16. #16
    Super Member Eddie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Toto's Mom
    I may well be 100 as well, before it is ever completed!
    That's pretty much my reasoning as well -- I don't do hand quilting, so it would never get done otherwise. Gail wants to have these quilts out where she can enjoy and use them, rather than them remaining on the top shelf of her linen closet for the rest of her years. :) I'm not sure how these were be categorized "age" wise with the introduction of new material to the backing and binding. Probably as noted earlier, that they would be considered "new" now. When I was over at their house, though, it was really kind of sad in a way seeing all of these beautiful quilt tops that they had from their dearly remembered ancestor and they were put up, out of sight, not being enjoyed for the wonderful link to their past that they are.

  17. #17
    Senior Member quiltlady's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eddie
    Quote Originally Posted by Toto's Mom
    I may well be 100 as well, before it is ever completed!
    That's pretty much my reasoning as well -- I don't do hand quilting, so it would never get done otherwise. Gail wants to have these quilts out where she can enjoy and use them, rather than them remaining on the top shelf of her linen closet for the rest of her years. :) I'm not sure how these were be categorized "age" wise with the introduction of new material to the backing and binding. Probably as noted earlier, that they would be considered "new" now. When I was over at their house, though, it was really kind of sad in a way seeing all of these beautiful quilt tops that they had from their dearly remembered ancestor and they were put up, out of sight, not being enjoyed for the wonderful link to their past that they are.
    Thanks for the inspiration - I have a three tops, on each from both my grandmothers and my mother (all passed away) that were never finished. Thought I had to stay true to their age and hand quilt them so they have never been done. Would love for them to finished and used and loved.

  18. #18
    Super Member Toto's Mom's Avatar
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    Yes, definitely thanks for the inspiration!
    I had gotten a vintage reproduction piece to border mine with, that looks really nice with it, and then was having second thoughts about using the new fabric with the old top.
    Since I don't know who originally did the top, it is my plan to use it and enjoy it, character and all.

  19. #19
    Super Member jljack's Avatar
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    A wonderful thing you did for those people. I LOVE old quilts, and have several that should be in a rag bag somewhere, but I love them just the same. You did a great job quilting it. Fantastic!! Can't wait to see the next ones.

  20. #20
    Super Member wvdek's Avatar
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    :thumbup: :thumbup: :thumbup:

  21. #21
    Power Poster Jingle's Avatar
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    What a great find and so good of you to finish them up for your friends. You always do such a great job on everything you do. Good for you and good for them.

  22. #22
    Super Member cuppi duke's Avatar
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    You did a beautiful job and how wonderful that you could help preserve those wonderful old quilts.

  23. #23
    Super Member Chele's Avatar
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    It turned out so beautiful Eddie. What treasures those quilts will be. I'm happy they will be enjoyed now. Life's too short not to use the good china!

  24. #24
    Super Member feline fanatic's Avatar
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    Here is a good article about contemporary quilting of antique tops http://www.quiltersreview.com/articl...t/010409_c.asp

  25. #25
    Super Member Ditter43's Avatar
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    Eddie,
    I noticed that even though the seams don't match up, the plaids were all cut very straight. I can almost see her with her cardboard template, lining up the plaids.......Very charming quilt. I'm glad you had the opportunity to help preserve it!! :thumbup:

    Ditter

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