January 29, 2016

Rescuing a Double 9-Patch

Here's a nice old quilt with two large, dog-chewed holes.  Needless to say, this is never a happy circumstance....

The first step was adding new cotton batting, basting down the raw edges of the holes on both front and back.  After that, I patched the back with a solid blue. 


The next step was finding fabrics to coordinate and re-piece the patchwork.  I was more than a little bit apprehensive about finding something to blend with the sashing fabric.  Once again, a great shop called Reproduction Fabrics came to the rescue.

I thought the background of the print was too bright though, so I did a tea dye to tone it down.  On my first sample swatch, I discovered that this fabric took the tea really quickly.  So I brewed a second, very weak pot of tea, and dipped the fabric for a very short period of time.

Un-dyed fabric on the left.  Too-brown fabric on the right.  Middle fabrics "just right".

Here's my dyeing set-up, with (wet) reference swatches, chopstick for stirring and lifting the fabric, hot tea, and a corner of my Boynton mug that sneaked into the photo to help set the scene.  

And here's the result.  Original fabric on the left, tea-dyed fabric in the center, quilt itself on the right.

Happily, I had fabrics for the 9-patches in my stash.

After appliquéing the patches, I re-tied the patched areas.

My sense of this quilt is that the blocks are a bit older than the sashing and tying.  I would date the fabrics in the blocks 1900-1910s.  The sashing and beard guard are more likely c.1930.

The blocks contain typical fabrics of the era - claret red, white prints on claret or blue, black shirting prints on white, mourning prints, pastel and soft tan woven plaids.



And then there's this one block which gives me pause.  That bright yellow and orangey red are pieced right in there with those claret blues.  It doesn't look like later patching.  Maybe when the top was constructed it was the one block needed to square up the quilt, made with some old scraps plus a couple of newer 1930 colors. They certainly are more like the colors of the beard guard.

Here's the entire quilt with completed repairs.  The patched block and sashing is third from the left, third down.  The patched side border is just out of frame on the bottom right.

I've just recently worked on another quilt that had older blocks finished at a later (but still vintage) date.  This lovely Sunburst quilt has blocks made c. 1860 with set and quilting in 1980.  

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