May 23, 2017

Cozy 9-Patch

This lovely little 9-patch came for a few small repairs to the top and remedy for the very worn edges.  Originally, it had a knife-edge finish.  I added a binding as a way to cover all the wear along the edges most efficiently.

This quilt was made by Etta Metott Weaver, the current owner's great-grandmother, in the 1950s.  You can see another of her quilts in a post called A Complete Makeover.

Here are some of the lovely fabrics that Etta chose.

 scattered flowers in one of the blocks, plus a regular floral print in the alternate squares

a printed plaid

very typical 1950s print styles and colors

And then, there are conversation prints.  Conversation prints are prints that feature objects instead of geometrics or flowers.  I've been highlighting quilts with conversation prints in several previous posts.
faux patchwork, and kittens

tropical fish, parrots and a pineapple, and maybe a salt shaker and pepper grinders?

faux quilting

As a fun little aside:  The fabric below is from an Attic Windows quilt that I washed a couple of years ago.  It's the same design concept but with different flowers.  That quilt has the embroidered date - 1959.

 All in all, this quilt is a nice snapshot of fabrics of the 1950s, and a comfortable, cozy quilt.

May 15, 2017

It's Mend It May!

The other day, I discovered via Instagram that there's a tag for #menditmay where people share their mending adventures!  So, I'm taking this moment to pass along the links about mending that I've been coming across.

Mending used to be much more the norm back when many things were made by hand and were much more precious.
I love investigating old repairs.  Here's some old darning on a lovely Edwardian day dress.

I'm so intrigued by the creative new efforts to bring mending and repair to a more solid and important part of how we live our lives.  This is, after all, how I make my living, i.e. repairing quilts and clothing.  And I'm also very dedicated to living with a smaller footprint, which includes changing away from the "throw-away" economy. 

1.  I'll start with a philosophical piece on Tom van Deijnen's blog in which he and Sarah Corbett discuss mending as activism.  Sarah is creator of the Craftivist Collective whose motto is "Changing our world one stitch at a time…"  Tom says:
If you have concerns about social or political issues, but, like me, you’re not a very outgoing or confrontational person, then you’re sometimes left wondering whether there’s anything you can do in a way that feels more true to who you are.

2.  Next, two articles which showcase Sweden as a hotspot for setting up structure and venues to support and value repair over buying new.

The World Economic Forum recently published an article entitled "Sweden is paying people to fix their belongings instead of throwing them away."  Here are a few quotes from the article:

To combat its ‘throwaway consumer culture’, Sweden has announced tax breaks on repairs to clothes, bicycles, fridges and washing machines.

We don’t anticipate that this will make people avoid buying things overall, but hopefully it will be easier for people to buy high-quality products because they know it’s affordable to have them fixed if something breaks. 

And we also know that repairs are more labour-intense than production, which has been largely automised, so expanding repairs could actually contribute to an expanding labour market and a decrease in unemployment.

Wow, they've thought of lots of potential benefits.  I'm excited to see how it goes!

3. And "Sweden Opens World’s First Mall for Repaired and Recycled Goods".  This sounds heavenly to me!

The facilities contain both a recycling center and a shopping mall. Customers can donate the items that they no longer need, then shop for something new – all in one stop.

The center also includes a café and restaurant with a heavy focus on organic products, as well as a conference and exhibition facility complete with a specialty school for studying recycling.

The center, which is operated by the local municipality, has benefitted the local economy by creating 50 new repair and retail jobs, and providing space for private start-ups and local artisans.

4. And links to other repair venues that I mentioned in a previous post about why I like to mend things:
The rise of mending: how Britain learned to repair clothes again
Home Repair Café

Here are a few photos of creative mends I have made.  The vintage clothes are from Basya Berkman Vintage Fashions.

Rather than replace the zipper, I crafted a new zipper pull with earring findings and pearls.

I added more beading to hide the snags in the bodice of this wedding gown.

This dress had a permanent stain on the bodice.  I covered it with ribbon and added more ribbon to the bow so the bodice ribbon wouldn't look so out of place.


This family heirloom quilt suffered an ironing disaster, ending up with a hole through all three layers.  The owner asked me to add an embroidered dedication to the patch.  (This quilt is super interesting.  The owner also has the diaries of the quiltmaker that detail the process of making the quilt.)

And finally, a family heirloom quilt that was literally in pieces, many of which I was able to rescue and rebuild the quilt. 

May 4, 2017

Amish-made Sampler Quilt


This quilt was a wedding gift, much adored, and came to me in need of some patching.  The needlework is marvelous, which after all is something Amish quilters are famous for.  This is a quilt made for sale, not at all in the traditional style of the antique Amish quilts.  Repairing it required that my needle skills stay on par with those of this great quiltmaker!

I couldn't get the whole quilt flat for the photo in my living room.  So you have to use your imagination a little bit.  Here's a rotated shot that may be kind of dizzying, but helps me explain.  The bottom and right side edges have the same deep white scalloped border and red binding that you see on the left edge.  At the top of the quilt is the pillow tuck with a straight edge.

Most of the repairs I did are in the basket block and the distelfink (birds) block on the right, and also some rebinding of the scallops alongside those blocks.  This area has been sun-faded, which has weakened all the fabrics in that area. 

And now we can return to normal gravity!

The quilt is dedicated and dated with machine embroidery.  It was specially ordered for this couple and made in Bird-in-Hand, Pennsylvania.  I think this is one of the best town names ever, by the way.  Besides these quilted hearts (on just the three scalloped edges, the pillow tuck has only the parallel lines), there are plenty of hearts in the sampler blocks as well.  Such a romantic quilt!

Here are some examples of how grand the needle work is.  Those perfectly round grapes are 3/4" in diameter.  The logs are 1/2" wide.  And the Whig Rose is intricate and delightful.

In the distelfink block, the dark red tulip pieces were torn.  I knew that they hadn't been appliquéd as two separate pieces in the first place, and that it would be very tricky to mend them that way.  I carefully lifted up the white center piece, applied one complete red piece, and restitched the white center on top.  It worked quite well, if I do say so myself.

Here are a couple of shots of some of the other blocks, so you can see some more great stitching and some more of the fabrics.

And finally, a few shots that will let you see all the blocks a little better than in the big overview shot.

Once again, I've got to say that the variety of quilts I get to see and spend some time with never fails to inspire me.  And also, I get to meet the nicest people!  It seems that anyone who has a quilt touch their heart enough to want to really take care of it is by definition a wonderful person!