February 25, 2019

Improved 9-Patch

I really enjoyed working on this quilt.  It's a kind of quilt that I have dubbed a "quilt-y quilt" - meaning it personifies what lots of folks think an old quilt ought to look like.  A traditional pattern, scrappy, cozy and bright.

The pattern is called Improved 9-Patch, and with all the curves and narrow points, probably not a beginner's quilt.  The stitching, both the piecing and the quilting, is very well done.

Well at any rate, when I first laid it out to study it and make an estimate, we became friends right away! On top of that, the quilt is still in the family, and the current owner shares info and photos of the maker below.

I thought I'd let this quilt illustrate making fabric selections for repairs.  I was pretty pleased with the fabrics I found.  Sometimes I'm not quite this pleased, so yes, I am showing off a bit.

In general, what these next photos show is how fabrics can vary from the original and yet blend in well with the overall colors and ambiance of the other prints in the quilt.  Making repair fabric choices pretty much always has an element of "close but not perfect".

Worn-out black, white, and red print.

 The patching fabric I chose.  It's a a vintage fabric, a bit more recent than the quilt, a bit stronger color, and is missing the red component, but I felt it echoes the geometric feel and blends in pretty well.  (Note that the original used to have more black than shows now.  A lot of what you're seeing here as white is the batting and backing.)

Here's the work in progress.

And finished.

 Here's a worn-out red, pink, and white print, and the patch fabric I chose.  It's a reproduction fabric, and again doesn't represent quite the right decade.  Of all my options, it keeps the floral spray feeling and, while actually red and white, the delicate printing softens the red and sometimes gives the impression of pink.  

In progress.

And finished.

Here are three blocks that needed just one patch each.  
Peach.  Patched with a modern reproduction fabric that picked up the color really well.

Lavender, also patched with a modern reproduction print.

And probably the trickiest one, and the one I'm lest pleased with, patched with a vintage print.  I'm finding that black and brown 30s and 40s prints are hard to come by in either vintage or reproduction, so I have fewer to choose from. 

As far as the process of repairing quilts for other people, I explain up front that I can't use exactly matching fabrics.  I ask if they want a blend of vintage/new, and generally they are fine with the blend.  Using all vintage comes with a higher estimate due to both the money and time I would spend to find appropriate vintage fabrics.  I send along a repair report with the finished quilt that includes swatches of the fabric I've used, labeled vintage or new.

It always gives me such a warm feeling to see the person who made the quilt I've just mended!  The current owner has provided these family photos to document the quilt's history.  This is her great-grandmother, the quilter.  She lived in Adair, Iowa.  The teapot on the table was brought from England when she and her husband immigrated to the US.  It now also belongs to the woman who owns the quilt.

And here's a very precious photo, showing four generations.  The quiltmaker is in the middle, and the owner is the 2-year-old on the right.  So sweet!

Finally, the owner shared photos of two more quilts by her great-grandmother.  Both are designs that are new to me.  I don't remember seeing a flower garden set like this, with single flower blocks inside sashing.  And I'm also not familiar with this style of fan, with the fancy "handle" part.  Clearly, this was a woman who loved her quiltmaking!

And finally, as I often like to do, here are some general photos so you can see the range of prints and colors on this happy quilt.

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