February 10, 2013

Puppies, Kitties, A Lamb, and A Duckling

Here's a sweet vintage crib quilt, a special family heirloom.

I asked the owner if she would share the story of the quilt:

"This quilt was made by my mother before the birth of her oldest child, my sister, in 1947.  It was used for all three of her children and three of her grandchildren, including my daughter and son.  My mother passed away in 2011 and I wanted my daughter and grandson to have something special to remember her.  My daughter and my mother had a special relationship and my daughter was so appreciative of the quilt restoration.  I was a little concerned about trying it myself, thinking I might damage this precious heirloom, but with Ann Wasserman's advice and instructions I was able to patch the hole, rebind the quilt and cover the damage on the appliqued duck.  All of my family was impressed with the restoration."

Thanks for the kudos, as well as the story.  :-)

The owner wanted to do the work herself.  She has hand sewing and embroidery experience, though not much quilting experience.  I was able to send her ideas and instructions via email, and she set off on her first quilt restoration adventure.

One problem was staining, especially on this puppy block.  We discussed the pros and cons of washing alongside the quality of the stains and the weakness of the fabrics, and she opted to not wash the quilt.

She wondered about whether she could or should take the quilt apart and replace the batting, which has gotten somewhat lumpy after all that use.  She decided against this, too, after considering many factors: the stress on the old fabrics, the amount of quilting that would need to be re-done, that the lumping isn't really that bad, and finally, that she would lose all of her mother's own quilting stitches.

Another problem area was the disintegrating fabric on this little duckling.  Here's the way the fabric was replaced:

"The second picture shows the duck I replaced the torn one with.  I did not remove the old one, just stitched on top of it inside the black outline.  I did the embroidery before cutting out the duck and stitching it on so the stitches would not show through to the back of the quilt."

And finally, there was a small hole on the back, and worn binding all around:
"I made the binding slightly wider than the original to cover some small holes near the edge of the binding.  The last picture shows the patch on the hole in the back."

She also wrote:
"I found a quilt shop here in my town and was able to buy reproduction fabric in the store instead of ordering from the site you sent.  The sales lady there was very helpful in selecting material to closely match the quilt."

Here's another chance for me to get up on my soapbox and talk about keeping small independent stores alive by giving them your business.  A quilt store will be staffed by someone who knows quilts and will probably have just a much fun as you do in figuring out which fabrics to use.  I know this because I used to work at a quilt shop.  It was so much fun to help plan so many projects, way more than I'd have time to actually sew!  (Though the site she mentions, my favorite mail order place, Reproduction Fabrics, is also a small independent store with extremely knowledgeable staff.)

We also discussed how and where to hang the quilt most safely.  The options were sleeve and rod, velcro, or pressure bars, i.e. stitching into the quilt or compressing the batting.  The owner chose the pressure bars, since the quilt will not be used ever again.  Sadly, sometimes it's really hard to do anything to an old quilt without some repercussions.

And here's the little cutie, spic and span (relatively!) and ready to hang.  Thanks to the owner of the quilt for loving it so much and agreeing to let me share her story and her photos with you.

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