17 May 2009

Working for Fabric

Saturday was spent in a fabric kind of way.

MagicLady rescued this quilt top from an uncertain future. This poor quilt top was made sometime in the first quarter of the 20th century. We think it was made by two different quilters: the diamonds by an experienced quilter and the rest of the top by another, less experienced quilter. The top did not have a chance as a quilt because there was no way it was EVER going to lay flat: all 9 blocks looked like this one. It was not going to 'quilt out'.

It is interesting that the black thread used to piece the sashing and borders and was as thick as modern day carpet thread, did not show through on the top. This thread is one of the items that helped us date the top. Like many scrap quilts the fabric spanned decades. Some of the fabrics in the stars were from the 19th century, some were flannels, some were shirting fabrics. The pink and green were probably from the 20th century around 1930 and both are a very loose weave.

MagicLady knew that it needed to be totally taken apart to be able to use the 45 degree diamonds. A formidable task for one person so I volunteered to help. Saturday we sat on her living room floor unstitching. Sort of a reverse sewing bee. After seeing this pattern, she wanted to put the diamond portions of the stars from the quilt top into that setting. In keeping with the spirit of the quilt, she is going to do it piecing and quilting by hand.

We had a little extra help. Elvis Sweetie Pie, our official inspector, did not care for the star that was tossed onto him.

O! and the title of this post? I received ALL the pink and green fabric as a thank you for my help. Psst, all photos were taken with my cell phone. Not bad, huh?


  1. How fun it must have been to enjoy all those vintage pieces of fabric so up close and personal. I think you got a pretty good deal out of the bargain *s*

  2. Not bad photos at all, I'd say you did well, I'd most definitely work for fabric!

  3. What a big challenge! The way the blocks are so ruffley I wonder if it could ever lay flat...keep us posted!

  4. You're a block saver! Good for you!!! A challenge, I'll bet. Wouldn't you like to know why they used heavy black theread? What were they thinking?

  5. How interesting to find those blocks. I would love to know the story behind the block. I guess we can make up our own. Sounds like the beginning of a book for the Elm Creek Series.

  6. You are brave, brave people to take on all that! Can't wait to see what happens with the diamond blocks. And, the cat's expression is priceless - "We are not amused!"

  7. Getting those bias edges to play nice is a huge challenge! I hope it works out for her...keep us posted. That pink and green fabric though is a treasure...