Saturday, June 22, 2013

Carol's Legacy


I've already mentioned that I LOVE vintage quilt tops. Working on them gives me a strong connection with the original piecer/applique artist that created them. Unable to finish them, they are often stashed away for later generations to find. What a joy it is to finish them.

This one is unique in that the Flying Geese are appliqued rather than pieced – I have not seen that before. It is completely hand stitched, even the sashing, and in relatively good condition. I had to reinforce the stitching on the outer border miters; one was only basted.

In fact, basting stitches were everywhere. You know how we longarm quilters are always picking at stray stitches on a top as we work on it. But, I discovered early on to be careful when removing stitches on this piece. In many cases, the basting stitches were the only stitches holding a pattern piece in place. So, I pretty much left them in place and picked only the loose threads.

Some people feel that vintage tops should be quilted as closely as can be to the way they would have been quilted when they were made. This is not as easy as it sounds. Depending upon their decade, old quilt tops were either quilted quite openly or very densely. Hand quilting patterns included recognizable motifs (including stars, flowers and pineapples), backgrounds filled with crosshatching and borders with cables and feathers.

But, why stick to that? Obviously, the future is being laid into this quilt by virtue of the fact that it is being quilted with a modern machine in the 21st century. So, why can't the designs have a more modern look as well? Curling feathers with an edgy feel and modern stippling feel just right on this piece.

The important thing is to get it quilted so that it can get itself out of a closet and onto a bed or quilt rack to be admired and appreciated.

If you can't be a highway then be just a trail. If you can't be a sun, be a star. It isn't by size that you win or you fail. Be the best of whatever you are.”

                                                                                 Douglas Malloch

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