I set out to find a well used, well worn, etc. etc. Grandmother’s Flower Garden (GFG) quilt that I could, with a clear conscious, cut up without remorse. Finding nothing locally I reached out to a dear friend in the “vintage” business and she came to my rescue. She sent pictures of the GFG quilts available for purchase and I chose this one.
It arrived, I looked it over and two things jumped out, 1. The black/brown flower centers and 2. The overall “drab” look. I folded up the quilt and added it to an ever growing stack of vintage quilts in the sewing room.
Spring ahead to a few weeks ago, still wanting to cut up the quilt for a project I opened it up, spread it out on the floor and realized I had a treasure before me!
I’ve seen many GFG’s but cannot remember ever seeing one with the color/blocks arranged in a circle. The first thing that popped into my head was the Trip Around The World quilt pattern, only this one was done with GFG blocks.
But…oh those really really dark flower centers. All 90 of them.
After deciding to experiment with changing the flower centers to yellow, I set up my Accuquilt cutter and hexagon die. The 1” (in Hexie speak that means each of the 6 sides measure 1”) die cut hex fit perfectly…almost, but not quite. The movement of the fabrics due to things like the dense machine quilting, fabrics shrinking (each one differently) and the day to day use of the quilt resulted in some odd shaped flower centers. The pic above shows how no matter how I placed the hexagon, there was always a sliver of black/brown peeking around at least 2 edges.
Sewing on my trusty Bernina, I selected the machine applique stitch, width 1.5, length 2.0 and thinking I could nudge the quilt as I stitched so that black brown would be covered.
Experiment fail. ☹️
Next trial: cut hexagons that are larger.
Experiment win! To deal with the dark centers and the much lighter new yellow fabric, I also cut white Hobbs 80/20 batting to place under the yellow before stitching.
The threads I used: the needle has Superior Threads So Fine, a nice strong 50 wt. 3 ply, color 401. The bobbin is Thread Arts pre-wound 50 wt. color THPS101.
Some of the centers are covered and I’m liking the look.
But let’s jump back to my earlier comment about the block colors set into a circle. Look at the picture below and what immediately jumps out? The blocks are not squared up with each other. The red blocks are offset by one hexagon width. They circle the center very dark block but the maker, either intentionally or by mistake stitched them together in this way. Does it kind of give me hives? Kind of yes, kind of no…
The little interesting things done stop…look closely at these pictures of the outer edges of the quilt.
The flower blocks gradually lose hexagons until they are just a simple row of 3 pieces. But what else is evident? The quilt top edges are all white hexagons. No color touches the binding.
And what about this larger area of white. There was room to add color so did the quilter run short of fabrics or was this a design choice?
I’m really liking the look, mentally working through the oversized hexagon in the center and slowly but surely getting all 90 applique stitched. The oversized hexagon…I had to pin a few in place, walk away and the next day re-examine my idea. The “structured” part of brain was alarmed but the need to cover wonky hexies won out.
What a change!
What would the original maker think? First I’m sure she would be very happy that I did not cut up her beautiful quilt and second, it’s nice knowing the new yellow centers could easily be removed, just a few hours and a seam ripper would take care of the revision.
Two more things, did you notice the 4 rounded edges of the quilt and the binding?
Love the “out of the box” thinking/planning/making do of this quilter! Where is this quilt now? It’s in a special spot in my sewing room waiting for a short journey to a BFF’s house, she fell in love with it! Enjoy your new old fabulous quilt Gloria!
Blessings and happy quilting to all, Rhonda
ps: needling some bits and pieces for a project, quilting, crazy quilting, collages, journaling? I’m reducing my stash and have lots to see on Instagram at: vintagelinensetc