Having heavily marked all the diagonal quilting lines, I’m slowly rolling the quilt back and forth on the longarm while spraying all the blocks with water: spray…wait to dry…roll…repeat. It helps that I have a ceiling fan almost directly above the machine.
So while I’m going through the “blue line removal” let me show you a few close-ups of the added embellishing.
This tiny pink butterfly, measuring about 1/2”x3/4” comes in handy by covering a split in the seam. Remember back a few posts when I told you the quilt top is a combo of both hand and machine construction? Well, this barely 1/8” seam opened up due to the stresses of the quilting process. While on the longarm I positioned the little butterfly and stitched around the edges.
More vintage ribbon fashioned into a bow at the top of the basket handle. The white lace leaf/fern looking motif is new and commercially produced. The ivory Lily of the Valley piece is vintage.
This flower, an older commercially produced piece has gotten a facelift by adding hand embroidery.
French knots and commercially produced daisy-like flowers add interest.
Larger daisy flowers and hand embroidered lazy-daisy flowers. I have yet to heat remove the lazy-daisy petal stitching lines.
Binding…one of my least fav tasks…a very old dominated hand thumb injury (think ski slope tumble) makes hand stitching very slow.
Taa-Daa! Finished and through the washer/dryer! Soft and cuddly and clean and ready as a utility throw for any cool weather that might find its way to Houston.
Now…you know the actual longarm quilting dilemma I experienced with this quilt. Do I like the diagonal lines? I say this honestly…I’m not crazy about them. Do I like the fact that this project is finished? Yes!
Do I think I should have thought out the process a bit better and added a 3” border around the quilt top to give it a visual anchor? Yes. I’ll just call it 20/20 hindsight.
Am I happy to have had the chance to rescue/save this wonderful vintage quilt? Absolutely!
Working towards a finish, in the picture above you can see that I have attached (by machine) all the vines, the leaves, the yo-yo’s and the two vintage ribbon bows.
This is the top of the quilt as I began to shape the ribbon streamers.
And this is how it looks with the ribbon machine stitched in place. I used a very tiny zig-zag. My needle thread is a Wonderfil Specialty Threads product called Deco Bob. It’s a wonderful 80 weight thread that can and usually does take on the color of the fabric beneath. You’ll find a link to their website below:
I intentionally used an old worn ribbon to fashion the bow.
What’s going on in the picture above? I am stitching out 6 machine embroidery Free Standing Lace butterflies. I have intentionally chosen a thread color that is very similar to the light ivory fabric of the quilt top. I want them to blend in rather than stand out.
Have you noticed this beautiful old quilt is quilted with blue thread? You will also remember that everything I’ve added has been done by machine. I intentionally chose a matte finish light ivory bobbin thread so as to not to be distracting. In the pictures below you can see how my quilt front repairs do not distract on the back of the quilt.
I had thought that I might add vintage mother-of-pearl button clusters here and there around the quilt top but decided they were not needed.
It’s finished! After binding in the same fabric as the vines this beautiful vintage repaired quilt took a trip through the washing machine and the dryer. This quilt began its life as a utility piece and it can and will continue to be a serviceable and well used piece!
It was my honor to pay tribute to the original quilt maker by saving her beautiful work. I can only hope that the things I’ve done to her creation would make her smile. ❤️
The original vintage quilt (minus the raggedy outer border) hung on my design wall for over a month while I mulled over what I could do to save/repair/fix this beauty.
I’ve drawn blue lines on the what were once pale blue inner borders. I decided these faded to almost white borders would be perfect for embellishing.
Have you ever made your own bias binding? This was the first time for me and I’m telling you…it’s easy! Very easy! How much bias binding did I make? I forgot to measure before I began winding it on this small cardboard rectangle. Let’s just say I made at least 5 yards.
I cut my bias fabric strips 3/4” wide that finished 1/4” as it came out of the folding tool. At this tiny width and on the bias I knew I could easily achieve flat curves.
I did not take the time to pin before stitching, instead I just followed my pre-marked vine lines. I’m using my Open Toe (Bernina #20) foot. How did I mark my lines? Using a 6” clear acrylic round template I first marked the corners of the inner border. Yes…I forgot to take a picture but did remember a pic of the marked additional border. See the picture below.
A sliver of late afternoon sun making its appearance on the design wall. The undulating vines are finished, machine straight stitched on each edge of the 1/4” bias binding.
I have an Accuquilt and used it to cut about 80-90 leaves in 2 different sizes.
I begin placing leaves on the vine, kind of random placing, kind of not…if you have been following me for any length of time you know I try hard to design “random” but I finally had to admit I’m very “structured” 🤪
I bought a very damaged Yo-yo quilt several years ago. Over several weeks I deconstructed the quilt, soaked and then laundered the Yo-yos. Yes, I put them through both the washing machine and the dryer.
The soaking and then the laundry process worked wonders on the smell, the dirt and grime, and the stitch holes where the yo-yos were tightly sewn together.
These very clean vintage yo-yos will become my flowers. Luckily I have them in 2 different sizes, 1 1/4” and 1 5/8”.
I’m making progress. The leaves are sewn in place by machine using the Applique stitch. The yo-yo flowers are sewn using a very tiny zig-zag stitch.
Stay tuned for one more blog post in a few days, the post that will wrap up the “saving” of this beautiful soft and cuddly vintage quilt.
When the wonderfully soft and well worn vintage butterfly quilt arrived I knew I’d made an excellent eBay purchase. Not everyone would have looked at this quilt with the same perspective. It was ragged, worn, torn, faded and missing almost the entire top border.
What does it look like as of a few hours ago? All I have left to do is decide on the binding fabric:
But how did I get from the pic below to the pic above? If you’re interested in saving an old quilt the way I do then follow along.
What I do is definitely not quilt restoration but rather I take an old well loved quilt and try my best to make it pretty and useable once again. I call the process “Saving” an old quilt.
This is what it looked like when I opened the shipping box.
Oh my! I knew the edge was bad but this is really bad!
But before any “beautification” takes place I need to address the “sneeze factor” that comes with almost every old quilt I purchase. I need to send the quilt to the Dort Day Spa but when edges are as bad as this quilt, that can mean problems.
How can a ragged edge be successfully soaked, rinsed, take a trip through the washing machine and then the dryer? Tulle!
Not the hard scratchy netting but instead the soft pliable tulle found on rolls at most craft stores as well as Amazon. At 6” wide and generally about 40 yards long, this single roll will last a very long time.
White tulle on a white-ish quilt is hard to photograph! Do you see the solid blue wonky sewing/stitching line to the left of the arrows and to the right of the solid green line? I folded in half a length of the white Tulle. By slipping the ragged quilt edge into the folded tulle, I could machine stitch, using a long stitch length and a contrasting thread, this tulle to the quilt, catching both the front as well as the back in one pass. This way the bad quilt edge(s) is secured and ready to be laundered. Why the contrasting thread? The first time I used this method I machine stitched with white thread and it took FOREVER to unstitch once the quilt finished in the dryer. Lesson learned…
The quilt has 54 butterflies, I replaced 12. I could have replaced many more but part of me likes the idea that some of the original parts stay with the quilt.
Here’s two more butterflies that were desperate for a makeover.
A quick visit to the Dollar General and I have the perfect material to make a plastic template. I used the front (or the back) of a $1.00 three ring binder. Just cut away the front and the back of the binder a.ong the fold lines. Remember to choose a color that you can easily see through. Using blue painters tape, I secure the orange plastic to the quilt.
Very carefully with a fine line Sharpie I trace around the outside of the butterfly. For good measure I also mark the hand embroidery stitching lines.
Using my “Anything Utility” scissors I cut out the template about an 1/8th” beyond my traces line.
I trimmed away what was left of the original butterfly fabric. Looking back I realize this step was not necessary as all of the replacement reproduction fabrics would have easily covered and disgusted the ragged fabrics beneath.
Once I realized I did not want to attempt to replace the top border I held my breath and cut away the remaining three. The trimmed quilt now measures 64×72”.
Why is the above template red? Some how from one day to the next I lost the orange one! Good grief! I quickly made another one, this time chose a red binder front plastic sheet. I realized there was no reason to mark the hand embroidery stitching lines on the second template.
Using my spray starch and a small paintbrush I carefully dampen the outer fabric edge and press to the wrong side of my fabric.
Do you see that where I have left the original hand applique stitching intact? I positioned the new butterfly in place and with a white thread machine appliqued the turned edges.
Look at the above and below pics. Would you have readily noticed this technique if I hadn’t pointed it out? If I can achieve an acceptable look by machine I’ll do it every time! I marked the stitching lines with a black Pilot brand Frixion Pen.
My newly dressed blue butterfly is finished but how did I do the straight interior lines? By machine!
I bought a spool of 30 wt. black cotton sewing thread and used the triple stitch on my trusty Bernina 550. Remember the weight of thread increases as the numbers decrease. 40wt is generally regular sewing thread, 100wt is very thin…think silk. Check your machine manual, specifically the utility stitches, most machines come with a triple stitch. I purposely have white cotton thread in the bobbin and with a scrap piece of fabric folded into 4 layers, I stitch and slowly tightened the needle thread tension until a bit of the bobbin thread was pulled up, enough to give this machine stitch a “hand done” look.
Another new.y dressed butterfly.
Don’t be afraid is leaving a bit of the old to work with the new.
Here I am auditioning two yellow fabrics, I love that I have lots of Aunt Grace by Moda reproductions to choose from!
Stay tuned, when I post again I will go into detail about all the embellishing that happened to achieve the look of the first picture way above at the top. Such fun!!
Blessings to all and happy quilting, Rhonda
Ps: if you’re so inclined, scroll back a few days to March 10th and read my post about making quilt blocks for Ukrainian refugee children! Such a worthy cause! 💙💛
In the last blog post I talked about how 18 minutes of free motion quilting turned into 9 hours of “un-quilting”…
I loaded the quilt sandwich using two layers of batting, Hobbs white 80/20 with Hobbs Tuscany Poly-Down on top. I also purposely chose a light ivory thread for the needle and bobbin. I’ll update this info with thread manufacturer color and weight when I return home in a few days.
If you’ve followed me for very long you know I think quilted feathers are the solution to just about every quilt top loaded on my longarm. This quilt top was no exception. That is…until I was about 18 minutes in.
All of my basic Stitch-in-the-Ditch work was finished first.
I began quilting feathers in the top right block. Right away I knew I wasn’t thrilled with the look.
I felt that the quilting competed with the pieced and appliquéd block
I’m thinking to myself: I really don’t like this…but maybe I will like it with a bit more quilted…
Nope, I’m still not liking it.
Talk about distracting! I hate the quilting. Hate it! Hate it enough that my next step was to unload the quilt, hunt up a sharp seam ripper, find a good Acorn tv series to watch (but mostly listen to) and set about un-quilting.
I figured I had 3, maybe 3.5 hours to get the task done…but no! 9 hours! I quilt Bump Back feathers. Bump Backs have lots and lots of stitching over top previous stitching.
Thank heavens I had my stitch regulator set to 12 instead of 14 stitches per inch!
And just let me add…see this lace? The lace was the reason I had to remove the quilt from the longarm. It was too risky to pick out the quilting stitches from the front side of the quilt. It was so easy to damage the lace by accident no matter how careful I was trying to be. ☹️
My solution: a very basic no frills diagonal cross-hatch with stitching lines 1” apart. I am marking my lines with a Leonis air and water erasable purple ink pen.
Maybe I was in a bad frame of mind at this point but when I started round 2 of quilting I really was underwhelmed with the straight lines.
After I had 2 blocks quilted I liked the quilting a bit better.
Remember way back a few blog posts ago when I added the wonky strips to each side of the wonky vintage blocks? Then I added the lace to visually distract from the wonky-ness of it all? In the block above the seams for the added side strips are very visible but unless you know what to look for they do not distract! Yay!
Slowly (and I do mean slowly!) the quilting is starting to look ok.
Slowly…never in a million years did I think that straight line ruler work would take so long! I timed a few blocks and just the ruler work takes 30-35 minutes per block!
So what’s that acrylic yard stitch doing? Unless you want to get vertigo looking at the finished quilt, the lines from block to block need to line up.
So this is where I am currently. My longarming has come to a sudden stand-still, all caused by the appearance of grandson #2! Can you think of a better reason to put quilting on the back burner? ❤️🙂❤️
This project, this 100% experiment has moved along quickly and I’m happy with how things have progressed. I hope everyone understands my desire to save and bring honor to the original quilt maker. This is one of those quilts that very well might have ended up in the rubbish bin and what a loss that would have been!
I do find it fascinating to think about the quilt maker and how her creativity found its way into these 20 pink baskets. Having found many of the original block patterns, I can see she made most, if not all the blocks to her liking, similar yet different from the patterns. This is sooooo me! I like to tweek quilt patterns (or just about anything) to make them my own.
Besides all the machine decorative stitching, I did quite a lot of hand work on the blocks.
I’m a huge fan of French Knots.
Each of the tiny white flowers intertwined around the basket handle got a tiny pink French Knot center.
Lots of 5 petal lazy-daisy flowers will find their way into the blocks.
Larger yellow French Knots around the left half of the flower centers as well as pink satin stitching directly over the manufactured yellow centers of two larger white flowers.
Did I mention I like French Knots?
The pale green ribbon is quite old, something I pulled from my stash.
This pale ivory flower motif is a new piece.
A little hand stitching was needed to secure these tiny little flower petals.
All the blocks are finished, the quilt top is complete and has been loaded onto the longarm. In blog post #9 I will detail how 18 minutes of quilting turned into 9 hours of “un-quilting”. ☹️
Remember how it all began? My eBay purchase that was remarkably advertised as a “quilt in good condition”?
If you’ve followed the blogs posts 1-6 about this quilt you’ll know I soaked and laundered, deconstructed/reconstructed/squared up/and embellished in my experiment to save this interesting and “appealing to me” quilt top.
Below you’ll see pictures of what the blocks looked like before I added lots of embellishments:
What’s up next? Here’s a picture of what I started yesterday:
Did you notice all the white flowers with the yellow centers? Again I shopped Amazon.
Thanks for staying with me through these 7 posts about this quilt, just a few more to go and hopefully I’ll be reporting about a finished quilt!
Lace to the rescue! New recently delivered from Amazon white lace is a wonderful way to both enhance the overall quilt block as well as distract the eye from the inconsistent strips added to the blocks allowing them to be squared up.
I don’t do this often but I feel like this was a great buy, that’s why I’m promoting this product.
The lace has been sewn on but what’s going on with the curves drawn using my black Frixion pen?
I’ve machine satin stitched what appears to be a vine that is wrapped around the basket handle. I love to hand embroider but I also love to utilize the amazing things my sewing machine can do!
My newly stitched vine needs some machine stitched leaves.
I do most all my sewing on a Bernina 550QE, the leaf is stitched with #407.
These little white flowers add a nice visual to the leafy vine.
Are you wondering about the sets of holes that look like snake bites…remember, this was a Tied quilt. Even after the hours and hours of soaking and the washer/dryer spa treatment, the holes remain.
This block gets commercially produced lace flowers and a bow on the handle. If you can zoom in on the bow you will see it is made from very old tattered ribbon.
Can you tell I’m having a ball embellishing these vintage quilt blocks? What else is happening to these wonderful blocks? The picture below is another sneaky-peek:
Are you thinking ahead to the quilting stage of this “yet to be finished” quilt top? Yes, this will be custom quilted, with the addition of all the embellishments it will not be a quick job but I’m up for the challenge!
Remember a few blog posts ago I mentioned I had saved the quilt back but had to soak and launder it twice? I’m so glad I have it as the original quilt back is the same ivory fabric used on the front of the quilt. I believe it to be a light weight muslin.
There was enough of the ivory back fabric to cut enough 2 1/2 x 18” strips that I can use to square up the wonky quilt blocks.
I can’t straighten up the quilt blocks too much (or sometimes at all) before I add the strips to each of the four sides of the starched and pressed original blocks.
Can you see that if I straighten the original block, the basket base will be cut away on the pink triangle edge? I cut the strips wide enough to be able to eventually trim the block to 16 1/2”.
The picture above shows the block before I trim it.
Another example of a seriously crazy edge on another of the blocks.
I’m showing you this picture so you can see the evidence of the original seams remain in many places.
Even with the strips of fabric sewn to all sides, it remains a wonky block until it gets trimmed with this giant 16 1/2” square quilting ruler.
So I have a perfectly square quilt block at this point but those side strips sure do look odd. No worries, I have a plan…hopefully it will work.
And in the store this pink sashing looked like a perfect match… it looks good enough I’m thinking.
I was very happy to learn recently about this quilt pattern. A designer, woman extraordinaire, quilter, chef, etc. by the name of Florence La Ganke writing under the pen name of Nancy Page designed this quilt pattern known as Grandmother’s Garden in 1928 or 29.
Quilter Elenor Burns did a book remake of the instructions not all that many years ago.