Friday, January 24, 2014

Can this quilt be saved? A Quilt Rescue story.

A gentleman brought me a quilt made by his Grandma in the early 1970's. 

Grandma had gathered scraps from everyone in the family to make the blocks, and there was a real variety of fabric types besides cotton:  double knit polyester, linen, something silky, decor-weight fabrics, Grandma's apron, daughter's little dress, etc..  The sashing and binding was likely broadcloth, probably with a bit of polyester in it - no shrinkage, hardly any wear.  Held up like a charm.  There were several blocks, however, that had been used and loved to death.  And the polyester batting was lumpy and crusty.  

But he loved the quilt and wanted it re-done.

We discussed the options, such as taking the entire thing apart, using all the good blocks and making another, smaller quilt.  Another option was to scan the damaged fabric and print it out on pre-treated fabric, which I did for another of his quilts, just to repair a square or two.  I actually tried to talk him out of repairing this one and just remembering it fondly.  Instead he chose another option:  make new blocks similar in pattern and style to replace the shredded blocks.   

I referred him to a local quilt shop, and he and his wife brought back a pile of fat quarters.

Step 1)  Deconstruct the quilt.  Remove the ties, remove the binding (throw away the batting), remove the bad blocks.  Thank goodness the quilt has been tied, rather than hand-quilted, though if necessary, that could have been un-stitched...


Step 2)  Make new nine-patch blocks.  

Step 3)  Replace the blocks.  This can be a little tricky, but because no seams had to match, the nine-patch pattern gives a bit of "fudge factor" if the edges need to be trimmed to fit.

Step 4) Re-tie the quilt. Grandma had tied it originally, with a sheet for the backing, and he wanted it the very same.  The original quilt had polyester batting, so that's what was used.  My girls helped put the quilt on my Momma's quilt frames, and we had an old fashioned quilting bee, sitting around the quilt frames, tying the quilt with new ties. *Ü* Here it is after tying.  More like "tufting" with the fluffy batt.


Step 5)  Apply the binding.   Re-press the original binding strips, remove threads, re-trim to even widths, re-join strips, then re-apply.  I double-folded it this time, for better wear.

Step 6)  Delivery!   


Oh, he was thrilled!  Sometimes, a quilt is oh so much more than just a quilt.  It's a warm hug from Grandma. And now this one is good for another 40 to 50 years!

I think Grandma would approve.

19 comments:

  1. WOW! What a project! It sure turned out lovely! What a great and thorough job you did. I bet you made his year.

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  2. What a monumental project! This man really loves this quilt. The final product looks wonderful. He must be thrilled. Thanks so much for sharing this.

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  3. Beautiful story. I'm not sure many of us would have wanted to tackle it, but you can see the joy it brought to your clients. Congratulations!

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  4. He looks really happy so guess you done good !

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  5. You did a great job. It looks brand new. You were brave to redo it but it must of helped when it was tied. I have my grand mothers quilt here that is in the same shape. I never thought to take it apart like that. That is an option. She passed away 1 year ago the 27th. She was 99, would have been 100 that April. I must think about that. I know my mother would love it. It would be a great Christmas present.

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  6. Wonderfully done and by the look of your client's face - doubly wonderfully done!!

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  7. Wow!!! It looks wonderful!!!!! It does look brand new!!!!

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  8. What a sweet story! You did a fabulous job with their special quilt.:)

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  9. Great Job. I have the quilt my MIL made us 38 years ago this year. I think I will have to just applique new squares over top of these since it was hand quilted. You are brave to take it all apart and re-use even the binding. WOW!

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  10. This is so sweet! What a wonderful story!

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  11. how lovely to have done this as it meant so much to the gentleman, it has worked so very well

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  12. Super job!! Such a good job was done matching the fabric and making the blocks.Although probably agravating it looks wonderful. Pats on the back to all involved.

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  13. What a wonderful story. I've VERY impressed with what you did. It's so sweet.
    I have a very old double wedding ring quilt that the top is falling apart. I don't know how to fix it, but it sure needs some repair work. I've used it for so many years. Thanks for sharing.

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  14. Oh wow...you did an awesome job! And the delivery brought tears to my eyes. The quilt now can huge again!

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  15. You are an angel for doing a wonderful job for this family. I gives me encouragement to try to repair the Double Wedding Ring quilt that my grandmother gave us for a wedding gift. We used it for years and now it needs some TLC. but just have not tried to repair it..It lives in a pillowcase on a closet shelf, time to bring it out again!! Thanks for showing your great work.

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  16. You did an amazing job. It really is beautiful.

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  17. Great job! I have a baby quilt from a friend that I need to do almost the same thing to. I hope mine turns out as well!

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  18. wonderful job Deonn!! Hugs for you for doing such a great job and hugs for him for having a treasure returned!!

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  19. Just wonderful. He is obviously very happy.

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So glad you stopped by for a visit!

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