Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Vintage Quilt

What great timing. My Mom passed along this vintage quilt this past weekend and now I get to feature it on my blog during quilt month. Unfortunately there isn't much of a story to go with the quilt. We know that it belonged to my maternal grandmother (she was my Mom's step mom), who was from Tennessee, but other than that we don't have any history for it. Unfortunately my grandmother passed away in 2004 so we don't have anyway of knowing more about it.

I love how used this quilt is. It was certainly put to the test over the years. I am not so sure about how well it will stand up to our kids, so I think that I will stow it away or keep it in our room for now. It doesn't go well with our modern style bed, but that's ok because the colors are so soothing.

I love the hand stitching and all the little quirks: the lower right middle block with the mystery blue squares and all the bits and pieces (especially the interior squares) that seem to have come from somewhere else because there are multiple seams throughout that are not from piecing the quilt. There also is no border - the blocks run right to the edge of the blanket. It seems to have been completed in a pillowcase fashion with hand quilting design and top stitching around the outer edge. Might it be fair to say that necessity was the mother of invention here? I am also left wondering many things (which I think Jacquie will appreciate): Were the blue squares pieced in because the maker ran out of other fabric? Are the mystery seams from fabric that was reclaimed to make this quilt? Why was the quilt made? Who used it? How far has it travelled?

And so I turn to the rest of you for the future of this quilt. Does anyone have experience restoring a quilt like this? It is worth it? Could/should I turn it into something else? Or should I just care for and love this one as is? I don't want to mess with a piece of family history, but I don't want it to fall apart in my care either.

I am making great progress on my own first quilt too! Pictures forthcoming, I promise.


Anonymous said...

When you say 'worth it' do you mean that you'll have someone else restore it? Or the effort you might put in? We recently had a family quilt restored by Rocky Mountain Quilts. It was expensive but the quilt needed much work and it was beyond what I could do. I'm glad it was restored but if I were to do it again, I might try harder to do it myself... Yours is beautiful. I would ask the same questions.

ten finger workshop said...

I have many old handmade quilts, each with a bit of wear. My feeling is that I love to use them, fold them, essentially see them. I fix what's needed to keep it together and then throw it back on the bed. I do wash them with care though. We have too many precious, delicate things already, I want to warm up in those works of art while I have them.
Not very historically sensitive but honest.