Saturday, April 7, 2012

Antique Crazy Quilt

This week I worked on an antique coverlet, we believe c. 1897 based on this stitching in the quilt:

When presented with the project, I was confident we could get it into a usable state as requested by the client. The more I got into the project, I got  more concerned that I would not be able to do it justice. Here is my journey....

The two long sides of the coverlet had borders, one extended longer than the other and they were different widths (one 13", one 10"). Initially the client wanted to just fill in the end border where the one big extended...partly on my encouragement, but I really didn't know what we should do to preserve as much of what was there as possible. She picked out a pink paisley since there is a fair amount of pink in the quilt and that would at least square the end off.

Before Front + ends                                                                        Before Back + ends
Several times I posted here in my blog and on Facebook looking for ideas on how to quilt it. The research I did, seemed to indicate only quilting in the ditch of the squares that were pieced once I got that figured out, I regained some confindence.

The client showed up with her mother to look at the quilts and indicated that more of the black border fabric might be available at her home. So, I put the project back on the pile and waited for the fabric. None arrived and the client finally decided to have me go ahead, but perhaps we should put black ends on the piece and keep it visually similar. Sounded like a good idea and I was headed to Fabric Depot in Portland that weekend, so I could have a lot more choices to consider.

Fabric Depot personnel thought the black fabric was silk suiting well washed. They didn't have any plain black silk suiting, but they felt the dupioni silk would be a good compliment. Well, I asked for two yards, she didn't tell me a price until she had already cut it. YOWZA! Not for the faint of heart. $45.98/yard! I just hoped my client would see the justification of this fine fabric on this more than 100 year old piece.

The photos above include the new borders on the short ends. At this point it measures 106" x 67".

Now, I need to figure out what to quilt in these large borders. Three sides are about 13" wide, and one is 10". Most images of crazy quilts either don't have a border at all, or a small border and don't seem to be quilted. I did find one that had feathers. I do free-hand work, and with my newly learned skills from Sharon Schamber, I decided freehand feathers, echoed with 2-d stems would be appropriate. I could do corners with 2 blocks in each direction thus completing the short ends and going into the long ends, then do a center element along the long-sides that covers 3 blocks.

With all the yarn embroidery stitching in the crazy quilt blocks, I thought the flower bits in this center part reflected that.

 Here it is bound with a MODA reproduction print with the fabric fussy cut so the black medallions in the fabric would show up in the binding all the way around.


I used my newly acquired Martelli Zip Bind tool. It took a little while to get the hang of it. Definitely worth practicing on. The grove side goes on the bottom! Here is what I learned: use a walking foot to put the binding on to begin with (on the top) --much happier with that idea. The antique style of the quilt, I decided a 1/4" seam on the top would be most appropriate. I then wrapped the binding to the back and SID w/the ZipBind catching the binding on the backside with the SID stitching. For this type of binding, the Martelli system is helpful.

A top stitched machine binding is still easier for me!

1 comment:

  1. Wow I hope your client appreciated the work. That fabric sure was pricey. I probably would have said a bad word about the time it rang up on the cash register. LOL. I guess they used what they had back then and ran out of fabric so one side was only 10" but then you would have thought they would have cut the 13" down to 10". Oh well Nice job.