Thursday, September 14, 2006

How much fabric?




This quilt measures 66X75. It was probably made by either my Nana or Great Aunt on my Dad's side of the family.

A little detail - the fabrics are old! So I am guessing late 1800's, early 1900's, but I am not a fabric expert! Each complete block measures 6". Many, many, many of the 3" 4 patch units are pieced from 2-3 pieces of fabric (you can see the top right brown square is pieced), but interestingly enough the backing is all the same fabric - that one big piece of fabric must have been a true treasure! The seams are more like 1/8", the binding is the front folded over the back and is frayed or gone in some places. The big blocks have diagonal quilting going across, the 4 patches are stitch in the ditch and then diagonally through the squares to make a diamond, the borders are diagonally quilted. So, lots of work for this quilt. Obviously, it has had lots of use... AND then, at a much later date someone went back and very carefully appliqued new pieces of fabric over the pieces of fabric that were coming apart! Can you see the new pieces? They are the ones that don't fit - like the big blue geometric print square in the 3rd photo. You can really see the new patches when you look at the entire quilt.

Does looking at these old quilts ever make you stop and think about "making do"? I don't think how to sort scraps was ever an issue for these women! The issue must have been more like gathing enough bits and pieces of fabric just to make the blocks.

If you are just starting to quilt - you don't NEED a closet full of fabric to make a quilt. Most quilts take just a few yards of fabric. You just need a some scraps, add a few fat quarters from there and keep going. Some of my first quilts were made from scraps given to me by family members. If you want/need fabric to make a quilt - speak up! Someone will give you more than enough to get started! Eventually, you will be wondering how to sort your scraps. And then finally, maybe some day, someone will ask you for some scraps to get them started in quilting!

This post is a result of Mommi asking me how I sorted my scraps... got me to thinking about this quilt and how at one time in history, quilter's didn't have scraps to sort!... so although this isn't the answer on how I sort my scraps, it is part of the answer... to be continued!

19 comments:

Hedgehog said...

What a treasure! Yes, having acres of fabric is not necessary for starting to quilt! That impression could definitely scare people off! I think the quilt police have scared people into thinking that it's only worth working with brand-new high quality quilting cotton. That's certainly not what our grandmothers did and they did know a thing or two!

Jenni @ Fairybread said...

Interesting thoughts Evelyn. The other option of course is to recycle fabric from clothes, like the denim quilts people make.

Gail said...

That old quilt is a treasure!Thanks for sharing it. There is something oddly lovely about these older, make do quilts; a particular charm that even the most beautiful new ones don't have. Sort of like the difference between a beautiful 20year old and a great-grandmother. The grandmother doesn't have the same vibrancy and sparkle, but there is a certain richness and depth of character.....

Screen Door said...

How blessed you are to have that quilt. Think of the babies it probably kept warm...
Melanie

quiltpixie said...

what a beautiful quilt! And you're so lucky that someone took the time to repair it when it was worn... I have a few quilts that I wish someone had repaired as they went along as they're pretty much beyond saving now :-(

Mama Koch said...

What a wonderful treasure to pass down thru the years.
Yes...the question is always HOW MUCH DO WE ACTUALLY NEED?

Helen in the UK said...

How lovely to have such a family treasure. It looks like it is still in good condition. I wonder if modern day quilts will look as good the future!

Darlene - Dazed Quilter said...

It's definitely a treasure - thank you for sharing! Sometimes I think we agonize entirely too much about the fabric we're using in our quilts. Sigh!

Lucy said...

This quilt is stunning !!! Ilove it and add it to my "inspiration"list . What a treasure to have

Lucy said...

This quilt is stunning !!! Ilove it and add it to my "inspiration"list . What a treasure to have

Jeanne said...

What a treasure this old quilt is!

I LOVE your point about our grandmothers not having needed to worry about how to sort their scraps. I have an embarassment of fabric here.

Jeanne

mommi said...

I love that quilt, I didnt have anyone in my family who did quilting,so that is truly a treasure, I learn so much just from reading all of these posts. Thank you for sharing your information with me. Its a great luxury to be able to come and look at all the quilters on these blogs. Back then they didnt have this luxury, just imagine.....i would have loved to sit in on the how to's back in that day....

Mommi

Fiona said...

I couldn't agree more - sometimes I think we have so much choice it's inhibiting. That's why I like to use recycled fabrics.

QuiltingFitzy said...

Would it be possible to see the border? It's VERY interesting!

Bonnie said...

Wow, you made me think about my mother and the quilt I have that she made - all scraps from dresses she made. Her "stash" was in a tiny piece of furniture called a "Martha Washington" - drawers to house thread, buttons, scissors, and little scraps of fabric. Life sure is different now-a-days.

Linda_J said...

wow, Evelyn. This looks some of the quilts that we are trying to replicate out here in bloggerland--the browns, blues, muted colors. What a treasure!

Jan Mac said...

Thanks for sharing this loved family quilt. I love collecting these but it would be so much better to have the family connection.

Dawn said...

Oh I love your old quilt! Aren't they the best ones! Especially the ones that have been used and loved!

Finn said...

Thank You Evelyn!!!!! I am delighted with your post!!!! Just exactly what I truly hope EVERY young quilter can eventually realize. It's NOT about how MUCH you have to work with, it how much you WANT to make a quilt...*VBS*

It's far more difficult than a planned quilt. You take bigger chances and risks in combining fabrics. But if the desire to create outweights the possible criticism you might face, I'd say you "GOT IT".

Love, love, love your old well worn,but well tended quilt. I think the quilting design you speak of is called "hanging diamonds", the diagonal slant only goes one direction, right? and the up and down lines are vertical? If so, that would be the hanging diamonds that were often used in the old days. They are quite alot of work to quilt, but quicker than crosshatching.

It's rather interesting how many old quilts were quilted with just the diagonal lines one direction. That's all..just them...it's made me wonder where that came from.
Any way, I do thank you for sharing your very own thoughts about making a quilt top, and the beauty of this old one, with us..*VBS* Hugs, Finn