Monday, July 12, 2021

Vintage Quilt Repairs Continue + Millie Goes Home to Minnesota

Good Monday morning!  I'm still working on that vintage quilt repair that I wrote about last week (here).  At this point, I've finished all of the hand stitched repair work in the quilt's interior and all I have left is the binding.  This is a hand pieced quilt that had open seams to be stitched shut in almost every block, as well as a few other minor holes and one serious hole where something acidic had spilled on the quilt and eaten through the cotton fibers.  When deciding how to deal with this hole, I tried to address it the way the original quilt maker might have done, so I looked to the repairs on this antique Oak Leaf and Reel quilt for inspiration:

75.75 x 69 Oak Leaf and Reel Quilt, circa 1860

I photographed this quilt at the Paducah museum in 2019, when it was the inspiration quilt for a New Quilts from an Old Favorite challenge.  This hand pieced, hand appliquéd antique quilt is part of The Richardson Collection belonging to the Kentucky Museum at Western Kentucky University.  

What really fascinated me about this quilt was the way it had been repaired long ago:

Antique Repair Job Using Odd-Shaped Patches

Instead of patching the entire sashing rectangle with a new piece of red fabric, as we might do today, this quilter frugally patched only the damaged spots, using odd-shaped scraps of red and white fabrics and then requilting through all of the quilt layers.  

Hole In My Client's Quilt, Prior to Patching

And so, rather than patching over the entire white square with another square, I patched this hole in my client's vintage quilt with an odd-shaped bit of white fabric that I'd aged with a coffee stain.

Patch Pinned In Place, Ready for Stitching

After appliquéing my patch to the block and closing the open seam with the pink fabric, I used a heavyweight Aurifil cotton thread to replace the quilt stitches that were covered by my patch.

Hole Patched and Requilted

I did go back and darn that frayed/torn bit of pink fabric along the seam line after taking this picture.  I'm afraid I went beyond the number of repair hours I quoted to the client, because I just couldn't bring myself to leave well enough alone.  Here's what the patched section looks like from the back.  I quilted in and out of the same needle holes as the original quilting, to preserve the stitch lengths of the original quilter.  I'm pretty sure she was quilting with feed sack string:

Back of Repair After Requilting

Now that I'm done with hand stitched repairs, the only thing left is the new binding.

.75 inch Wide Single Fold Binding Needs Replacing

I've been turning this piece of the puzzle around and around in my head, trying to decide how to address this.  The quilt has very thick cotton batting, the equivalent of two or even three layers of today's commercial cotton quilt batting, and the original quilt maker bound the quilt by hand with a single fold binding that finished a whopping 3/4" wide.  It's hand stitched to the back of the quilt with that same feed sack string used for the quilting stitches.  My client definitely wanted the binding replaced, but her budget did not allow for hand stitched binding so I need to figure out how to do a machine binding instead.  As you can see in the photo above, chunks of batting are missing in some places along the edge, and I'll have to fill those bits with cotton batting scraps when I turn the binding edge.  What I haven't decided yet is whether I'm going to do a single fold binding like the original or a double fold binding like I'd normally do, and how wide I'm going to cut those binding strips.  Stay tuned...

Millie is Moving to Minnesota!

Meanwhile, my APQS Millennium long arm machine has found a new home in Minnesota!  The buyer made a 19-hour road trip each way in this Hertz rental van to pick up the machine, all by herself.  She's been renting time on an APQS Millennium for a year and a half and is excited to finally have a machine of her own now.  It was kind of bittersweet, packing up the machine and watching it drive away after all we've been through together, but I know Jayne is going to take great care of Millie and I wish her many happy years of quilting!

Tuesday's To-Do List:

  1. Bind vintage repair and get it shipped back to its owner
  2. Quilt another client's quilt at the Bernina store
  3. Wouldn't it be nice if I found time to make a new block for my languishing sampler quilt?

I'm linking up today's post with the following linky parties:


Design Wall Monday at Small Quilts and Doll Quilts  

Monday Making at Love Laugh Quilt


To-Do Tuesday at ChrisKnits


Midweek Makers at Quilt Fabrication

Wednesday Wait Loss at The Inquiring Quilter


Karen - Quilts...etc. said...

nice that you sold it - surprising though that someone would come such a distance to buy one isn't it? Good luck on that quilt repair - that is one job I would not take on, I repaired a couple for family members and that was enough - never again

Preeti said...

You sound like Daniel Day Lewis of vintage quilt repairs - method repair artist!!!

JO ONEILL said...

After reading several of your posts about your process of restoration I have to say that it is wonderful that you give so much consideration to how to best restore a piece of the past. As quilters we can only hope that our work will be treated with so much respect in the future. said...

Your repair is truly a work of art! Millie is going to love her new home and you will make good progress on your list!

Gretchen Weaver said...

This quilt is so beautiful! I'm glad you were able to repair it. And how nice your older long arm found a new home where she will be well loved. It's weird how we become attached to inanimate objects. Happy stitching!

Carole @ From My Carolina Home said...

Consider cutting off the existing binding with your rotary cutter, this will bring the fabric back to a more stable part of the fabric, reduce the missing batting areas, and you can replace with a standard machine binding.

Vicki in MN said...

You are a saint to take on that repair job, bless your heart! I hope your client is over the moon with having it done.

Linda said...

How precious are those antique repairs. I'm fascinated with your process on this quilt. You are worth every penny (and much more) that the owner is paying. Congratulations on selling your long arm!

Cheree @ The Morning Latte said...

I'm sure it was nice to meet the new owner in person. Sounds like it's in good hands.

piecefulwendy said...

I've enjoyed your posts on the quilt repairs - it completely fascinates me. I had to look to find your patch, you did it so well. Someone recently posted a tutorial on 3/4-inch binding, did you see that? If not, let me know if you're interested and I'll hunt it down. Jayne had a long road trip to pick up Milly, but I sure hope they enjoy a long and wonderful relationship!

Sherrie said...

Beautiful quilt! You did a great job repairing it.
Have a great day!

Sandy said...

Congratulations on finding Millie a new home! Those quilt repairs look daunting, but I'm sure you'll delight your customer with your beautiful work.

Jennifer Fulton Inquiring Quilter said...

Very clever repairs to that vintage quilt. Madness my heart so happy to see it. Thanks for sharing on Wednesday Wait Loss.

Linda @ kokaquilts said...

So glad you were able to manage the repair job, a wonderful careful process.

Ruth L. said...

I can see where repairing that original binding is a conundrum. And I'll admit I've done no quilt repairs... at all. Still.... The original binding already covers some of those points that appear so well implemented in the quilt body. I'd have trouble using the earlier commenter's recommendation to simply cut off the old binding but that's my bias, pun intended. But speaking of bias, please, please, please use a bias cut on the new binding. Sure, straight cut strips are easier, but they are vastly weaker because the grain runs parallel to the folds where all the stress will be. Go with a bias cut. Single- or double-fold? That's another question.

chrisknits said...

I have no answers to your dilemma, hope you figure it out. Good luck with your goals, and thanks for linking up with To-Do Tuesday!

chrisknits said...

I have no answers to your dilemma, hope you figure it out. Good luck with your goals, and thanks for linking up with To-Do Tuesday!

Susan said...

Well done repair work!

Minnesota Sue said...

I am enamored with the way you honored the original quilter from long ago by mirroring her style! I have some of my grandmother’s quilts and I treasure them and think of her!