cool old quilt top

musicteacherJune 25, 2012

I have a very old quilt top - made from flour sacks and old clothes - I think it is a dresden plate pattern. I love the idea of it, and would like to quilt but for one thing. Someone in that family had a very large scale orange and green plaid shirt and it is in many of the blocks. The rest of the quilt is mostly pink and blue old timey, faded fabrics. That orange really ugles and stands out, and replacing it would be so difficult, and sort of ruin the authenticity of it. What would you do with something like that?

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I guess you will just have to accept that the ugly plaid is part of the "charm" of the old quilt top. The quilter was obviously making do with what she had. I understand your feelings though. It could have been so sweet.

By the way, I love the word "ugles." I've never heard it used before. It's perfect.

    Bookmark   June 25, 2012 at 5:53PM
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I'd make it up just as it is. It's a historical reminder and that's what someone else chose and I would honor that. Lots of old quilts are leas than perfect but it makes for character.

    Bookmark   June 25, 2012 at 7:27PM
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I would just leave it, too. Old quilts are about making do with what you have, and that is what they did. Once quilted perhaps it will not be as offensive.


    Bookmark   June 25, 2012 at 11:12PM
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I agree on not changing it. It's a gift from the past and should be charished as such in my opinion. Things don't have to be beautiful to be loved.

    Bookmark   June 25, 2012 at 11:22PM
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I married into a farm family in the Ozarks. Mom was by necessity very frugal, and believe it or not the bed sheets she sent my husband to college with were made of flour and sugar sacks. No article of clothing was ever really discarded. It went from one older child to the child beneath them, and when wool winter coats became un-wearable, they were turned into heavy, plain, knotted quilts.

I remember seeing them on her beds and I thought they had the ugles too. Being coats, they were grey, and black and otherwise dark and somber. The knots made of heavy yarn also rubbed my sensibilities wrong. She's gone now and after her passing those old quilts were amoungst the momentos my daughter chose from her belongings and uses them with pride in her beautiful home. They are the real McCoy, not some tasteful reproduction of how we'd like to think the past looked. You know, they don't look at all ugly to me anymore.

    Bookmark   June 25, 2012 at 11:35PM
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Thanks for all your replies. You are absolutely right, the beauty is in the resourcefulness of the people behind it, and the love put into making it. I kind of fell like a brat for not apreciating that before!

    Bookmark   June 26, 2012 at 12:15AM
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I do understand about that orange/green plaid not appealing to you. Is there something you can do that would help blend it with the pinks and blues?

I have 2 old quilt tops that did not have borders on them. The one had 6 blocks with a navy blue that stood out compared to the rest of the blocks and 4 of the 6 were all in one row. I moved some of the blocks around so that the navy is distributed around the top which makes it more appealing to me. The tops also did not have borders on, and adding the border(s) also changes the whole look of the quilt while maintaining the 'integrity' of the top.

    Bookmark   June 26, 2012 at 8:51AM
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Some things just don't have that immediate eye appeal to us, but after we study and think about the history, there often comes a whole new light on that thing. One of my sisters has a hand embroidered top in her possession...of birds of the states. The embroidered blocks are beautiful, but the sash (I think??...the fabric in between the blocks) is orange. (NOT her eye candy!). She's contemplating how to make the whole thing more appealing. It was given to her as an 'unfinished' project by a lady who passes away.

    Bookmark   June 26, 2012 at 9:15AM
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Just smiling, because I don't like orange at all, either and would find it screaming against soft pastels. Of course the choice of what to do with it is your's. Karpet makes a good point I think. Borders can really change the overall appearance of an otherwise 'busy' quilt. However, they also change the integrity of the top, albeit not necessarily permanently. Beverly also made a good point that how you quilt it can also impact the appearance of a block, and make it's original look tamed down. My problem is I also collect antiques and never 'modify' them, so I am biased.

It is very hard to finish other people's work, too. The concept and design is not our own, so there is a degree of enthusiam missing in investing time into it. There have been other posts on here about it and a lot of us have finished off another person's quilt. I finished off one I found in my mother's fabric collection. I don't know if it was her work or whether she inherited it from somebody else, but I knew it was her intention it be finished off, so I did. It was more difficult for me because I refused to change the original blocks and panels, some of which weren't perfect and some fabrics I would have never chosen.

    Bookmark   June 26, 2012 at 10:25AM
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