Jump to content


Photo

quilting inherited tops?


  • Please log in to reply
19 replies to this topic

#1 fineseams

fineseams

    Advanced Member

  • Member
  • PipPipPip
  • 459 posts

Posted 03 July 2013 - 09:00 AM

I just read Debbie's post with the lovely DWR quilt, and it reminded me of a question I've been meaning to ask for some while.

 

I have 2 DWR tops and another with a star pattern that I think is Christmas Star.  These were among the things that I found in going through my mother's stuff after her death.  My mom wasn't a quilter.  She was an amazing seamstress, but not a quilter.  My maternal grandmother was a quilter, as was my great grandmother.  These 3 tops are all made with 30's fabrics, all hand pieced.  They have been well stored.  I'm sure they were made by my grandmother, and it is possible that one was made by my great grandmother.  

 

I was told by someone that quilting old  tops with todays threads and methods was not a good idea, as it destroyed any value of the original work.

 

I had been thinking that the only way to respect the work was to have them hand quilted (but NOT by me, thank you very much).  I haven't done anything about it because I don't know anyone who hand quilts for money, and I'm not sure I could afford it anyway.   But when I see the beautiful work you guys do on this type of quilt it makes me think it might be okay to machine quilt them.  Way beyond my skill level at this time, but perhaps a future project.

 

I see posts here from time to time where someone has quilted a hand pieced top that got passed down some way.  Seems to me that it would be better to complete them and have them available to view and love, rather than stored safely in a trunk.  None of these tops are old enough or unique enough in any way to be of great value, except as a family treasure.

 

What do you think about machine quilting them vs. hand quilting vs. not quilting at all?

 

 


Bonnie (and Amazing Grace)

#2 sewhappy

sewhappy

    long time member-first time caller

  • Member
  • PipPipPip
  • 1,245 posts
  • LocationMontana

Posted 03 July 2013 - 09:20 AM

Bonnie~
I have personally have not heard about quilting with todays threads and methods being detremental to old quilts. Unless maybe they were referring to being pulled and stretch tight on a hoop or LA.
I think that it is such a personal choice tho!
I am often commisioned to do the hand quilting on old quilts (Often found in trucks and closets) and I do indeed charge a pretty penny for the work.
And I have seen such beautifull machine quilting on others as well!!
Again I think it is a personal choice.
Whatever you decide please post pix when they are done (or even as they are now) would LOVE to see them!!
Patty

#3 jgardog

jgardog

    Advanced Member

  • Member
  • PipPipPip
  • 58 posts
  • LocationSpringfield, IL

Posted 03 July 2013 - 09:22 AM

I'm doing a suit sampler from the late 1800s right now.  It's been stored in a trunk for decades.  My Mom was so happy when we got our Freedom that she gave it to me just to see it finished and on display.  Very few of the family have ever seen it or even know it exists.  I just picked a Victorian style backing in black and charcoal and am going to do a modified Fleur-de-lis pattern that would look period correct. Can't wait to finish it.

JIM & JOHN


  • whitepinesquilter likes this

#4 sewhappy

sewhappy

    long time member-first time caller

  • Member
  • PipPipPip
  • 1,245 posts
  • LocationMontana

Posted 03 July 2013 - 09:26 AM

jgardog~
What thread are you using? Batting?

#5 jgardog

jgardog

    Advanced Member

  • Member
  • PipPipPip
  • 58 posts
  • LocationSpringfield, IL

Posted 03 July 2013 - 10:37 AM

I'm using So Fine 50 so it won't dominate the quilt. The batting is Hobbs 80/20 heirloom in black as the sampler is mostly black, grey, tweed and pinstripe blocks.  The backing is black with charcoal vines and flowers. I wanted to keep it on the masculine side of things even though it does have some Crazy Quilt stitching in purple.  The binding will be a matching purple to tie it all together.  Hope this helps.  JIM



#6 ffq-lar

ffq-lar

    Advanced Member

  • Member
  • PipPipPip
  • 9,144 posts
  • LocationOlympia WA

Posted 03 July 2013 - 10:55 AM

Quilt them!  

Since they are family heirlooms, if quilted they'll be used and displayed. As unquilted tops they'll be stored and be passed down and maybe not appreciated. Much more "valuable" quilted and on display.

I've quilted vintage tops on the longarm that dated to the 1920's without any problems besides an occasional seam repair. I even quilted a top that had some hand-quilting started and we decided to leave the hand-stitching alone since it was part of the legacy of the quilt.

Since vintage quilts are dated from the "youngest" element (whether it's the newest piece of fabric in a finished quilt or the date the actual quilting stitches were finished) that dating affects the value if the quilts are sold. A quilt finished in its era is more valuable (retail) than one machine quilted today but pieced in the 30's.

But your quilts are "family" and won't be sold--so finish them, wrap them around you and enjoy the hugs from your ancestors! 


  • Primitive1, Anne from Guam, Oma and 2 others like this
Linda Rech
Finely Finished Quilts
Millennium on Bliss rails--hand-guided
http://www.topperquilttools.com

#7 Zora

Zora

    Advanced Member

  • Member
  • PipPipPip
  • 784 posts
  • LocationWarrensburg, MO

Posted 03 July 2013 - 11:52 AM

I agree with Linda. Its not a quilt until its quilted. On your label, say who started the quilt, who it was passed down to, and who completed the quilting. Its then a generational quilt that can be kept in your family. Personally, I think the value of the quilt is in its having stayed in the family, as opposed to being found in an estate sale. You can have a quilt appraised, and a "value" can be assigned to it, but its not really that valuable unless somebody will pay you that much for it. Unless you want to sell it, I wouldn't worry about what somebody else thinks about how it was quilted. No "value" can be placed on sentiment, which is the real jewel here. Quilt it on your machine when you are ready, I'd say.
  • ffq-lar and Primitive1 like this
Posted Image

#8 Gretchen

Gretchen

    Advanced Member

  • Dealer
  • PipPipPip
  • 229 posts
  • LocationSouthern Tier of NY

Posted 03 July 2013 - 02:05 PM

I have quilted many old hand pieced tops for customers. I like to use clamshells or Baptist Fan on most of them . Seems to keep with the old fashioned feel.
I typically use cotton or wool batting and Superior So Fine.

I love Linda's comment about hugs from your ancestors. Wouldn't they be amazed at our longarm machines? And so proud of us too for using one.
  • Beachside Quilter likes this

My Soul is Fed with Needle & Thread

The Stitch Witch ~ APQS sales, service, education & rental studio

tswquilts@aol.com

http://thestitchwitc...io.blogspot.com


#9 oireachtas

oireachtas

    Advanced Member

  • Member
  • PipPipPip
  • 360 posts

Posted 03 July 2013 - 03:42 PM

This is a quilt top that I found when clearing out my 90+ year old aunt from her home to assisted living. She pieced it as a child in the 1920's and it had been stored in a dresser drawer for nearly 80 years. I was terrified to quilt it, but really wanted it finished rather than just stuck in a drawer for another 80 years! It was in perfect condition with no rot or stains. The things you need to worry about are the condition of the fabric- if it has become weak it may not like the high speed sewing on a longarm. And the condition of the seams, which along with weakened fabric will not like any tension you put on it with rolling on the frame. So don't pull it tight- make sure you are not stressing the thread or fabric. I would also say respect the era of rhe piece and try to quilt it somewhat as a hand quilter of the era might have. I have not the time, skill, nor patience to hand quilt. I am happy to have this quilted and and out where my family can see it, enjoy it and remember her.

Attached Thumbnails

  • image.jpg

  • LFQuilts likes this
Claire in NC

#10 dlnewell

dlnewell

    Advanced Member

  • Member
  • PipPipPip
  • 760 posts

Posted 03 July 2013 - 05:32 PM

I recently quilted some antique quilt tops that a customer had purchased from estate sales.  One was also a double wedding ring with a solid gold background fabric.  That background fabric seems somewhat "brittle" because I had to pick out a small area and I could see where the threads in the fabric actually broke where the needle went through.  The quilt looked great though, and I was careful to decide on a design before I quilted any more.

Attached Thumbnails

  • double wedding ring, brittle fabric.JPG

  • LFQuilts likes this
Debbie

#11 SewWhatsUp

SewWhatsUp

    Advanced Member

  • Member
  • PipPipPip
  • 71 posts

Posted 03 July 2013 - 05:58 PM

The Amish often take in quilts for hand quilting.  Here in upstate NY they charge by the yard of thread.  It turns out to not be that expensive at all.  A friend had a double or bigger quilt quilted for about $250.  If interested, let me know and I'll get the woman's name and address.  You have to write to them to get it set up or visit if you have someone in your area.

 

Sue


Sue Schoch  

Clifton Park, NY


#12 ffq-lar

ffq-lar

    Advanced Member

  • Member
  • PipPipPip
  • 9,144 posts
  • LocationOlympia WA

Posted 03 July 2013 - 07:06 PM

Out here on the west coast, the Mennonites in Oregon will accept hand-quilting jobs. They also charge by the yard of thread used. You can opt for standard quarter-inch-from-the-seams quilting, but if you want something more intricate like feathers, cables, or Baptist Fans, they will accept the quilt if it's pre-marked. It's less expensive than a custom longarm treatment in most cases.


Linda Rech
Finely Finished Quilts
Millennium on Bliss rails--hand-guided
http://www.topperquilttools.com

#13 Anniquilter

Anniquilter

    Advanced Member

  • Dealer
  • PipPipPip
  • 898 posts
  • LocationVermont

Posted 04 July 2013 - 07:46 AM

Quilt them - with care - and enjoy them with your family. Definitely put those labels with all the known history on them too!

 

I love the idea of hugs from your ancestorsI'm the first person in my family to quilt and I taught my mother to quilt!  She, however, taught me to sew so respect is maintained. ha  :lol:    ha  :lol:     ha :lol: !

 

Now I just have to help her learn to use her I pad and she could join the forum.  All this from 3000 miles away!


  • Beachside Quilter and whitepinesquilter like this

Anne



Anne Harmon 802 876 7535 Harmony Quilts & Designs harmonyquiltsvt@gmail.com 2005 APQS Millennium Authorized APQS Dealer


#14 Oma

Oma

    Advanced Member

  • Member
  • PipPipPip
  • 1,992 posts
  • LocationCentral California

Posted 04 July 2013 - 09:20 AM

Quilt them...then love and enjoy them.  The only reason quilts used to be hand-quilted was because no one owned a long-arm!  :D


  • Quilting Heidi, Beachside Quilter, GrandmaLKB and 1 other like this
Posted Image
Serendipity: The discovery of something wonderful quite by accident while looking for something quite different.

#15 fineseams

fineseams

    Advanced Member

  • Member
  • PipPipPip
  • 459 posts

Posted 04 July 2013 - 10:21 AM

Oma,  I'm with you on that.  I have always said that the only reason anyone quilted by hand was because they didn't have a sewing machine:-)

 

Claire, I love what you did - very simple, just right for  that lovely old quilt.

 

Debbie, a very nice treatment for a DWR - maybe I have been thinking that something too fancy was required.  I like the comment to quilt them as they would have been quilted when they were made.  Definitely food for thought.

 

Thanks for all your comments.  This decision is some time in the future, because even if I decided I wanted to tackle them myself, my skill level isn't good enough yet on the LA, although I could do them just fine on my domestic. 

 

Next time I'm in that trunk I'll take them out and look at the stitching and fabric.  My memory is that they are all three in good condition - but if they are fragile, probably getting them hand quilted would be safer.

 

I hadn't thought about them in some time - Debbie's post just brought them back to mind.


  • Beachside Quilter likes this
Bonnie (and Amazing Grace)

#16 LFQuilts

LFQuilts

    Advanced Member

  • Member
  • PipPipPip
  • 860 posts

Posted 04 July 2013 - 02:52 PM

Bonnie,

 

I concur with going ahead and quilting the pieced tops.  Get them turned into quilts and loved.

 

I would get them quilted before washing the tops.  If the fabrics are fragile, the washing process can be hard on pieced tops.  If the tops are quilted, the quilting stabilizes the tops and they can better stand cleaning.  You may still have to repair and occasional popped seam - but fewer than if you wash first.  At least that it my experience.

 

Lynn


Lynn Founatin Fountain Fiber Arts, LLC fountainfiber@bellsouth.net

#17 RitaR

RitaR

    RitaR

  • Member
  • PipPipPip
  • 7,446 posts
  • LocationMid North Carolina

Posted 05 July 2013 - 06:45 AM

when something like these quilts are made of old fabric, I think it would be a good idea to stick to cotton thread,

as the synthetics have more stretch and would put tension on the quilt top fibers.  (To my way of thinking!)

 

Clair, I've not seen a quilt like that butterfly, but instantly fell in love with it.  Beautiful job of quilting. Selection of

stitch pattern hit the apex for the job. 

 

Debbie, that quilt is equally beautiful, and the yellow,  exactly like the quilt top my hubbys Grandma made our

oldest daughter, and didn't have time to finish.  I'm guessing G'Grndma made this one in the early 60's with

fabric that she already had.  I machine finished the quilt for our daughter, and used cotton back, batting, and thread.



#18 Primitive1

Primitive1

    Advanced Member

  • Member
  • PipPipPip
  • 5,870 posts
  • LocationNewly moved to Dallas, TX

Posted 05 July 2013 - 07:25 AM

I concur with everyone who says "Quilt them!"  I would bet whoever pieced them would be so excited to see them finally finished and it would blow them away to see how cool a longarm machine is...and how quickly it can finish quilts now as opposed to 100 years ago!  They would be much more valuable and appreciated if they were quilted, and I would try to stick to a quilting pattern that would have been done for that time period.  A challenge would be to do it with a continuous quilting seam.  I also agree with  "put a label on them telling what you know about them"  someone someday will be so appreciative of that!


http://www.flickr.com/photos/sewmanyquiltssewlittletime/ Proud Millie Owner! Sew Many Quilts - Sew Little Time Custom Long Arm Quilting

#19 klwheeler

klwheeler

    Advanced Member

  • Dealer
  • PipPipPip
  • 503 posts
  • LocationFremont, CA USA

Posted 06 July 2013 - 03:10 AM

My first quilt I quilted on my first Millennium in 2009 was a vintage quilt top I bought. I am glad to say it is now in Montana keeping a friend warm.
Karen
1F6CA5955DF121CC55971D0D9BDA7E0F.png

APQS Representative for San Francisco Bay area California

klwheeler@yahoo.com

510-386-4156

www.feathersandloops.com

#20 Merryjo2003

Merryjo2003

    Advanced Member

  • Dealer
  • PipPipPip
  • 1,322 posts

Posted 06 July 2013 - 07:32 AM

I do quilt lots of vintage and antique tops for people.  I've been told by an appraiser that machine quilting will devalue them some, but most I've quilted are family heirlooms that people want finished.  They want to use or display them and they mean a lot to them sentimentally because of who made them.  They aren't interested in selling them, just preserving them and their memories.  I always tell them the quilts would have been hand quilted and will be devalued, just so they know.  I try to quilt them with a similar design as they would have been quilted during the era when they were made.  So, I'm with Linda!  Quilt them!  They don't do any good sitting in the drawer or closet, especially when they're still in good shape!

 

I recently did a DWR for a lady who doesn't sew.  She remembered seeing her mother and grandmother working on the top when she was a little girl (and she was no spring chicken herself).  One of the last conversations she had with her mother before her mom passed away was about the quilt top.  Her mom asked her to please find someone to finish the quilt and not to get rid of it.  All the background fabric in the melons and pinched squares were from her mom's wedding dress.  It was in great condition and quilted beautifully.  What a treasure!  She wanted to hand sew some of the binding so she had a small part invested in finishing it, but didn't know how.  When she picked it up, I had the binding stitched to the front and partially hand sewn.  I showed her how to blind stitch the binding so she could finish.  She just cried and cried.  It really meant a lot to her.

 

I've never heard that new thread will hurt the quilt top, nor have I heard any complaints or problems with the quilt once they were quilted.  If the fabric is fragile and it hasn't been stored properly, I think even trying to hand quilt would do some damage.  If the fabric's still good, I don't think it hurts them.  I think they'll last longer quilted and stabilized than not.  I've quilted some that are in such good shape it would be a shame not to see them, machine quilted or not!


  • Beachside Quilter, Oma and whitepinesquilter like this
Merry Jo

Merry Jo Rembold
APQS Sales Representative
Creative Quilting
Julian, CA




0 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users