I feel a little more relaxed with my hand quilting November deadline on my Auntie Green gift quilt (well over half way there now) so have sneaked in the other applique work too. It has been very tempting at times to work on other projects but I wanted to make sure the quilting was the focus, as I am easily distracted quilt-wise! Here is a little bit of the centre grid. Apologies again that I still can't show the whole.
|Auntie Green 'secret sewing' - quilting the centre grid|
I've always thought it would be wonderful to see antique quilts up close to examine the stitching, construction, applique etc - basically to take them apart! but I don't get the chance to do much more than look at pictures in historical quilting books or on the internet. Bloggers are a great source when they post pics too of course - always gratefully accepted! I don't feel inclined to purchase antique quilts - quite apart from the expense - I am much more interested in making my own reproductions.
So it seemed the perfect compromise to purchase a small collection of "antique quilt cutter pieces" from the US - ridiculously cheap but perfect for close inspection. Aren't they lovely and can't you imagine how special each whole once was?
|The five pieces on the dining table|
Here is the back. The hand quilting looks like it was done 'freehand' without marking - inaccurate but so charming. The binding is just folded over from the front to the back and hand hemmed on the back. But some binding 'repairs' have been made crudely by machine in parts - much more recent it appears.
Great to peek in at the wadding too - uneven in density and looks like thick cotton with little flecks of seed and plant matter in there too - fascinating to me!
This must have been a stunning border - a faded leafy print hand appliqued onto a fine homespun. Love the triple rows of tiny quilting stitches. A thin cotton wadding - again with mysterious little bits of plant matter in there.
|the hera marker is there for scale|
The binding has been added more recently I suspect - by machine, and a hanging sleeve on the back too:
|The back showing hanging sleeve|
The next fragment is part of a hand pieced star quilt and the green fabric is a tiny star print in poison green. It is so interesting to peek at the piecing stitches - very neat white running stitches. The wadding is in a bad way - all clumped, thin and seperated.
How odd to have one little diamond of a different fabric? My first thought was it must be a repair but it does not look it - has been quilted over with the same thread as across the rest.
The binding is just self-binding of the cream backing folded over to the front and hemmed by hand on the front.
Here is an old peony block made in two solid colours - much used and laundered as the cotton is so thin and the wadding very thick and clumped inside. But it is all hand work - applique, piecing, sashing, border seams and binding, and holding together beautifully. The hand quilting has partly disintegrated but the whole is so beautiful!
Lastly - a simple applique flower in lovely faded poison green and chrome orange solids. The applique is fine hand stitched and the quilting is by hand, but the block seams are machine stitched and so is the binding. The 'wadding' is just a piece of fabric - a brushed cotton - making it more of a coverlet perhaps - or a very light quilt . Maybe more 'vintage' than 'antique' here but must have been a pretty quilt once.
I have very limited knowledge of antique quilts (wish I knew more) but found it fascinating to examine these fragments and imagine the creators and the 'lives' of the quilt, and when they were made. They will be carefully treasured snippets - and a great source of inspiration.
...sigh...back to making replicas with a renewed energy!