28 April 2010

This old quilt

Mr. Peabody found out about this amazing shop in Park Extension that sells all sorts of "soft goods". As in old fabrics, clothes, curtains, quilts, etc. He's been at least 3 times by now and over the past few weeks has been bringing over his wonderful show 'n' tell items for me to peruse. One such show 'n' tell had this amazing quilt in it. After much conversation about how wonderful it is, I told Mr. Peabody if he felt like he had too much fabric piling up over at his place, I would more than happily take this wonderful quilt off his hands. Apparently he was just as happy to have me do so.

The quilt itself is likely from the 1930's given the fabrics. There are a variety of blocks that are all pieced onto foundation fabrics and then joined together. I really get a sense that this was a scrap quilt, made out of whatever was available. The fading and wear suggests to me that this quilt was well loved and used. There's no batting, just top and backing fabric which is nicely intact but still is somewhat stained and has some holes.

The thread used for quilting has been pulled out or disintegrated over time. At some point hand ties were put in some places, I think to repair the damaged quilting. I suspect that the thread used for quilting was a type of nylon. Every so often I came across some fluffy quilting thread remnants that were very nylon looking. You can see here the leftover tracks of the quilting, diagonal from corner to corner of the blocks.

It looks like someone started the rather large task of repairing this quilt. There are a few spots where patches have been removed. Last week, while sick at home with Tonsilitis, I took of the backing fabric and tidied up the front/back of each block going square by square, trimming excess threads, removing handties, any residual quilting threads, and some of the more heavily damaged patches.

This was the one spot where the binding had been left. I carefully picked out the seams and saved the fabric. There are several patches in the quilt that use this same fabric. It's nice to know what was used and what it would have looked like in it's original state. I'm also keeping these fabrics as a reference for replacements. I'm not sure yet if I'm going to try and stay true to the original choices, or go with a new look. I suppose it depends if I like the fabric or not.

The edge of the quilt is all ragged. And from the appearance of the remnant binding, I'd say someone cut it off. It's really a shame. Now some of the nicer blocks that really have no other damage are left ragged at their edges. I think I'm going to extend the foundation fabrics to square out the edges. When I place the new binding, I think I'll make it wider to compensate for the raggedness of the quilt's edge.

Even the foundation fabrics vary from one block to another again making me think that the quilter used whatever she had at hand, even flour/sugar sacks. This block still has the printing on the back of it. How cool is that? Some of the foundation fabrics have held up better than others. Many of them will need to be replaced, while much of the front of the blocks are in decent shape.

I was left with this pile of threads when I was done going over the whole quilt. Those little strips of fabric are what's left of the binding, and some selvedge pieces of fabric left over from long gone fabric patches.

These are the most damaged blocks that I very carefully removed. Because I'm a big giant nerd, I've preserved them in page protectors and taped them into my quilting notebook. I've also put the selvedge and binding remnants into an envelope taped into my notebook.

I'm so excited about this quilt. With a little repair, new backing fabric and some binding and I'll have a beautiful finished quilt. I don't think I'll add any batting to the mix. I'm going to use it as my summer bedspread.

Replies to previous comments.

Ali P - I say dust away! You are more than welcome to join Mr. Peabody and me in our little quilting bee. We have many a quilt started between the two of us, but have yet to finish any of them.

Craftivore - Thanks so much. I'm having a lot of fun with all the fabric combinations in this quilt. I think it's my favourite part. The construction is actually pretty smart and there are yet to be any yucky seams. I think it blocks will be pieced together in strips and only once the whole top is finished will all the hexagons be complete (sounds a little Tolkein-esque non?).

18 April 2010


After seeing Maritza's version and reading all about the accompanying quilt-a-long, I began obsessing about the quilt all day at work on Friday wanting to have the time to figure out on paper how to make it work using my growing fat quarter collection.

I got home friday night and started cutting according to my initial calculations. It turns out my initial calculations were a tad off. But after making triangles that were too large, I played around with some paper and came up with new calculations and used this to make the rest of my triangles.

I had a ton of fun yesterday coming up with fabric combinations, sewing them into strips and cutting out triangles and piecing them together by machine. I could easily spent the entire day working on this quilt. But I decided to respect the quilt-a-long and stick to the schedule. So I limited myself to 5 sets of fabric combinations and sewed all their halves together.

I really can't wait for the next step. WANT IT NOW! In the meantime I'm working up the back of my former Februrary Lady sweater in it's new incarnation as an Oblique.

I'm still eagerly awaiting my ladybug. I think that the strength of the loonie is causing a backlog at the border. I joined Cosymakes' Falkland Fiber Club and the Funky Carolina Fiber Club and was also considering her scraps club, but we'll see how much fibre I work through. I dream of being in the Hello Yarn Fibre Club, but there's quite the waiting list.

14 April 2010

Spinning up a storm

I love a long weekend. It's nice if going out of town is possible but sometimes even nicer just to stay home. My super-fun good friday activity was spinning. I haven't spun for quite a while and really felt like picking up the spindle again. In one day I spun up and plied 6 oz. of yarn. That's definitely a record for me.

I started by finishing up the spinning of some Pandamint BFL leftover from my Pamplemousse en caoutchouc days. I spun and plied the first half of this bump last fall and even started knitting a beret with it. I wasn't loving how the hat was coming along so the motivation to finish spinning it quickly left. But since I have just the one spindle and I had a hankering to spin, this is where I got started.

The nice thing about going back to fibre already half spun is that I had already divided the roving into smaller strips and arranged them in an order to keep the colour changed balanced along the skein (as opposed to spinning one half, then the other and ending up with two related colourways. Plus my spindle was already half loaded with singles so I was finished this yarn in no time!

Next, I moved onto some roving I bought from A verb for keeping warm, starting with some very lovely purple named Glenda with Crocodile Tears as a chaser. Both of these were quite densely packed so needed quite a bit of teasing and drafting.

The colours are great, but I found my hands getting slightly green when spinning up the Crocodile Tears. And the purple bled a bit while finishing the yarn, making the Pandamint ever so slightly tinted. I was also kind of put off that these both were only 2 oz. but I understand why. Natural dyes take alot more dye than synthetic reactive dyes, raising the price per unit of fibre and one way to keep prices more reasonable is having smaller bumps.

I kind of wish that I had chain plied Glenda rather than making it a 2 ply. The lighter parts of the roving kind of disappeared into a medium purple yarn.

But I was pretty sold on the idea of making a 2-ply of the Crocodile Tears until I saw how the singles were spinning up.

So last minute chang-o to a chain plied yarn.

I'm very happy with how it turned out. Subtle colour changes intact.

So one day. 3 skeins of yarn. 6 oz. of entertainment.

Oh and my ladybug is making her way as we speak. In celebration of making the leap to a wheel, I decided to spin up all the fibre I have. Don't worry though. I've signed up for a couple of fibre clubs to go with it.