Monday, August 24, 2009

Repair Job Layers



I meant to show how many layers I discovered in the repair job piece -- five in all. The top is the silk patchwork, handsewn to muslin foundation squares. Beneath that was a thin layer of cotton batting, then a flannel blanket, which was sewn in places to the satin backing (which makes me think the backing was quilted separately and then added to the piece.)

I've also found some human hair in the layers (sounds a little gross, I know, but this is pretty common. So are cat and dog hairs a piece will pick up from the maker's household pets and bloodspots from where the maker pricked her fingers while sewing.) The maker also had an aversion to trimming her knots, so there are lots of long embroidery thread tails under the foundation muslin.

The coolest part of the piece is the stitchwork. She used tiny quilting stitches on the backing, and her embroidery around the patchwork is very fine and perfectly symmetrical. Most crazy quilters work up to doing an all-silk quilt at some point in their lives, as it's considered the hardest type of crazy to make, so she might have been practicing for that with this piece.

10 comments:

nightsmusic said...

I am totally caught up in this restoration. It's fascinating, isn't it, to see what people used to line their quilts? I prefer a medium weight cotton batting. It gives a more antique feel to the quilt, rather than the puffy, polyester batting so many contemporary quilters use. But a flannel sheet/blanket...that's a great idea for a lightweight summer quilt!

Lynn Viehl said...

Thanks, Theo. It's turning into a fun project, although I still could shriek over someone cutting up this quilt.

I think using a lightweight flannel blanket or fabric would be excellent for baby quilts, too, and if you preshrink it, you don't have the shrinkage you get so often with cotton batting.

I want to try out this new "green" bamboo batting they've started carrying in stores. I bought a small roll of it for a lap quilt I'm planning to make for Christmas, but I think I'll do a bag or a potholder first and see what it does after I wash it.

nightsmusic said...

Did my comment go through? I don't know what happened, but I don't think so...

Lynn Viehl said...

So far I've seen two, Theo. Was there another one that got swallowed up by the Blogger comment monster?

nightsmusic said...

Yup. I mentioned the 'green' bamboo batting and that I've not seen it yet, but I haven't been in a fabric store in several months now (much to my dismay.) But I'd be interested to know how it fares after washing. Sometimes, the 'green' stuff isn't worth it by the time the processing and other ugly things that ruin the environment are used to make the final product and said product doesn't hold up.

Dawn Montgomery said...

I love using flannel as my batting. It helps keep the piece anchored while you sew.

I'm currently looking at batting options for the piece I'm working on. My options are really limited right now, so I might just have to break down and use flannel sheets or something.

Lynn Viehl said...

Theo wrote: Sometimes, the 'green' stuff isn't worth it by the time the processing and other ugly things that ruin the environment are used to make the final product and said product doesn't hold up.

They have a new batting made out of recycled plastic bottles or something like that which hasn't tempted me -- I don't even like polyester, and over time some of these non-organic battings can acquire the consistency of rusty steel wool.

Lynn Viehl said...

Dawn wrote: I'm currently looking at batting options for the piece I'm working on. My options are really limited right now, so I might just have to break down and use flannel sheets or something.

A couple of options in addition to the flannel sheet idea:

Cotton thermal blanket -- these are thin, airy, and yet insult as well if not better than batting. They are heavier, so your finish quilt will have more weight, but they help it drape nicely. They also come pre-made in the exact bed size you need. :)

Thermal underwear -- sounds funny, but you can pick the seams apart and resew the flat pieces together and then cut to fit your quilt. Great for small projects.

Thin terrycloth towels/wash cloths -- I have a guild friend who recycles her old towels and washcloths as batting. Cotton is best, although polyester blends would work, too (and wouldn't shrink over time.) You don't want the heavy, fluffy variety of terrycloth, but more like the cheap kind you can find at hotels or dollar stores. Again, sew them together until you have a piece you can cut to fit your project.

Old worn out quilts -- one of the traditions in American quilting is to recycle, so if you can find an old, ripped up quilt, you can sandwich it between your top and backing to serve as the batting. Or if the backing still looks good, just quilt the new top onto it.

nightsmusic said...

Yes, I know about the rusty steel wool effect. I didn't use the stuff, but my BF of 40+ years (gads, I feel so old when I say that!) tried it. Within six months, the quilt needed to be taken apart and relined with the same cotton batting she's always used. That wasn't bamboo though, can't remember what it was made of, but it was nasty stuff.

You know you're making me want to drag my stuff out, don't you? But I really, really need to clean my den/office. I haven't used it in months because I can't get into it.

Dawn Montgomery said...

Thank you for the tips! I'll see what I can find here. Old quilts are hard for me to find since my grandmother, nor anyone else in my family, ever quilted.

I'll let you know what I end up using!