I thought you may like to see some of the vintage quilts that I have picked up on my estate sale and thrifting adventures. Some of them have also come from very kind people who want to see their quilted treasures restored to their former glory (or at least as close as possible).
This little guy is a topper that came to me for $1 at an estate sale.
It is a king Size 1980s topper in excellent condition. It was hand pieced with very fine stitching that almost appears machine sewn. I particularly liked it because, like my triangles, many of them are just a little off giving it a very homemade feel, while still being elegant. The choice of color combinations also caught my attention. While red is the central theme, there are many shades and enough other color to give it a modern quilt feel long before its time.
The handwork detail in this quilt is amazing. From a distance, you can see the clear overlapping semi-circular hand quilted pattern and up close, the precise hand stitching demonstrate what can be done with hand quilting techniques beyond the simple straight line or “in the ditch” patterns.
A little work to the binding and this will keep you warm on a cold winter’s night
The picture below shows an unfortunate yet frequent occurrence in our quilts that are not properly stored or that are aging in a sunlit environment. The brown/yellow discoloration that appears in the white cotton fabric is common yellowing that occurs naturally with cotton as a result of oxidation of the material.
Avoiding this discoloration is difficult in a quilt that is used in a function capacity (wrapping up in it to keep warm!) There isn’t really a way to keep this phenomenon from happening, but infrequent washing and storing away from sunlight does help. You will also find this type of discoloration on fabric that is stored and touching wood. I have a better example of that in the following pictures.
This poor baby deserved better. Obviously the blocks on this quilt were intricately hand pieced and hand quilted and some of them are so unusual and very very beautiful. Dating from the 1930s, time and mishandling have taken its toll.
It was free, thank goodness, but I probably would have rescued it no matter what the price. While I don’t have the exact story, the attempt at repairing the quilt (not by me) tells me that the quilt was used, for warmth, and the looks became immaterial after a while.
There is actually very little food or water type staining. The brown spots, and yellowing/ browning of the cotton are from improper storage.
Most of us think that folding our quilts and storing in a cedar chest or other type chest will preserve them for future generations. Done properly, that is true. However, when cotton comes into constant contact with wood, the oxidation of the material magnifies. Unless your quilted treasure is first wrapped in acid free paper, the discoloration we see here will occur and more rapidly than if it were in use.
My goal for this quilt is to save the beautiful non-repaired blocks and frame them. It still has life and beauty that deserve to be preserved! I will remove the red fabric and replace it with the “new red”. LOL
The next beauty is also a hand pieced topper just waiting to be made into a warm, cuddly quilt. While I wouldn’t call it pretty, exactly, it is unique and the detail work is amazing.
I will feature more of my vintage quilts and fabrics over the next few weeks. I hope you enjoy them as much as I do.