Tuesday, March 27, 2018

A friends quilt - 18 years in the making!

   Recently a dear sweet elderly friend called and asked me to stop by because she had something she wanted me to have. Turns out it was a quilt top that her sister (deceased)  had started hand piecing some 18 or so years ago.  She thought maybe I would like to have it as she no longer sews herself. She already has finished quilts that her sister had made in years past. She also gifted me a bag of her sisters scraps.

The quilt is an X's & O's or Hugs and Kisses quilt. Her sister had been foundation piecing it on newspapers, back when Spaghetti sauce was .88 cents a jar and at least the year 2000. 

I was so excited and really felt honored that she would gift me this treasure! 
 Some of the fabrics seem more vintage than others. SWOON! 

When I started examining the quilt, I found the exact spot where her sister had left off , needle and thread in place ready to stitch.

The needle was hard to pull out and a little rusty, so I switched it out and finished that seam with her thread which was still strong.

  I then ironed and laid out the top and dug through her scrap bag and found 2 more ROWS already pieced! Yippee!! 
 I also found a few spots where the seams were coming apart. I decided to sew the last 2 rows on by machine. I hesitated to do this since the quilt was by hand. Her sister suggested if I finish it, to do so by machine though. 

 I do not know how to restore a quilt. I decided to remove the newspapers ( a very large box full)and repair some of the seams.

When I first saw the quilt, I decided I wanted to hand tie it. But now after finding several seam problems, I feel it may be better to do some heavy machine quilting, especially before I give it a much needed wash. What do you think? Any suggestions? I am not a hand quilter. Should I do straight lines through the intersections or meandering or stipple quilting? 

  I am amazed. The quilt measures 62x71. These are 9 inch finished blocks in a 7x8 layout which should measure 63x72.  Pretty darn good for hand piecing without any marked seams! And she didn't trim down the blocks before joining either. 
 I thought about adding a border. Would you? If so what type of fabric? A solid or a print? Vintage or Modern? The quilt with its bright happy colors feels so Modern to me. If I add a border it will fit a full size bed. I wish I knew what she had planned. I did find 3 pieces of newspaper cut to 9 1/2" so I am not sure if she cut too many foundation squares or if this is as far as she got with her piecing. She may have run out of some of the fabrics.  There are only a couple of the scraps that match the fabrics in the quilt. There are no more of the solids. Was she stopping after the last 2 rows? I wish I knew her plans. 
  I can't wait to finish this gorgeous quilt. Would this be a quilt that I would have made myself? Probably not. Will it win any awards or ribbons? No. Does it make my heart sing? YES!!YES!! and YES!!  I can't wait to get it finished and add a label! And I can't wait to show it to her sister! 
Let me know what you think!
Thank you for stopping by dear friends!
Welcome to my new friends and followers!
Happy Stitching!
xo Jan


  1. With so many straight lines and angles in the quilt perhaps something curvy for the quilting would be a good choice?

    As for borders, do you need the quilt to be bed sized? I like the look of it as it is (without border).

    From the clothesline pictures it appears that most of the fabrics are either solid, or read as solid. If you were to put a border try auditioning an orange-y red. . .from the pictures it seems that there is a bit of that color in the middle of the quilt, but not so much of it towards the outside edges. . . so that might make a good choice.

    I am sure that you will come up with something that will be perfect.

    Have fun & let us see it when it is done.

    Have a lovely day.

    1. Thank you Sherry - I think I like the idea of a border. This quilt is definitely out of my comfort zone with all the bright and primary colors. I will have to dig thru my stash and see what I can find! Thanks for your input! xoxoxo

  2. I think I'd do a fairly small meander just to stabilize the stitching. I'd go with a solid fabric, or at least one that reads as solid, for the border. I like the idea of a border to give it more stability as well with all those hand pieced seams. What a treasure! Can't wait to see what you do with it.

    1. The meandering is probably the best idea Julie - Thank you! And I'll have to search through my stash and see what i can find for the border! Thank you! xoxoxo

  3. What an incredibly sweet story. I'm sure what ever you want to do with it will be wonderful. Please post a picture of the completed quilt.

    1. Thank you Judy - I will definitely post a photo when i get it finished! I really am excited about finishing it for her. I plan to take it back to the sister to see when I have completed it too. Thank you for stopping by! xoxoxo

  4. I don't have lots of ideas but I do think it needs a border - someplace where the eye can rest - because it's so full of patterns/color. I think the border should be solid or look solid. I'd also use the scraps to make the binding really scrappy.

  5. Wow, what a find. I'm sure you'll do a great job finishing it up. Can't wait to see the finish.

  6. I am touched by this story Jan. What a gift.
    The quilt is beautiful , a treasure. I love the colors

  7. what a great story Jan ! I know I'm late to the party but I think I would use a navy or dark blue - I think using a dark color would "ground" the border and still give the same vibrant feel to the interior blocks. I am not a quilter but if this was a rug - I would do a dark border to "ground" it. It would give you the added dimensions to make a full size without disrupting the center blocks or detracting from them. Please show the finish Hugs Mel


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