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Monday, 28 December 2015

New beginnings (from something very old)

I'm trying to avoid giving today's post a title like 'I'm back' or 'Sorry for the absence'  But I do acknowledge it's been a while since I last blogged.  The thing is I had so so much Christmas crafting to do that I just had to put the blog on the back burner (there will be pictures next week).  But I'm back now and with One Big New Years Resolution.  

I'm saying it here first, making a public announcement that 

this year is going to be the year of quilts and afghans

I have one half finished crochet blanket, and several knitted afghans and two quilts in the planning stage. The added benefit of these big projects is that 2016 should go down as a stash buster. 

But most important of all next year's plans is a wonderful restoration project for my daughter, Jen.


The quilt is a present from her Godmother.  It is probably more than 200 years old, made entirely by hand out of dressmaking scraps using the English paper piecing method.  Each scrap of fabric has been wrapped around a piece of paper cut to the right shape and the folded edges sewn together with tiny hemming stitches. While the quilt may have initially been handed down through generations of family members for most of the 20th century it has been passed on from one woman to another with the new recipient specially chosen as the right person to be it's new custodian. 

While Jen will treasure it and preserve it ready to pass on she does not want it to remain hidden away in a cupboard so as it is also in very poor condition (hardly surprising!) I have my work cut out


This red fabric is in particularly bad condition.  In some places it has nearly disintegrated all together


Rather alarmingly one tattered corner was held together with rusty safety pins


These!!!


But the workwomanship is wonderful and I do so want to do it justice when I fix it.



 It looks nearly as good on the reverse


What is my plan you may ask? Well, ultimately I want to stabilise it well enough so it can be displayed as a wall hanging (Jen has just such a wall over her staircase that has the advantage of no direct light from any of the windows in her house). I think I shall lay it over some thin un-dyed cotton and stitch it down with a fine needle and thread to support the old fabrics and the tatters, then I shall mount it on another fabric that will take all the weight of the hanging frame. But before that I am going to contact an expert in textile conservation. 

Wish me luck and lots of patience!

Finally, speaking as I was at the top of this post of long  time periods I have just noticed that today is my fifth blogging anniversary.  I have fixed my first post to the side bar here, as a featured post, in celebration. And while rummaging in a bag of miscellaneous projects found one of the little notebooks that were the subject of that first post


No sense in leaving this in a drawer either, I think I shall use it to record my 2016 projects

xx

c


5 comments:

Kathleen Lawton-Trask said...

That is gorgeous - what an accomplishment by the original quilter and by those who have kept it safe for so many years. I am looking for advice from a textile conservator myself for a collection of crocheted squares made by my grandmother; my father would like them to be made into the tablecloth she originally planned. Perhaps we can record our journeys together. Much love and happy new year.

Mary Lou said...

What a treasure! I wonder what was in the red dye that made it less stable? Or more delicious? Best wishes for 2016.

Anita said...

The quilt is just gorgeous!! They sure did things well back in those days, things that used to last. I bet you will do it justice when you complete the task ahead of you. I wonder what stories that quilt could tell you? Love your knitting.
Cheers, Anita.

Algodão Tão Doce said...


Amei conhecer o seu blog, já fiquei por aqui!!!Achei maravilhoso!!!
Visite-me:http://algodaotaodoce.blogspot.com.br/
Siga-me e pegue o meu selinho!!!

Obrigada.

Beijos Marie.

Annie Cholewa said...

Oh my goodness, this quilt is truly awesome, what an incredible thing to be trusted with!