Reclaiming and Restoring an Old Quilt Top

Our vacation was pure joy and absolute fun! But there is always the let down of returning home when it is all over.

But!… always so much going on and never enough time to get things done. But always enough time to get things started! LOL

A few months back, on one of our abandoned house hunting trips, I found an old quilt top. It was absolutely filthy but through the dirt, I could see the beauty and the talent and the resolve that someone had spent in hand stitching all those triangles.

2015-02-18 16.45.07There was no cheating in this quilt, this one done one triangle at a time, producing those pinwheels. Often, there wasn’t enough fabric to complete a full square. Some of the squares have faded and there are places where the fabric has split. Most of the squares are not really square, and have puckers, but I think that just adds to the charm of the quilt.

There is the remnants of a border on one side, which I am planning on removing, perhaps using some of it to replace faded triangles. I am going to use this as my hand work while watching television – in addition to my humungous cross-stitch that I am still working on. Always have to have something to work on, just can’t sit still and do nothing while watching movies.

Let me point out some of its quirks and charms. First, here is a block that needed a bit of help to fit into the triangle, and the maker didn’t match the pattern quite right:

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This block is demonstrate that our sewer was definitely short on matching material. In this block she uses 6 different fabrics:

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This block is another example. Although the sister pieces are the same, She uses four different fabrics here:photo 8

This one only has one nonmatching triangle and she did a good job with color value:photo 7

This block is an example of the fading that is evident in this quilt. I don’t know if it is sun damage or it was just time and washing… either way, it does change the color value:photo 6

Just one more example of how our quilter ‘made do’ with the materials she had. Although the color value is essentially good, there is a definite change in color:photo 5

Here is but one of many examples of the damage to the quilt. Like I said above, this entire quilt was sewn by hand, mostly with the neatest little stitches. Because I have no history of the quilt top, I don’t know if it had been used for warmth while unfinished or if he had been damaged more by animals or insects or just the ravages of time.photo 2

This was a worse example, this isn’t simply where seams were pulled apart but actually damage. Not sure how to proceed with repair of this block. It also has unmatched colors and fabrics, and there is fading damage. These are the sort of block I almost think should be replaced.photo 1But that brings me to the essential question, should blocks torn or faded be replaced? What about simply mismatched fabrics? Should they be left alone or also replaced? To what extent should fabrics be replaced if they are faded or damaged? How should damaged fabrics be repaired? I am planning to do most of the repair by hand, just to keep the look and feel the same.

And another question about repairing the quilt, with the hand sewing, the quilt doesn’t really lay flat. After washing it, I attempted to iron it as flat as possible and there is just so many puckers, I know this would be difficult to quilt. I am tempted to simply tie it, but I really want to do as much as I can to be able to make it wear well. But I don’t want to change the essentially of the quilt, instead opting for as much of its originality as I can.

So, fellow quilters, help me out. Give me suggestions or hints or ideas. How should I approach this delicate challenge. I will be sure to share my progress as I go.

julie

 

 

A New Twist To An Old Dresser

Welcome back folks! And Happy New Year!

Today I am presenting a rescued dresser (or chest of drawers… not sure what the difference really is). I did something of this nature years ago with trunks and it was a huge success. I remember one of the last ones to be completed was a present for my niece, about 3 at the time – she is now over 20! But it seemed a good time to resurrect an old tried and true technique.

I picked up an old dresser that, in its heyday, must have been absolutely beautiful. But it had obvious signs of living in an atmosphere of dampness and as a consequence, most of its beautiful veneer was peeling away. This piece had some heavy duty damage, but luckily, the bones were still solid. And the price was right… two things I look for when rescuing a piece of wood furniture.3J23p53H55G25H75Jcccdaf7f97ae0dd41ca1

As you can see from the photo – this was the photo used to list it on Craigslist – this piece was a hurting. I think the graininess of the photo helps to hide just how much was damaged to the surface of this piece. But I liked it size, so home it went with me.

The first order of business was to start removing the warped pieces of veneer. I had hoped to be able to recover some of it, but as I worked it was becoming obvious that the majority of it was not going to be salvageable. It was then that it dawned on me that this piece would need a real creative solution to rescue it. And that is when I remembered the the trunks that I had done back in the 90’s. I would clean the trunk down, line the interior with fabric and then spray paint the metal frame. Using a coordinating fabric, I would then glue using a process much like decoupage. It was a labor of love and I really loved them for the decorative storage that they provided. And the trunks were generally very affordable. Here is one of the only remaining trunks that I still have. Most of them were given away and many were sold when we made the move from California to Missouri:

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So, this process is one that I thought I might be able to replicate on this dresser. Since all the veneer was essentially stripped, I knew it would call for extreme measures for covering the surface. This surface – sans veneer – was pretty rough and wasn’t looking forward to all the filling and sanding that it would require and then still not be sure how it would come out.

In my early days of dresser restoration and the excitement of the ombr√© painting style, I used two dressers that I had previously had in my guest bedroom. In the back of my mind I know I have to replace at least one of those pieces eventually, as a huge pile of stuff that had been stored in those dressers seems to be either migrating or replicating (or both!) on the floor of that room. They need to be tucked away gently, away from sight. Knowing this I rationalized that if this process didn’t work out well enough, it could just get tucked away in the corner of the guest room and no one would be the wiser.

So off to my favorite fabric store for inspiration. It didn’t take long. Essentially, the guest bedroom is decorating in white with cobalt blue accents. Above the window, I built a shelf curtain hanger that displays a respectable collection of blue bottles – large and small. And the first fabric I saw was this gorgeous geometric pattern of blue and white!

The pattern is actually called “parterre” which is a formal garden construction on a level surface consisting of planting beds, edged in stone or tightly clipped hedging, and gravel paths arranged to form a pleasing, usually symmetrical pattern. And that lends its name to this fabric design:

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I did do a quick look around, but nothing could even begin to measure up to this. My first instinct is usually right, I like to go with my gut. So, two yards later I was heading to Home Depot for matching paint. Its difficult to match paint to fabric and my first selection (and two coats of it on the dresser) before I decided to get the slightly darker shade and repaint the whole thing. It was a good choice.

So once I painted all the surfaces that I expected to show, I used a slightly watered down mixture of Elmer’s white glue and water to adhere the fabric to the sides of the dresser and the fronts of all the drawers. To get the fabric on the drawers to match up with the sides, I put the drawers in, and placed one long, narrow strip of glue on the front of each drawer. I then wrapped the fabric around and secured it on both sides.¬† Waited for it to dry and then carefully cut the fabric along each side to release the drawers. Then it was just a matter of gluing and trimming to get everything just right. A touch up here and there and viola!, it’s completed.

So, here it is:

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I think I forgot to mention that the bottom drawer is a cedar drawer… the bottom and three sides are made of cedar and it smells so good. Its a nice little extra!

And so you don’t have to scroll up and down, here is a ‘Before & After’ picture:

Delft Dresser B&A

I don’t know if you noticed the ‘other project’ in one of the pictures above, I always have at least a couple or ten projects going on at all times! LOL

Well, thanks for stopping by! And as always, Keep Crafting Y’All!!

julie

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