Friday, July 26, 2013

Antiques and Threads

This summer I have been trying to take predominantly simpler and faster quilts from my clients.  With kids constantly needing things, and no long period of dedicated quilting time, the larger custom quilts are just not realistic to tackle.  That said, I am doing a huge custom Civil War quilt in 1 week, but all 3 kiddos will be away that week!  Julie sent me a box of three antique/vintage quilts, each needing an edge to edge quilting.  I have two of them here to show.  One was just a 9-patch, and other than being made from what appeared to be 70's fabrics, it wasn't particularly old or unique.  These are interesting though.

This is a Lemoyne star, hand pieced, and I would date it to the 1920s or 1930s.  I am by no means an expert on these type quilts, but it is clearly made from clothing and other scraps, and is certainly showing it's age.  Many of the background fabrics were very thin, almost looking like they were made from a sheer blouse or curtains.  Because of this, I opted to stick a muslin liner beneath the top to even out the colors and the weight of the quilt.  We don't want to see the bumps of the batting through the quilt pieces.  I think that Julie has added the borders on these quilts, but they are in character with the original piecings.
 I stitched it with the Plumage pantograph.  Even if she'd wanted a custom, it really is not a good candidate for custom quilting.  Many of the stars have points tipped off, and because of the overall frailness of the quilt, I didn't want to handle or stitch it any more than necessary.  I used my standard Hobbs 80/20 batting on all of these quilts.  This one has an ivory Omni thread, which is non-shiny and looks similar to a cotton thread.
I like this next one.  It's an Ocean Waves pattern variation, which is from the same time period or perhaps a little later.  The fact that there is a solid orange fabric makes me question the age just a little bit, but who knows.  It, too, is hand pieced with a TON of triangles, and borders were added just recently to square up and enlarge the quilt.
 Now I mentioned in the title of this post that it is about antiques and thread.  That does sound a little jumbled and incongruent, but here goes.  Before I went on vacation, I conversed with a rep from Aurifil on Facebook, and he said he'd send me some threads to try because I've never used any of their's.  Truth be told. I ridded my thread stash of all cottons (what Aurifil is known for) years ago because they are more trouble than the poly threads and they are linty.  I was expecting a couple spools of cotton, but upon returning from vacation, I had a box of 11 large cones of Aurifil!  There are 2 cones of each weight (12wt, 28wt, 40wt and 50wt) and well as 3 cones of their poly quilter (40wt)!  The poly threads are all variegated too.   I was blown away by the generosity!
So, I decided I'd venture into uncharted territory slowly, trying their poly thread too.  It is an orange, gold and pale brown variegated.  It looks great on this quilt, which is more orange than my photo is showing.  This thread is comparable to Glide and Magnifico.  It stitched like a dream, with only one thread break on the entire quilt.  Boy to have my hands on another dozen cones of this stuff... :-)  The catch is that this is imported from Italy.  Quality costs.  I looked up a cost of over $30 per cone! yikes...I don't know if they'd have a wholesale rate for me or not, but I will be investigating that.

New Thread test #1: Success!
Julie asked for a freehanded swirl/feather/echo pattern I stitch for this quilt.  It is not really period to the quilt, but then nothing would be short of conservative feathers or cross-hatching.  In the end, it is a little more modernized anyways because of it's color, and the sheen of the thread seems OK on account of that and the pattern selected.

That is all the vintage quilts I have, but I did a couple more quilts this week.   This is a local client, Joan.  The quilt is simple, yet really pretty.  It combines purple batik with a couple prints that I think are Kaufman.  They have metallic gold on the.  Oddly, the gold Glide thread was overkill on the gold look, and the purple threads I have just disappeared.  I went with another new thread that I got free at Paducah.  It is a YLI thread - compares nearly identically again to the Glide, Magnifico and now Aurifil too.  The prints had soft turquoise on them, and the thread is that very color.  I think it was a great choice.
 This thread also stitched like a dream -- no issues whatsoever.  It is very affordable, about $7.75 for 5000yds.  I used a Linda Taylor feathery (forgot the name) pantograph.
 Joan also brought me two 12" (or so) pillows to quilt.  This seemed like the perfect size piece to try out the Aurifil cotton.  I realize I really seem like the cotton-phobe here, but I have had bit problems with it in the past that I don't want to repeat.  This is a dark cranberry 28wt Mako cotton.  It is heavier than the threads I routinely use, but shows really nicely on these shams. It is safe to say that I'd be willing to try the cotton on a larger piece too.  Hopefully the thinner weights will run as easily as this one did!

I am off to the Maine Quilt Show this weekend to get a dose of quilting, and to hopefully locate the one elusive fabric I need for the quilt I am currently hand appliquing.  Tune in next week for the show updates (I have quilts at Quilt Odyssey and Maine Quilts both this weekend!).  Happy sewing!


BillieBee (billiemick) said...

Enjoyed seeing all your lovely eye candy....yum.

Quiltdivajulie said...

I LOVE the way you quilted each of the three tops!!!

The flimsies came from the quilt ministry closet of a church in Florida -- the mother of a friend of ours was part of that quilt ministry. The group made small quilts for the children of local migrant families. The three I now have were "rescued" from that closet, stored at the mom's house, and were passed along to new homes after her passing.

You are correct that I added the borders to help stabilize the many,many hand-pieced edges and to help square things for easier machining.

Once they're bound and laundered (gently, oh so gently), I'll share photos.

Thanks again for your beautiful work!