Wednesday, 19 September 2018

Window Dressing

Years ago, I made myself a little pincushion using the Cathedral Windows technique.[information here] It was fun, but quite fiddly. I decided that I didn't want to embark on a whole quilt.
This pattern was particularly popular in the USA in the 1930s. 
Some purists used all the same, plain, fabric for their backing pieces, and a multitude of colours for the inner squares- whilst others used random fabrics and made a less ordered pattern.
Last weekend, I was chatting with a friend, who mentioned his quilt. He had inherited it from his Mum 
He wasn't sure of the whole story, but when they cleared her house, it was in the attic and smelt a little musty. He knew that it had been hung on display in her church for some reason.
I offered to check it out for him.
"It's clean, but it doesn't smell very fresh" he said.
I have to tell you that it has been an utter delight to work on it over the past few days. But forget the bit about being clean- it took a gentle soak in the bath, and seven rinses to get all the dust out!
It looked like the bath was full of tea!
It was sunny so I gently squeezed out as much water as I could, then hung it to dry  - supporting it on two sides.
The reverse side looked bright and fresh - but the 'window' side had clearly faded over the years.
Also, a number of holes, where squares joined, became more obvious.
Once it was completely dry, I brought it in, and it spent a day in the airing cupboard. Then I spread it over the dining table. Using pins with large bright heads, I marked every place where a repair was needed. And stitched it up...
I concluded the quilt had been made by a group - not just Dave's Mum, because there were inconsistencies in the stitching, and the edges. But this was a real labour of love by these women. It must have taken them hours to create. There were fun 50s prints [penguins on a turquoise sea and grey polka dots] and bright pink and orange 1960's psychedelic patterns
The front is much more faded than the back
But now the quilt is spread out on the spare bed at my friend's house- and it looks lovely there. Happy memories of a lovely lady.
What a privilege to be involved in such a lovely project. 


  1. What a treasure to work on and you have brought it back to use beautifully.

  2. It sounds a delightful thing to have had a hand in restoring. You are a very good friend to do that.

  3. How lovely the quilt has come up that was so kind of you.
    Back in the early 80s I was making a quilt and handmade with hexagons and I had to have a stay in hospital for a while and when I was recovering I finished it of. I entered it into our WI handicraft show and the judge commented that it was made by different people. I told her it was made by only myself and of cause my work had been done before and after from the accident.
    Hazel c uk

  4. What a delightful project. There is nothing quite so satisfying than seeing a quilt come back to life. Repair shop next?

  5. How lovely - and how good of you to do so much work to restore it. My stepmom is a quilter so I appreciate all the work that each takes.

  6. It is beautiful and with the patchwork backing, it is like two quilts in one!


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