Friday, February 3, 2012

"Signed, Sealed, Delivered", I'm Yours!!

Well, that MoTown song just reverberates in my head today.  I just delivered a quilt to a client who was extremely happy with my effort.  I was a nervous wreck.....I have just gotten into the business of quilt repairs (no, friends, I am not a "restorer" or a "conservator").  I just want to make people happy with the quilts they have in their family that they want to "keep going."

Here's the quilt I delivered to James today:  It was a difficult quilt to work with.  It had been "finished" by a cousin sometime in the seventies, with a mauve border, mauve back, and a big, puffy, polyester batting.  But, what an interesting quilt. 
The Finished Product
Last picture before I took off the Mauve Borders.
Here's a view of what the quilt looked like before I took off all of the mauve border.  The picture below shows the incredible fabrics that each parallelogram was stitched too.  Hand stitched, for the most part, but the parallelograms were machine-stitched together.  It was such an interesting exercise for me to see the entire quilt construction process, laid out before me, as I peeled back the layers of quilt history here. 

Photo of the foundations for the blocks

Some of the "unraveled" stitches'
in the blocks
It was a difficult quilt to work with:  created in the 1950's from accetates, I think;  a relative of James' had bordered it in pink/mauve, big border, great big poly batting, and a mauve backing.  It was tied on the front.  The stitching wasn't the greatest (sorry, James, but I have to tell true stories here).  But I was struck by the incredible symmetry in all the pieced parallelograms.  I know, you can't see them here, but they are there.  There WAS an idea to organizing this quilt. 

I took the backing and batting out.  I cut down the mauve border. I was left with "grandma's quilt" and what was her vision.  I picked a burgundy broadclock cotton back, and burgundy sateen for the borders, and the same for the binding.  And then I repaired.  And I repaired, and I repaired.  Lot's of love went into this quilt, lot's of hand-stitching, and I believe, a little wear.  But an order for design was also a part of it. 

This quilt was made with love.  Each parallelogram was hand-stitched, and stitched into the long columns. The maker made chevrons from the same fabric to bring two columns together.  The more I examined the quilt, the more I was intriqued by the ingenuity of the quilter to "make this work."  Of course, 70 years after the fact, there were some irregularities and just plain fabric fading to deal with.

But, when I presented the finished product to my client today, I was so proud to know that he understood that I was not preserving, necessarily, a work of art, but a piece of his family's history.  I can only be proud to be part of that.  Signed, sealed, delivered, I'm yours, James! 

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