Sunday, May 8, 2011

A Rippin' Good Time - Part I "The Find"

Here’s what I’m currently doing instead of the things I should be doing. Ripping. I got this top recently and it just made me smile for a number of reasons.  One, and this is important, it is loaded with fabrics from my current favorite time period; the turn of the 20th century  c.1890-1915. There are tons of indigo and cadet blue prints, shirtings, stripes, plaids and chambrays with a few blacks and clarets (burgundy) thrown in. Two, the price was right (also important). And three, being just a top I could easily examine the construction at which point the smile graduated to a quiet giggle.

 It appears to have been pieced by hand originally, at least in part, with what I would describe as string.  
This close-up shows regular sewing thread on the left.
Then someone with a sewing machine ---Hallejulah!- (albeit one with a tension problem) must have thought securing it would be wise so……….. whirrrrrrrr. Off she zipped – in the vicinity, at least, of the existing hand-pieced seamlines.

 A closer look at the accuracy of cutting the rectangles reveals a casual approach – a refreshing lack of concern for perfection. Seam allowances? She did NOT have a quarter inch foot – and what's more....she didn’t care! They range from non-existent to ¾”. Perfection is just boring, anyway.  

This is the only hole but numerous additional problems can be seen which may explain the top never becoming a bona fide quilt!  

When the pieces you are trying to sew togegther are not the same size, the clever seamstress just takes a tuck and honestly, there really is less bulk when the seams don't come together at the same in the same intersection.

At any rate, this is a quilt top I can love. I get very excited about ripping. This one presents a real challenge, however, with at least two rows of stitching; one of thread the thickness of wrapping string and the other by machine at 20 stitches per inch! But I'm ready to have some fun with this top. I have taken a three row section off of one end which will make it easier to work with. 

Let the ripping begin!

Coming soon: Part II  " The Process"


  1. jean, you amaze me. perhaps I'm the only person reading your blog who knows next to nothing about quilting, but why are you doing this?? I know you mentioned you found the fabric intersting but so much work to fix someone else's mistakes. Also the quilt you and Lois made for me was 1973 but maybe that's not a real quilt so doesn't count.

  2. I love ripping. First of all it is very relaxing. I enjoyed you sharing the contrustion techniques that were used on this quilt top. Some of the ones I have are very funny. The quilter sure was not concerned with any of the things I tend to fuss over. Have fun.

  3. Technically, Laurel,that 1973 quilt CAN be called a quilt. It has three layers. I don't remember if we quilted it or tied it - maybe a bit of both - but either way it counts (for what I'm not sure!) Now you have dated me! As for why I do this.....hmmmm. Can't really say. But I'm not alone - and people refinish furniture and repair old motors and on and on. I will not 'fix' her work but use the vintage fabrics to make my OWN work! I love that you enjoy the blog even as a non-quilter. Thanks for being a part of this!

  4. Meridith - I had a hunch I was not the only ripper in the crowd! Though I don't want to use poor construction techniques I do think we can learn alot from old quilts.

  5. Hi Jean - Looks like you have hours of fun ahead. Can't imagine hand sewing with string - but then many today are hand quilting w pearl cotton - never say never I guess!
    Looking forward to your next post!

  6. Can totally relate, Jean! I need at least two more life times to do every research and quilting project I wan to do!!


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