Thursday, May 23, 2013

Quilt Secrets

I recently came into possession of one of my Grandma's antique "utility" quilts.

Must have gotten my scrappy quilt love from Grandma!
Its really, really old and raggedy. When I say utility quilts, I mean simply that my Grandma and Grandpa needed quilts to keep their family of 11 children warm. Plain and simple. The house my Mama grew up in was a big old rambling farmhouse. The bedrooms were not heated. There were a couple of rooms that had a wood heater. The rooms with the wood heaters were toasty warm, but having warm quilts in the bedrooms was a necessity. I grew up in houses that had unheated bedrooms too. I can remember having so many quilts on the bed that you could hardly turn over!

The quilt needed lots of repairs if it was to be salvaged, so I washed and dried it first.  I plan to resew the loose binding.  But if the binding had not come loose I never would have see this:

Fertilizer Sacks

The inside of the backing fabric revealed that it was made from fertilizer sacks!  See the nitrogen contents printed on the inside?  Not flour sacks and not feed sacks... but fertilizer sacks.  You can also see the real cotton that was used for batting.  That cotton came straight from a cotton field that their family tended.

Feed Sacks (W.A.Davis Milling Company)
However, there are some pieces of  the top that came from feed sacks.

I love the scrappiness in my Grandma's quilts.  I know that is where I got my scrappy quilt love!  These blocks are made with strips going cross wise, just like some blocks and mug rugs I've made in the past.

Question:  I know I can easily repair the binding that has come loose, but should I attempt to patch holes or just let them be?

When this quilt was newly made, I'm sure it was beautiful and there is no doubt that my Mama slept under it at some point. 


Kathryn D. Duke said...

What a treasure Debbie!!! And even greater surprise in finding the fertilizer sacks too.

I restore antique quilts and you can do two things...leave as is with only minimal stitch/repair if really needed and just gently display...OR make a similar "patch" to applique over the damaged areas, with reproduction type fabric and prewash it perhaps several times before you applique it in place...

Mary Ellen at The Thistlebee Quilt Shoppe in downtown Goldsboro has a wonderful selection and can help you select the perfect match.

Also take a look at some of the repairs I have done on very raggedy quilts...Quilt Restoration label on my blog

Keep us posted of our progress and again WHAT A TREASURE !!!

Pen Pen said...

I've heard of putting applique patches over the holes. what a wonderful quilt. We had one that my grandma made (I think....could have been great grandma) that had a cow on it, from a feedsack bag. I just love that they used what they had... yes! for scappy quilts!!

Auntie M said...

Debbie, I have one made by my mother-in-law. It is appliqued and embroidered, but has been used right much. The binding is frayed. I believe it has wool batting, so am afraid to wash it.
I will listen to your responses before I tackle it.

You have a treasure!!

Karen said...

What an amazing heirloom to have, I love hearing about the origins of old quilts and how they were made etc. You have a real treasure there :o)

Denise said...

What a treasure, wish I could make a suggestion.......