Bless her heart

I have been working on an antique quilt top.  It was made in about 1900 and I believe in the south ( I say this because it came to me from Florida)


It is a great combination of fabrics, and I love it, but it was a bit of a mess.   It had been washed so there was a lot of threads to cut off of the back, and the sashing was very puckered…it was stretched as it was sewn and that made it almost pleated around the blocks with the blocks distorted.

11-18-13 01211-18-13 013

I decided that I would take it apart and put it back together to make it more uniform and flat.

here is some of what I cut off

remake-11-22-13 003

the fabric pieces are the extra sashing that was gathered up into the top as it was put together.  The pile is the thread mess from it being washed.

After I had the sashing out and the blocks pressed I realized that it was never going to be right.  The blocks varied in size as much as an inch and a half and were anything but square!

Because I was thinking a Southern woman made it I remembered a phrase that a friend of mine often uses ….”Bless your heart”

This is a term used by the people of the southern United States to express to someone that they are an idiot without saying such harsh words or to excuse themselves for speaking ill of someone else.

when I saw the blocks all I could think was “bless her heart”

1 2

I think you can see how off they are!  I had a few choices.  I could take the blocks apart as well, and re piece them all…that would take forever and be not a lot of fun.  I could trim them all to the same size and make them square but that would chop off most of the points and pretty much destroy them.  I opted to put it back together the best I could and try to make it flat and quiltable.


There are a few puckered bits in there that I need to go back and fix but overall not bad.   It is about 70″ x 90″  and I plan to use a thick batting….puffiness hides imperfection!

I think I will hand quilt this one next…It shouldn’t take long because I plan to do a fan pattern and do it all without any marking.

Happy Quilting


38 thoughts on “Bless her heart

  1. ann in PA says:

    You never cease to amaze me! That was a labor of love…”Bless her Heart” would be pleased.

  2. Kathi says:

    Being from the south your blog post cracked me up… I woulda said the same thing though… thanks for showing some of the steps of quilt restoration… can’t wait to see you quilt it 🙂 Thanks for sharing your process! Kathi

  3. Sara says:

    Bless YOUR heart for fixing this and making that southern quilter happy, somewhere!

  4. Kate says:

    We use that term here in the uk, but I think more as a term of endearment! I love this top and you’ve done such a good job sorting it out. They look like sunflowers, it will be lovely to see how you quilt it.

    • timquilts says:

      I think the trem depends on the tone of voice…in the right tone it is a term of endearment….in a different tone it is something else……funny how different regions can have different meanings for the same thing….
      another one from the south I have heard when spoken with the right tone of voice is “lovely” lovely said in the right tone can mean really ugly

  5. Penny says:

    LOL, that is what people will say about my quilts one day. “bless her heart!”

  6. karen says:

    I hear that saying all the time here in Arkansas – Bless her Heart can be a saying for anyone going through bad times to some like you say who has screwed up 🙂 I never heard it when I lived in Wisconsin.

  7. poppyinstitches says:

    its beautiful and a real sunshine quilt! Your so brave to cut into it, I’m a real chicken when it comes to slicing into something made by someone else – new or vintage.

    • timquilts says:

      It needed some help to make it into what the original maker intended….so not to be afraid…I can always blame it on the original make 😉 LOL….
      seriously though I have take apart and re made several…this one didn’t require much actual cutting…just a lot of seam ripping

  8. Lisa says:

    Just a few weeks ago, I was at a quilting retreat …..we were discussing the phrase “Bless Your (her) Heart”…….it is such an appropriate thing to say sometimes.
    I am from the South and totally get it ……good luch with the restoration! I teach beginning quilting and sometimes I do want to just say bless your heart!

  9. Suzanne says:

    Bless the quirky quilts! Just makes them more interesting and we can imagine the stories behind these scraps and wonky blocks. I’m sure with your quilting added it will be great!

  10. Clara Zolud says:

    Yes, Bless her heart and more blessing for you to figure it out and make it a treasure. Tim, you are so smart! Never ceases to amaze me the talent you have. And thanks for the TIP that puffiness hides errors, I need to remember this in practically ALL my quilts. Great job!

    • timquilts says:

      Thanks Clara….I will post some pictures as I start the quilting …when it is all done I think the texture will make the piecing look a lot more uniform….curved lines over the top of it all will help cover the crooked lines that should be straight

  11. mzjohansen says:

    Perhaps she was perfecting her skills as a seamstress, but it makes a delightful quilt. You did a wonderful job!

    • timquilts says:

      It could be that she was learning as she went ….or it could be that it was a mother daughter project….about half of the blocks were much better made than the others

  12. Kathy Johnston says:

    The after, looks so much better. When I get a top I always wonder why it didn’t get finished. The ones that are problem child’s, I can guess that is why they weren’t finished. Some of the more perfect ones are just a mystery, after all the hand piecing why the maker or family never completes them. This one was lucky to find you. Does fn quilting mean fan, is that the same as Baptist fan?

    • timquilts says:

      yes I made a typo…..should be fan …or baptist fan…I think this one was not finished because it was a bit of a problem child…many I think were never finished because the maker loved to piece and didn’t like to quit

  13. Annette Johnston says:

    It makes one wonder if the quilter was new to the game…like maybe an older child. I would have to say “Bless your heart, Tim, for taking what others would toss aside and bring it back with your magic fingers. One quilters work will not be tossed aside as yet, another ‘ole quilt.”

  14. Cuauhtémoc Q. Kish says:

    Bless your heart (no negative commentary intended)! You have so much patience caring for the quilted orphans of the world.

  15. Kristen says:

    Love those great old black/white prints on this.

    • timquilts says:

      Before I got this one I had never seen those prints together with gold/yellow/cheddar …they are usually with blue and red….I like the combination…very striking I think

  16. cmosey says:

    Great job! Have fun quilting that one. Can’t wait to see it completed.

  17. Helen F says:

    Tim you did an amazing job pulling the old quilt apart and redoing it!!! It looks great. I love your term “bless her heart” and the meaning behind it – I will start using it now over here in Australia!!!!

  18. […] I am starting to hand quilt the Bless Her Heart top I posted about last time […]

  19. Beverly Threadgill Robey says:

    Tim, I’m nominating you for sainthood, and blessing your heart all the while. I rescue those orphans, too, and there’s always the question: should I fix it or leave it in its original, pitiful state? This current project is certainly a sweetheart, and it will be all it was meant to be once you’re finished. You’re a good soul. Bless your heart.

  20. […] Nov 22 I began a remake on an antique top,  read about that here […]


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