Prep for hand quilting

I said i was going to finish the Basket of Lilies quilt before I started work on the next one….well I lied…I couldn’t wait.  Last night I spent 3 hours pressing the New York Beauty variation.

This is the quilt I wrote about here


It is a top that I really like but it has some real issues with construction.  It is not square, or flat, and it has at some point in its life been machine washed which is never a good idea for an un-quilted top.  Washing causes frayed edges and it causes distortion as it twists around in the machine.

Pressing was a long process and I found that starch was a big help in getting it to cooperate.

I did the pressing from the back so I could try to get the seam allowances to lay the correct direction.  Most quilters follow the 1/4″ rule.  all seams are 1/4 inch from the edge of the fabric.   This quilt was anything but that!  in some areas it was over an inch.


My first inclination was to trim off all the extra fabric.  If I leave it I will have to quilt through it so in some areas I will need to be quilting through several layers of fabric.

I didn’t cut it off.  This is hand pieced and if I cut off that fabric I will also cut off the knot at the end of the seam and weaken the whole thing.   I decided it was better to leave it as is and deal with the extra rather than have the entire thing fall apart.

My goal is to finish it not re-make it.  I want it to still look like the original maker envisioned it.

After I got it all pressed I moved on to basting it.  I got the muslin backing down and the cotton batting and laid down the top

DSCN1499 DSCN1500

and then I pinned it

DSCN1502 DSCN1501

I am torn about the quilting.  I had planned a Baptist Fan quilting but I think I can do better.  A different quilting design might do better to flatten it out.  I am undecided so I need to think about for a day or so before I start.

Meanwhile I hung up one of the new vintage tops to get a picture…here it is


Needs a good pressing but I think it will make a nice little quilt.

back to work for me

Happy Quilting


27 thoughts on “Prep for hand quilting

  1. Looking good, and I have full confidence in you to decide what quilting will work best. Have fun!

  2. Miriam Murphy says:

    I really like the New York Beauty quilt. Your quilting and the speed in which you finish your quilts is amazing. It inspires me to get going.

  3. chris says:

    I love this New York Beauty! For a vintage top, it has a real vibrant, exciting look to it. And thanks for the closeups of the hand piecing, too, so sweet. Can’t wait to see the finished quilt.

  4. lorieast says:

    Goooo, Tim! I, too, was surprised at how much better it looks all pressed and layered. I love how the maker’s personality is showing through…I think it was someone I would like.

  5. You are so patient, taking your time to help get quilts “better”. Can’t wait to see how you quilt this one.

  6. Kristen says:

    You are so kind and gentle with your quilt tops, Tim. Is there some patron saint of quilters? S/He must be your intercessor.

  7. Cornelia says:

    Hi Tim, I have been on your e-mail list for a few months now, and I just wanted to drop a line to say I love reading about what’s going on in your quilting world. You have a way with words and it’s like hearing from an old friend. Thank you for sharing so much of yourself with others, you have inspired me to pick up a needle more than once. Hugs, Cornelia

  8. audrey says:

    I know you’ll come up with a great stitching plan–very curious to see this one come together! LOVE the fan quilt too. That one is just fabulous.:)

  9. Laura in IA says:

    What are the dates for the fabrics in this quilt? I love it’s look. Can’t wait to see it finished.

  10. Pam G. says:

    I can’t wait to see it finished after you work your wonders!

  11. Becky in VA says:

    Hi Tim, I’m so happy I just “discovered” you in Quilters Newsletter. It’s so refreshing to see your approach to handquilting old tops – especially when the majority of quilting today is done by machine. I’m a handquilter, too, and will be a regular reader on your blog. Thank You for the vision to save and finish old quilt tops. Becky Brown

  12. Mimi says:

    You said: My goal is to finish it not re-make it. I want it to still look like the original maker envisioned it.
    I say: The original maker did not envision it all wavy and would be thrilled for you to remake it flat. But I understand the desire to keep the integrity of the quilt.
    I had copied your quote and not yet pasted it so was torn on how to get the sainthood comment copied!!! We all are pulling for you.

    • timquilts says:

      perhaps saying how the original maker envisioned is not quite what I meant to say…..I don’t want to re-make it and turn it into my quilt…I want it to remain the original….If I take it apart and remake it the original makers contribution becomes muted and it is more my work…..sometimes I do that abut in this case I want to keep authenticity


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