Indian Summer

I have yet another project to work on.   This one is a big restoration project.    My Friend Julie Silber contacted me recently about a quilt that had been  cannibalized for blocks.   She thought I might be interested in putting it back into a useable form.

Julie Silber is one of the world’s most respected quilt experts. She has been selling antique quilts to museums, businesses, and individuals since 1968. Julie was the curator of the world-renowned Esprit Quilt Collection in San Francisco and is the co-author of the critically acclaimed books, Hearts and Hands and Amish: The Art of the Quilt, and is an overall super person.

If you are a fan of antique and vintage quilts like I am you need to see her website be sure to look at the quilts for sale section, a great source of inspiration!

Julie sent me the quilt to look at to see if I want to buy it…..YES I do…we need to finalize the deal but I couldn’t wait to post some pictures.

The block has a few different names.

sunflower block

I am using the name Indian Summer because it seems seasonally appropriate.

This is how we would probably piece it today….with fans in the corners…..set together to make circles

sunflower block 2

and probably foundation paper pieced to get all those points to work out.

In this quilts the circles were pieced as one unit and attached to the pink and blue setting pieces. this was all hand pieced and not using paper piecing.


As you can see from the picture this was a tied quilt.   it has no batting so I imagine it was used in the summer.

I said that it was cannibalized for blocks.   someone started taking it apart, harvesting the circles presumably to use for some other project.


there were 80 circles and now there are 48

the circles are small.  about 7 1/2  inches finished size.   and the triangles are about 3/4″ at the base and 1 1/2 inches tall.


there is no binding, the edges are turned in and stitched to the back

Time for a little measuring

DSCN3982 DSCN3980

I think I can rearrange the blocks (after I finish the job of taking it all apart) and make it into a small quilt of about 48″ x 60″

Each block is made with a different fabric. (click on the pictures to enlarge)


when I get it back together I plan to hand quilt it, even thought it was originally tied.   It was used and washed in its past and some of the blocks are showing the results of that.   The seam allowances are pretty far gone on some of the blocks and I will need to replace some of the fabrics in those blocks. I will post pictures of that when I get to work on it. ( I should have taken pictures of those rather than just the good ones) hand quilting it pretty densely will add strength to it and help keep the seams from further splitting.


I think it will make a very pretty little quilt!

I did do a little more Paper foundation piecing on the Batik project.

DSCN3999 DSCN3996 DSCN3983

As you can see I have a hard time getting the camera to give me consistent color on this.  I need to take some pictures in natural sunlight to get it right.   But you can get the idea.  Every block I do makes me more excited about how it is going to look.

here is the design again (computer mock-up)

Batik plan

Happy Quilting





30 thoughts on “Indian Summer

  1. Patty Gal says:

    Another treasure to be saved! Isn’t it incredible that someone would make all these circles with all these points, by hand, and not add a binding or a batting or some quilting. I’m sure there is a story there. Hope you are successful in getting this and can’t wait to see how it turns out. I purchased a stack of old blocks at the Houston quilt show in the late ’90’s. They are 9-patch blocks, probably from the 1950’s or thereabouts. I had to resize about half of them. I am putting them together on the diagonal with plain white blocks in between. I with I were as fast a worker as you are!

  2. judiebee says:

    Most excellent blog. Thank you.

  3. Tim, you must be the most patient man in the world. I am sure it is going to be beautiful when you are finished.

  4. Sandra B says:

    Oh, I hope you do get this one….once you work your magic on it, it will shine!
    I really like the batik quilt, too!

  5. gardnerpam6 says:

    Tim- I love the one sent to you! It will be gorgeous when you are done. I also like your batik.
    Pam G.

  6. Jenny Bacon says:

    A quilt that would be really worth saving, I am sure that you will work your magic on it!

  7. jbacon2013 says:

    This quilt is really worth saving and I am sure that you will do it proud!

  8. Rose in VT says:

    Wow Tim. When do you sleep? My thimble finger is already prickling thinking of you switching between those soft old fabrics, then to the batiks when you start hand quilting them…

  9. katechiconi says:

    Restoring that one’s going to be a real labour of love. How anyone could butcher such a pretty thing is beyond me, but you’ll give it a second lease of life, I know.

    • timquilts says:

      it really is hard to imagine how anyone could have done that to the poor thing… actually is sad…but I will try to be happy when I work on it 🙂 I think the quilt know how I feel and it turns out accordingly

  10. Debbie says:

    I can’t imagine piecing all those little points. It is really an amazing quilt.

  11. Dawn Cooper says:

    I too enjoy looking through Julie Silber’s site at the quilts for sale. She always has such beautiful ones for sale.

    The Indian Summer blocks look like they were pieced fairly accurately from the photos, At least they should be an easier fix than your Lone Star one!

    Dawn, BC

  12. Nancy says:

    It’s wonderful if someone can save these old quilts and you’re the one to do it! When you say you will have to replace some fabrics because of the seams wearing, would you applique a same size piece over the top of the worn one as I’ve had a conservator recommend to me (on my hand stitched quilt TOP), or would you completely replace it? My thought is to hand stitch another piece in and then carefully remove the frayed bits from the front without disturbing the original stitching threads which are anchored who knows where.
    Does that sound plausible?

    • timquilts says:

      since I am taking it all apart anyway i will also likely take out and replace the bad fabrics….if it was a completed quilt I would applique new pieces on top of the old. If it is a top that I am repairing I always try to replace the bad pieces rather than applique new on top because that makes it much easier to quilt

  13. Pat Long says:

    All can say is WOW!

  14. audrey says:

    Those Indian Summer blocks are amazing–so wonderfully stitched! I can see why you want to rescue this particular quilt indeed.:)

    • timquilts says:

      they are well made….I am not sure I could do those super small triangles as well myself…looking forward to working on it…..will make a great little quilt….Im thinking how cute for a baby


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