Antique Quilt Top

A new antique quilt top arrived today


Some close ups (click to enlarge)

I estimate that it was made about 1890.

I also took some garden pictures

And I also made a new book cover


and a video of doing the embroidery


And have a few of them for sale on my Etsy site

and Teddy says HI


Happy Quilting



Log Cabin Variation Finished

I bought this antique (circa 1900) quilt top in 2012


It might be hard to tell from the picture how wonky and puckered it is.     It required a remake to get it flat enough to quilt.    You can read how I did that here

I  started the hand quilting and got half done but it got set aside for another project and was forgotten.    I got back to it and finished it .    The batting is Hobb’s Heirloom Wool.  I used YLI black hand quilting thread.  Finished size is 75″ x 90″

I washed it and dried it as soon as I finished the hand quilting.   Machine washed in a top load washer on gently cycle with warm water and regular detergent with the addition of 2 Tablespoons of Dawn dish washing liquid (the dawn keeps stray dye from bleeding).  Dried in the dryer on low temp.
Here it is fresh out of the dryer.


It is hard to see the hand quilting in this light (daylight is best so I’ll take more pics in the morning) but here are more pictures (click to enlarge)

My new light really helped. I can get it very close to the quilt and it helps my vision a lot.   I can get back to quilting small stitches again now.   It is hard to see the stitching here but it is only about 7 stitches per inch .


I have a bunch of other projects in progress to get done…..

happy quilting


and Teddy


More Vintage Quilt Tops

The last 3 posts have been about all my vintage quilt tops and how I am organizing them in tubs with photos


Here are those posts , ,

I have 16 tubs packed so far….maybe 3 to go……but I did have several packed previously…so here are the photos of what was in those tubs. (click pictures to enlarge)

Lots of tops to hand quilt 😉

April Showers here in Lansing MI and Teddy hates to get wet!   He got rained on during his walk last night and was not happy

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I am making progress on some quilts….I will post new pictures next time

Happy Quilting


Organizing 3

The next batch of vintage quilt tops is photographed and packed. See here and here to see the others.

Here are the pictures (click pictures to enlarge)

I am out of tubs….so I am done until I get to the store. ( I have 16 boxes now with about 15 in each so 240 packed and more to go)   I will post more soon…..and these will all be hand quilted some day.    I can do about 16 per year so that is only 15 years If I only work on these…..but you know I cant do that….I love to make new quilts as well as finish these old tops.

Happy Quilting


Organizing 2

I got 3 more boxes packed.  See this post for more (   These aren’t great pictures since I just need a pic for the box so I know what is inside.
Here are the photos of the quilts in the next 3 boxes. (click pictures to enlarge)

lots more to go!   more pictures next time

Happy quilting


Fading red

Yesterday I posted a picture of a quilt top that had a lot of tan in it, that at one time had been all red.


I bought another old top with that fading red dye….


It looks rather dull now but imagine it when it was new and all bright red.

The white in the top is recycled flour sacks ( I think flour but could be other items)

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So what is with that “red” fabric.  Lets start with Turkey red

 “Turkey red”  doesn’t have anything to do with Turkeys, it refers to a particular color,  Turkey red isn’t just red, or a particular red, or even a dye you could buy.  It’s actually a dye process that produces a very colorfast red.  The dye process was developed in the Middle East so it got the name Turkey red.  It was a very involved dye process , part of which included steeping in oil, the use of oil caused it to sometimes be referred to as oil boiled.   Once turkey red became available quilters went crazy with the very ornate red and green applique quilts of the  mid 1800’s.   The process for making Turkey red was very expensive so the fabric was very costly.    Synthetic reds were introduced in 1875 and they were advertised as colorfast, and often falsely sold as “Turkey Red” , but they either bled all over the place or faded to various shades of tan.  There wasn’t a really colorfast synthetic dye until the 1920’s

So the new quilt top would likely fit into the space between 1875 and 1920.

A few more examples of mixed red fabric.   You would not be able to tell the dye process by looking at the new fabric so it wasn’t uncommon for quilters to mix fabrics, that would have looked the same when new as in these stars.


I pieced the antique blocks into a top, but I left the faded reds as they are because to me it is a part of the history.

Blazing Star Pieced 009

When new this top would have been more red white and blue.

RWB antique top 005

but a lot of the red has turned tanish pink.

RWB antique top 017

This fade happens whether the fabric is washed or not. Sunlight and washing make the fade faster.

Some have just a few pieces of color fast red that let us know that the rest of the fabric would have been red when new


It is hard to get a good picture of the real color they fade to, and they do fade differently depending on the fabric but to get an idea of the color think Band-aid.


Green is a different story and different dye process but greens can really fade too.

This top was red and green when new


and the lilies in this top were red and green and yellow when new


When we look at old quilts sometimes we see odd things, one block or two very differently colored,a few odd pieces in the quilt that seem to stand out etc. It is tempting to believe that these color differences were intentional and have some special meaning or symbolism, when in fact it was just the fabric dye of the time.

So the new top was once red, and it is now a sort of washed out redish tanish brownish color but it is still sort of cool.  and I will quilt it one day.

Teddy is not so sure, he didn’t want to sit on it 😉


Happy Quilting


Finished Applique and a new antique

I finished the Applique  on the kit quilt

here is the package it came in.

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I will quilt it with #8 perle cotton thread

blue perle

This is an enlarged picture….the real thing is much thinner.

I want to make it my own so the colored thread will set it apart, and I will likely do much more quilting than the pattern calls for.

I got a new Antique quilt top.

As with most quilt patterns it has many names.   Sterns and Foster (Mountain Mist) called it Homespun in their pattern (Pattern #34 in the Mountain mist Series)

It is often called Burgoyne Surrounded, The design commemorated the Battle of Saratoga.  Where British General John Burgoyne was surrounded and surrendered on October 17, 1777.

Here is an example from about 1900.


Mine is a bit of a mess.


As you can see it needs pressing.  I will see if that does the trick to flatten it out.

It was unfortunately machine washed, and that is always a bad idea for an unquilted top.  It causes a lot of distortion and it also causes a lot of fabric loss at the seam allowances


The fabrics are white with blue dots, and pale orange with a small pattern



after I trim off all the extra threads, and give it a good pressing I will decide what to do next.   If it doesn’t have any major problems like opening seams , or very large bumps, I can probably hand quilt it as it is.   It was made to fit around bed posts, see the cut out corners at the foot. .


I think I will keep it that way.   If I do need to make any repairs I could remove the extra at the foot and use those blocks to repair the others since I know I would not be able to match the fabric any other way.   If I took the foot piece off the finished quilt would be 75 inches square, with an added border I could make it larger.

I plan to finish a few of the works in progress before I start anything new……will see if I can stick to that 😉

Happy Quilting