I’ve written before about my grandma and how she was a longtime quilter but, now that she’s in her 90s, unfortunately her eyes don’t allow her to quilt any more. She still does a little bit of embroidery, but quilting for her is done and instead she’s happy to know that I like to quilt.
The good news is that before her eyesight became too poor to quilt, she finished a handful of quilt tops that have been stored away in a box in my parents’ house. I finished one of those quilt tops back in 2013 (you can read about it here), and when I was home visiting my parents over the holidays I pulled out another one of the quilt tops to work on this year. This one is appliqued butterflies.
I don’t have a full picture of the quilt because this one is large and in charge. It measures approximately 78” x 86”. Whoa! I will have to clear some major floor space just to get this one basted.
My grandma liked to do a lot of applique but I’ve never made an applique quilt myself. I have a couple of ideas for some modern applique designs I would like to try, but for now they’re just that…ideas. I have too many other quilts I want to make that aren’t applique and they are my priority, so instead I’ll just finish this applique quilt my grandma made.
As someone who doesn’t applique, I’m a bit stumped right now on how to quilt this one. There’s quite a bit of white space on the quilt that needs to be taken into consideration, but also what to do with those butterflies? I think I’ll be doing a bit of research before I start in on quilting it.
Any applique quilters out there that want to weigh in on quilting it? I’m taking suggestions!
Happy 2015! I hope everyone had a happy new year and is ready for a quilt-filled 2015. I know I am. I have big plans and lots of quilt to-dos on my list.
First up for 2015 is the Snail Trail quilt. A couple of weeks ago, while I was home in Iowa for the holidays, I went antiquing with my mom and found an old Snail Trail quilt top that I bought. I am in love with this quilt and can’t believe I found it.
I asked the person I bought if from if she had any of the backstory on it, and all she could tell me is that she got it at an auction in Iowa. I then showed it to someone who knows quite a bit about quilting and sewing, and she estimated that it is from the 1930s or 1940s. I’m no expert in this, but I can believe that to be true. The fabric is a little yellowed and there are some places that need mending, but otherwise it’s in pretty good shape.
There is one spot that’s driving me a little nuts but I’m letting it go. Whoever made this quilt top long ago turned one of the blocks the wrong way. Do you see it?
I didn’t think anyone would notice, but then yesterday I posted an image of the quilt on Instagram and my friend immediately texted me to tell me. I know, I know! I see it too! I thought about ripping out the block and fixing it, but I decided it adds character to the quilt, right? That’s what I’m telling myself anyway. And technically this is not my quilt top. Some Iowa person made the quilt years ago and all I’m doing is finishing it off and I don’t want to change it. So in the words of Frozen, I will “Let it Go.”
Now let’s talk about the back for this quilt. I thought it would take me quite a bit of time to find the right fabric for it; something that strikes the right balance between looking modern but also looking age appropriate, because the thing I love most about this quilt is how modern (I think) it looks even though it’s so old. I think the fabric choices and the placement of the different colors really works. In reality, the person who made this was probably using what they had and wasn’t thinking about making the quilt look modern for 2015, but I think he or she really nailed it.
Anyway, I was in Jo-Ann’s picking up some quilting notions and I swung by the fabric section. Now, as many quilters know, you have to be careful with fabric shopping at Jo-Ann’s. They carry a lot of very affordable fabric, which is awesome, but a lot of times that fabric tends to not be of the best quality. So just be mindful of that when shopping there. However, they do have some better quality fabric, and in recent years have teamed up with some fabric designers to offer some pretty great collections. They have had collections with Denyse Schmidt, which I have bought a ton of, and have also had collections with Cloud9 and others. In this case, I saw the Elizabeth Olwen collection and immediately knew I had found the backing for the quilt.
The fabric is called Fairytale Gardens Twig Buds. I think the mustard color design pairs perfectly with the quilt top. I love it. Sometimes I have to really think about my fabric choices, but this was a case where I knew instantly what I wanted. I’m really happy with the design and the fabric feels of good quality.
Now I’m working on quilting this beauty. I’ll be back with the finished quilt just as soon as I’m done, so stay tuned. Hope everyone has a lovely Sunday full of sewing!