This quilt will have a very long gestation period. This is the second of two sets of quilt pieces that Hallie is letting me finish. These are entirely hand-pieced in white thread by someone with very neat and clean hand-sewing, and the fabrics are 1930s – many of them are probably feed sacks. Like ‘Continuity,’ Hallie’s family thinks these were made either by her great-aunt or her great-grandmother. Any more specific information has already been lost.
There are not quite enough completed hexagons to form a Grandmother’s Flower Garden quilt, so I went to Atlanta and shopped for some 1930s reproduction fabrics that would blend well in color and design with these fabrics. I believe I will need to tea-dye some of them to speed the appearance of aging; the fabrics look right, but they look too new.
I am leaning toward carefully dissecting a few of the ‘flowers’ into their individual hexagons, and mixing them in with the new fabrics, to facilitate blending – thus the name.
Bonus? These pieces exactly match a 2” hexagon quilt template set I already had. I don’t have to construct templates … just cut a lot of blank hexagons.
Major update (July 25, 2010)
Normally I’d start a new entry for this note, but I think I’d rather put everything together here. I finished sewing the quilt top today. I have an afternoon reserved on the longarm quilter six days from now; getting this quilt top quilted and stabilized will be my next Saturday.
I think this quilt will fare reasonably well, once it’s all bound together. I was hesitant to handle the fabrics because the feed sack fabric was coarsely woven in places, but as I got the pieces together and surrounded with muslin, I started getting more confident about the future of these pieces. At first, I worried if they’d stay together long enough to get sewn, but once the raw edges were bound off, I realized they were pretty sturdy. I wasn’t interested in taking chances, though. Instead of leaving the zigzag edges sometimes seen on Grandmother’s Flower Garden quilts, I filled out all four sides with hexes made of plain muslin. I didn’t want any of the hexes taking on the extra stress of being attached to the binding.
I did indeed gut the old half-hexes, like so:
Once I had a full set of 60 hexagons, I slowly joined them together in groups:
until I had chunked the hexes into four sets:
Since I’d just killed all my half-hexes, I opted to fill the top and bottom with a little bit of decoration instead of full half-hexes:
I joined quarters into halves, doing my best to avoid putting any unnecessary weight on the fabrics; I’m still trying to treat them gingerly and delicately until they are quilted, and have a strong batting and backing to help take the stresses of everyday use:
I haven’t shown the backing in any of the photos, have I? I picked something fun and bright that’s period to the 1930s:
The red-and-blue bubbles are the backing fabric for the quilt. I’ll bind it in the bright red I used in a few hexes on the quilt top, for a sense of continuity. If you look closely, you’ll recognize all of those fabrics, save the backing fabric, as having made a few appearances in the quilt top.
Overall, I’m pleased. I like knowing these pieces will finally see the light of day. They deserved to be used and loved and jumped on by little kid feet, not set aside in a pretty box for a few more decades until someone else came along and said, “These should be made into a quilt.”
They’ve waited a long time to come into the light. I hope they love it, now that they’re here.