Saturday, August 2, 2014

The Quilt Restoration Project - Part I

Back in the late 1970s my Nana Lil came over from London to stay with us for a while. While she lived with us, she and my mum made a quilt for me. Neither of them, as far as I know, had made a quilt before although they were both experienced with sewing. But it was fairly adventurous to make one with a hexagon pattern. I remember helping out by embroidering some of the patches. I think I was about 11 or 12 at the time, and I had free range of what to embroider. So there is Holly Hobby, Ernie and Bert other such 70s things. What I love most about this quilt is that they used fabric from other sewing projects, way back when we used to make our own clothes. So I could look at the fabrics and think "that's Mum blouse" or "my sister's dress", or "Nana's top".  Fabrics which are now vintage and reflective of that era. Now I can't quite remember specifics, just general memories of those old clothes.  I also love that this is a 3 generations project of women in our family and I can remember sitting together stitching madly in our lounge in front of the telly.

We had a few laugh over that quilt, the hexagons developed some strange dimensions as the quilt grew and there are some very strange shapes, with uneven sides. I guess those uneven hexagons make up the narrative of that quilt, and have become endearing and lovable qualities.

Us three, and my grandad Fred. Circa 1967 before Quilt!
That quilt has not survived the years well. The stitches have held but the fabric has perished over time, fraying and splitting. The edges have lost their squareness, and the colours are faded.  I pulled it out of the cupboard the other week, and looked at those sad frayed patches. It smelt all musty and felt damp. I decided it is time to give this quilt a new life and am beginning to restore it. This is going to be the start of a big project, it could take me years! I have a kind offer of help from the owner of the Pukeko Patch quilting shop in Warkworth, who will help me edge and back it when I finally get all the damaged fabrics replaced.

My first job is to remove the damaged hexagons (or hexa-gones) and find enough vintage fabric to replace new patches. And convince my daughter to help a bit, so it becomes a four generational quilt. I'll be posting reports from time to time as things progress - assuming things do progress!

Failing that, it makes a great cat tent. 

Che Guevarra, the world's most helpful cat.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Go on, make a comment. I don't bite.