Section of Antique Quilt Top

What is wrong, what is wrong?  Hmmm… What is wrong?

I’ve chosen a photo taken many years ago with an early digital camera.  The camera used floppy disks, and when I moved north, I transferred the images that were less grainy, to my quilt photos.

I began quilting by collecting a few damaged, poorly constructed antique or vintage quilt tops, picking them apart with  seam ripper and salvaging all useable fabrics.  In each stitch I could feel the spirit of the woman who saved each piece.  To honor her labor, frugal nature and creative process, I’d put it back together, stronger, more balanced.  Sometimes the process would take two or even three tops.

Here is a picture of an antique block stitched by hand.  All the blocks were sewn together by machine into the sashing.  (blue borders)  I found this top at the Long Beach Veterans Stadium Flea Market for $20.00.  It needed me and I was the right person to come along and take it home.

Some folks think that it’s sacrilegious to take apart that which someone has so lovingly and carefully put together.  Some folks think that the historical aspect shouldn’t be tampered with.  Fabric was  hard to come by.  To this, I say, psssstt, get a clue – it’s not useable as is and it’s going to end up on the floor of someone’s garage with oil dripping all over it.

This top made by a woman with a fair amount of stitching skill, but nothing special.  If quilt purists never want to alter or improve a piece, that’s up to them.  For me, I’m giving her quilt new life and love.

Here’s the quilt, completed. It became the focus of the second quilt I’d ever made.  It’s still my favorite.

For it, I used a piece or two of antique striped fabric that I bought on a major auction site, as well as parts of another old top that were damaged.

What do you think?

The whole finished quilt, done with all antique fabrics, except for the back.

A closer look at the lap sized quilt, hanging on my wall. This really honors the work the woman originally did. LOVE.

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