Tuesday, February 07, 2012

Old quilt new quilt

One of my favorite things is to use an antique or vintage quilt as inspiration for a new quilt. Right now I am working with a baby quilt that belongs to Bill Volckening from the mid 1800's. This quilt is in poor shape but has some wonderful techniques still visible.

My first decision on a project like this is do I want to reproduce the quilt or use it as inspiration. And if I am going to reproduce it do I make it look like it did when newly made or an updated version of what it looks like now (minus the worn away fabrics and torn binding of course.) For this quilt I am going to make one that will be similar to what the quilt looked like new. I say similar since I am going to use reproduction fabrics and will likely have blocks that are more regular in size.

I still draft the quilt on good old graph paper. I lay the quilt out and make lots of measurements. This also gives me time to really study the construction. This quilt has everything - piecing, applique, reverse applique and some decorative stitching. Block sizes can vary greatly in these old quilts. There are 8 of these stars in the quilt and they vary from 7-3/4 to 8-1/2 inches finished. The other blocks are equally variable. I have chosen to make 8 inch blocks...

Next I pull fabrics from the reproduction fabric stash. It may sound strange but I keep my new fabric in two rooms. Reproduction fabrics are stored by time-period in three different cabinets in the guest bedroom. (vintage fabrics and blocks are stored in acid free boxes in the library...yes, fabric of some kind is stored in almost every room of the house!) Since there is so much wear on this quilt I am making some leaps of faith. For instance the greens in this quilt have all faded to blues and yellows so I am using a different green for each of the different faded fabrics "assuming" that they were different fabrics to start with. I make a chart by block type and fabrics so I don't repeatedly go back to this step...yes, playing in fabric is one of my favorite parts of quilting and I would go back to it for the smallest of reasons....(btw I am loving the fabrics in this charm packet of Moda called "Friendship"...would be perfect for this quilt but yardage doesn't come out until March! Giving us access to charm packs prior to the launch of a fabric line is great marketing but it can also be cruel and unusual punishment!)
top is Kona PDF and below Kona bone
After I have a stack of fabrics I then select a background. There is a fine line between using a background that can make the quilt "muddy" or "comicbook." And to make matters more challenging the same background could do either based on the repro fabrics so that is why I select the background last. In this case I am using Kona bone...it is just offwhite but not too yellow or grey.

Now it is time to stitch test blocks.

15 comments:

Patricia said...

I can't wait to see your version! I can't imagine the patern since you only give a "teaser". Will watch your progress with interest! After it is finished what are you going to do with it? Just curious.

Good luck!

regan said...

Holy cow, I thought you were me talking! I do the same things.....love recreating antique quilts (or just the mood of them sometimes, not exactly), and I graph on paper.....still don't any EQ.....but I'm ok with that. I love that you audition backgrounds last.....I'll try that now. That is usually my sinkhole; trying to decide on the background. Thanks!

Dawn said...

It is a tease to have the pre-cuts before the yardage!

Looks like it will be a sweet quilt!

Nifty Quilts said...

Thank you for sharing your process! Old quilts are my favorites, and I plan to copy many in the years ahead. I'll look forward to seeing your progress!

Belinda said...

What a great idea....love that old vintage inspiration quilt!
I always love hearing and seeing others thought processes!!!

Janet O. said...

fascinating to follow your thought process. I'm interested to see the whole quilt.

McIrish Annie said...

Wow, thanks for sharing this and keep doing so. Super interesting! I would never do it but love reading about.

Merilyn said...

I really enjoyed reading your processes of creating a new version of an antique quilt! Knowing how others go about this is very helpful in terms of prioritising what to focus on first! I look forward to seeing your copy materialise!!!!

Jill said...

Looking forward to your progress on this project. Can't wait to see the whole quilt.
Happy creating!

Finn said...

Awesome post! I loved reading exactly how your process for making a new version of an old quilt works. I'm excited to see how the new one evolves. Have fun! Hugs, Finn

Sew Create It - Jane said...

Can't wait to see progress in this projectbet it will be gorgeous when it's done :-)

Willy Wonky said...

I'm excited to see your progress, and can't wait to see more!!

Barbara M. Burnham said...

Antique quilts are great inspiration!

KarenQuilt said...

Found this post via BV's post on the Quilts - Vintage and Antique fb page. I am taken with your "reproduction" of this particular quilt because (w/o knowing it ahead of time!), I was biding against Bill for this crib quilt and was very sorry to loose it to him. But I knew Ii could at least ask him if I could reproduce it! Now you are doing it! Yea!

Willy Wonky said...

Oops, sorry Karen! That was before I even realized you collected crib quilts. LOL! I've got a good feeling about this quilt, really both quilts. Something tells me this won't be the last we hear of it. :)