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Monday, August 8, 2011
Antique Yardage and Miniatures and Q & A
If you say "Miniature Quilts" to someone, an image of using tiny scraps of fabrics comes to their mind. They think my stash must be tiny because my quilts are. It is true that many pieces of fabric too small for other uses will be perfect for use in a miniature. But, you still have to have a backing and a binding. I have pieced small strips of fabric together for bindings, but only when absolutely necessary. The finished product is so much nicer without a multitude of seams. Also, it is one of my goals to have an interesting backing on every quilt. So, where do I find yardage in antique fabrics? Mostly in quilts and tops that have a lot of "issues." I have never come across a bolt of pristine fabric from the 19th century. Some people have, but not me. I take my fabric where I find it. The above photo is from a flea market find several years ago. All the fabric - and a little more, actually - came from a quilt in a quilt in a quilt. That is not a typo. It was a quilt that had two other quilts inside it. You could have knocked me out. The $25 price tag turned into a huge bargain. I have had other quilts in a quilt. Well, to be precise a quilt in a comforter, as usually the new covering is just tacked. But this one actually had every layer quilted. Some of the fabrics are very worn and some aren't. And, yes, I unquilted them all. They were not heavily quilted, nor were any of them nicely done. As with all things "quilty," the decision to take a quilt apart is controversial. Some quilters have explained to me - at great length - that I should never, ever, do that. Other quilters say, well, recycling is as old as the art of quilting. Everyone should be their own judge. I make miniature quilts out of antique fabrics. That's what I do and who I am and I have to have fabric to do it.
Questions and Answers:
A couple of questions have come from readers and here are some answers:
Answer 1: I do use spray starch on antique fabrics. Makes them much easier to handle. I don't know the long term effect of doing that.
Answer 2: I did get the written appraisal from Gerald Roy. My husband and I were astonished at the value he placed on all the quilts. We are thrilled. I read an article by Mr. Roy once and he said that people who brought antique quilts in to be appraised were often surprised to hear that a doll or crib quilt was far more valuable than a similar version full scale quilt. It has to do with rarity and desirability.
Till next time....