Friday, July 19, 2013

Deconstruction and Reconstruction

We are having a new roof put on this week, and as I write this, there is the noise of air compressors and general thumping and pounding above me.  They're finishing up the final bit this morning, as there is a chance of thunderstorms today.
This was an attempt to take a clever photo of the workmen on the roof, which I could see in shadow as I did dishes in the kitchen and looked out onto the backyard.  It was fun to watch them move around on the rooftop in silhouette, though it may have lost something in the photo translation. 

Indoors, there has been another kind of tear-down and rebuilding going on. 

You may remember my grandma's quilt top, which was the inspiration for my Thoroughly Modern Lily quilt pattern. 

Instead of folding and putting away the old quilt top, which lay crumpled on a chair in the sewing room, I got a whim to cut it apart and see if I could remake it.

Before you gasp in horror, let me just say that as beautiful as this quilt top is, a good portion of the fabrics would never stand up to quilting or use.  Basically, all the solid colors need to be replaced, including the white background, sashing, and the cross-pieces in each block.  There were some other issues as well, a tuck here, a gap there, etc.

I carefully took apart one block, stitch by stitch.  I threw away the solid colored pieces and swished what remained in a sink of warm water and a little quilt soap, rinsed, then rolled in a towel to blot.  Then I pressed the pieces the rest of the way dry with the iron.  There's definitely some synthetic in this checked print; I could smell it when I pressed it.

I re-cut the pieces using the templates from the Thoroughly Modern Lily quilt pattern.  Grandma's pieces were just a smidgeon bigger than the templates, so it worked out nicely.

Redone block number one!

And here is a second one, before and after:

That "groovy" brown print fabric is my favorite.  Upon taking it apart, I could tell it was a mostly polyester, blouse type fabric, definitely not 100% cotton.  But it seemed to handle okay, and reassembly was without incident.

My intention would be to honor the general color scheme of the original quilt, though perhaps not put quite as much red back into the block centers, maybe mix it up a little more there.  I may also add some blocks of my own to make the quilt a bit larger.  Also trying to work, as much as possible, with what is in my stash.

This will be a slow process, one that I work on now and then.  I think it'll be fun, though.

I'm joining the gals and guys linking today at Confessions of a Fabric Addict.


  1. Man, you went for it! You will love this remake, so much better than leaving it unusable. I see the art in your photo, P! the noise is the bugger, huh?

  2. LOVE that you have gone ahead with this!!!! I find the re-make process humbling, satisfying, and downright fun.

  3. I am so pleased you are doing this! I love that quilt and think it will be so amazing to have it redone. Lots of work I am sure. Congrats on the roof - if it rains, send it West :)

  4. I love that you're making this quilt over but sticking to the original colours and fabrics where ever you can. Its like you're collaborating on a quilt with your Nanna.

    It is looking mighty fine too !

  5. Those blocks look wonderful, P.! I'm glad you're not letting this beautiful quilt languish away - it's much too pretty to hide away! Whoop whoop!!

  6. I'm happy you decided to do this. It will result in a wonderful connection between the generations.

  7. You are doing a great job redoing the blocks. I love the way they are turning out.

  8. I love that you are restoring this quilt and making it a combination of original and new fabrics. It's going to be wonderful. The original quilter's vision will still be there, combined with yours.

  9. I absolutely LOVE the reconstruction of your Grandma's quilt. I loved the yellow you used in that first block and that second block is SO groovy! That is going to be a really amazing quilt when you're finished with it. A quilt through the generations! Wow!

    Hopefully everything went well with the roofing and they got it done before the rain. Loved the silhouette photo!

    xo -E

  10. What a great way to make an old quilt usable. Do you know the name of that block? It's really pretty.

  11. I love how you did this! Now it can be re-loved!

  12. wow! amazing... I am super impressed

  13. I wish I still had some of the tops my grandmother made. I can remember distinctly my aunt saying they couldn't be quilted or worked with because of some of the fabrics she had used. And, now, look at you! I am so happy you are doing this! Not only for yourself, but, for those of us who wish we could!


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