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Sunday, February 1, 2015

Repairing an Antique Quilt with Some History and a Snowy Sunday

We woke up this morning to see this scene out our bedroom window.... it almost made us want to go right back to bed! We are due for five or six inches, but it's blowing around a lot so who knows what the actual snowfall total will be?  It's cold and windy.. that is all we know!

I decided it would be a good day to finish up a project I started a few weeks ago.  I am repairing an antique quilt for someone.  Well, not just "someone" --- but someone pretty special! 

See, a lady named Joan Kopf grew up in my house, born in 1932 and lived her entire life in this house. She married Jack Baldock, and raised her family in this house, and then she died here in 2010.  Her daughters sold us the house in 2012. They let me scan in some old photos of her and the house.... Here she is by the piano in which is now my loom room, and she and her brother George by the fireplace in the livingroom. 

 See the hardwood floors? 
 Someday we are going to remove the wall-to-wall carpeting 
and go back to the hardwood floors in this 100+ year old home. 

After selling us the house, the daughters have come back to visit us a few times.... and Paula brought over an antique quilt to see if I could repair it.  Her mom, Joan, has sewn this quilt while living in this very house.  It seemed fitting that perhaps I could possibly repair it for the family.

Sadly, it was shredding... the fabrics were pulling apart at the seams with each use and every strain on the quilt surface.  The stitching was holding, but the looser woven fabrics were pulling apart. The segments of tightly woven fabrics were holding well. Paula could name almost every fabric patch, who's clothing it was or where it came from. How wonderful!

Bit by bit, square by square, I was pinning them together, and with a needle and thread I was blind-stitching them as best I could. I had to rob a bit more fabric to make it work, but I was making progress.  It took quite a few hours until I got most of the shredded areas repaired.

There were nine black patches where the fabric was totally disintegrated and not salvageable. I cut new squares of black fabric, folded under the edges and bonded them onto the shredded areas with stitch-witchery bonding mesh and an iron.  I was then able to hand stitch around, joining them to the surrounding borders of the good fabric.   I was able to carefully sew around each tuft of green wool yarn used to tie the quilt. Whew... it worked!

I could see where someone (perhaps Joan herself?) had attempted to repair five of the black blocks by sewing over them with some red patches.  I was almost thinking of removing those to make them black again too.  But I left them as they were, and if Paula wants those done later, I could.

At last on this snowy Sunday morning, the quilt was done!   I spread it out on the bed in the guest room to get a full picture of it for my files...  How cool to have it back on a bed in the home in which it was created.
Honestly, I think it's time to retire this quilt from every day use. 
I will suggest to Paula that she keep it folded on a quilt stand or hang on a wall. 
I would no longer sit on it or cuddle in it,
which would continue to strain the fabrics and tear it further.

I took it out onto the front porch to take a pic of it in a certain special chair.  Why is it so special?  Because a few months after we moved here, Paula called me and asked if I wanted this chair.  It had been her mother's chair and sat in this very spot on the front porch.  Of course, I said YES!   How fitting that I draped the repaired quilt over that chair and snapped these pics.

 I feel a sense of contentment and comfort when I sit there. 
Thank you, Paula for letting me into your family's history. 

While we were on the front porch taking the pics, 
I filmed this silly little segment of the snow:

It's now early afternoon.  I popped a pork roast in the oven to cook, long and slow, for dinner later.  I notice my Mr. Steveio is now snoozing in his chair.  Maybe it's time for me to take a nap.

Perhaps I will dream about 
what it would be like 
growing up in my house
 so long ago...

.... and sewing a quilt?


  1. You and Steve are special people. The house could not have been sold to anyone better.

  2. Nice work!! Yes, was nice that it was repaired in the house where it was made.

  3. Great work. I think you should print the story, have it laminated, and give it to the daughter when she gets the quilt back. It is no longer just a quilt. It is history.

  4. Thanks for this wonderful story, and the photos! I was imagining that the quilt was going to have the postage stamp squares like mine, but I'm sure glad that you didn't have to work like I do one about one million postage stamp squares!

  5. what a lovely gift you have given them back . I love the picture through the lace curtains makes for a beautiful Christmas card


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