Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Operation rescue

In September I received a commission to save a much beloved slightly older quilt. Not really antique, the owner had bought it new about 25 or 30 years ago, and really used and loved it.
The fabric on the back was worn thin, and ripped at the seam.

The frontside has a nice traditionally executed Log Cabin Design, and it was tied – luckily! I don’t know which kind of memories are connected to this quilt, but it must mean a lot to the owner, because he had no hesitations when we did an approximate calculation of the costs that would arise. Those costs wouldn’t quite get him a new one, but it does give an indication what a special kind of quilt this must be to him.
He bought a grey print fabric for the new back, but was also considerate to choose one of my hand-dyed fabrics as well and suggested that I include that into the new back accroding to my decision. It was a 60-cm-piece, so something had to be done with it, and eventually I cut large squares, which were then set off from each other, mostly in one half of the back.

At first I took out the ties and removed the back.

At that point I realized that the fabric was ripped not only at the seam, but also at the points where the ties had been attached. Originally we had thought it would be possible to use the old back fabric for a new binding, in double or tripler layers, to hold on to the original look as much as possible, but with holes like this I took the liberty to decided that it needed a new fabric for the binding as well.

It also turned out that the patched front was rather faded, so I first checked back with the owner whether he had realized the degree of fading, whether he still wanted me to continue. He gave the ‘go’ signal, 

I put the quilt onto the longarm – and at that point I was beginning to feel nervous. It seemed rather parallel to my own experience with my teddy bear, which has been with me since I was less than half a year old. 
This is not the very first baby picture in which the teddy bear appears,
there is another one perhaps a couple of weeks earlier. But this is the first one in
which the teddy bear is in full view.

At some point in my life this teddy bear had assumed a rather haggard look, lost much of its stuffing, and one eye as well, so I took it to be repaired. After that it not only did not look familiar anymore, but it also had a crossed eye. That in particular hadn’t been obvious to me when the repair person and I talked about a substitute eye, which was of a different make but had seemed similar enough in appearance and direction to justify being used. 

Simply turning one of the eyes does not rectify the situation. Probably
another serious operation would be necessary, but I am not sure
 the teddy bear wants to have that done...

I didn’t complain when I picked up the teddy bear, but it took a long time for me to fully embrace this teddy bear again. And that experience now gave me hesitations before I started quilting this quilt, which, after all, hadn’t been quilted before.

I decided to keep the pattern simple, no swirls and overabundant curves, just picking up of the barn raising design with a bit of oval shapes, and straight lines in the borders.

And then the binding, for which I chose another small piece from my stash, matching in color in patchwork style – close, close enough, but not entirely the same, which was not possible.

I finished the binding yesterday evening and the owner will come and pick it up on the weekend. I am determined not to get nervous about how he likes the old teddy bear in its renovated appearance...