Wandaful Quilts

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Saturday, March 18, 2017

My oldest UFO

When my friends were here yesterday I pulled out my oldest UFO.  I started this in the late 1960s and worked on it into the early 1970s.  This is 6 sections of 4 blocks each.  The fabrics are all from the period before 1975.  Even though it is ugly and probably 50% polyester/cotton fabrics, I will probably go ahead and finish it now.

 
I was still doing custom dressmaking when I started this and some of the pieces are scraps that my customers left with me and some are scraps from the clothes I made for myself and my daughter.  One of the reasons I never finished it is because the selvage wording was in one of the blocks and I was embarrassed about that.
I had made a few 8 point stars previous to this quilt and didn't really like setting in the corner squares and edge triangles so I folded under the seam allowance and topstitched them on poly/cotton squares.  Notice I changed color of thread for the different color points.
If you click on this photo and enlarge it you can see that this is a larger weave fabric.  Several of the fabrics are pants weight canvas type fabric.  I was truly using my scraps at this time because there were no quilt shops.
Here are some photos with a closer look at the leftover 9 patch blocks.




















I don't have matching star blocks to go with these 18 nine patch blocks so they can be a separate quilt.  I think I must have been making this king size when I started.




 
I remember driving to Aurora IL to a store that had various household merchandise, maybe leftovers from factories and other stores.  The selection was different every time I went there.  I found this fabric in packages of 3 yards probably meant for dresses or curtains since quiltmaking was not popular at the time.  I bought 2 or 3 packages of it.  This project is probably older than a lot of my readers.

35 comments:

Sewing Junkie said...

See how you have improved and blossomed into a wonderful quilter. Fun to look at how we started. Chris

Gene Black said...

When I started sewing almost everything in fabric shops was either polyester or a cotton poly blend. It is fun to see some of the fabrics from that time period.

DBrez said...

I love it! Do finish it! And keep it. In a fit of housekeeping about ten years ago I got rid of 3 early cotton/poly calico quilts and I have regretted it ever since!

Beth-near Louisville KY! said...

an Antique before it is done.... and it will be a modern antique when its done!

Debbie said...

Interesting to see where you began and the fabrics of that era. It may be ugly, lowly or whatever, but our efforts make it worthwhile. Thanks for having the courage to uncover it and share.

Hedy Hahn said...

I like what Debbie said about having the courage to share this top. It is quite different from anything you make now and show up each morning. I'm so glad you are where you are now with all the beautiful fabrics. Did we really like those fabrics way back when or did we just endure them. I know I wasn't crazy about them and made most of my clothes in solids, polka dots or gingham.

Julie in GA said...

What a treat to see these old fabrics; they take me back to my youth. I learned to sew around 1968-1970 and was making lots of my own clothes by the mid 1970's. Your fabrics seem like old friends, although I can't imagine wearing any of them now!

Karen - Quilts...etc. said...

some of my old quilts I am tempted to throw into the goodwill bin knowing someone will like them - I keep them in spacebags under the bed. The quilting is horrible - a few of them even have knots on top when I didn't know for hand quilting that the knots are to be buried in the middle LOL - I don't know what to do with them :) talk about mixture of fabric too - ugh! What do you think you will do with your old quilt top?

Anonymous said...

I remember reading a comment in one of the few 1960's quilt magazines that the reader loved poly's and poly blends because the colors didn't fade and the material lasted so much longer. Tried using some scraps of them in one of my early quilts & found out fast why experienced quilters steered away from them. Touch them with a hot iron and you'll never get the pattern together right. They melted.

Synthia said...

Quilting has come a long way, baby!! I started my first quilt sometime in the early 1950's. My mother finished it for me while I was in college in the late 50's. I started quilt #2 in 1960 and finished it myself. About the only thing about quoting that is the same is that the shapes need to be cut accurately. Everything else is new and improved. Makes the process so much more enjoyable. :-) I am so in awe of your beautiful quilts, the quantity and the quality.

Needled Mom said...

Those years were definitely about garment construction. I remember attempting a hexagon quilt using those fabrics with a hand made cardboard pattern. Needless to say.....it never got finished.

Mary in Peoria Handmade said...

I love it! It will be so cool when finished. Especially since it's of older origin. mary in Az

Alice Turcotte said...

I didn't sew then but I do remember polyester fabrics in clothing. I ruined some by using a too hot iron. What a difference in the fabric world. Thank you for sharing.

Melinda Hirsch said...

Wow, have things changed. I'd forgotten how much I disliked those old fabrics. So interesting to see how you and the fabrics have blossomed into exquisite art.
I just can't save that stuff anymore--Goodwill takes bags of textiles now that get re-used and transformed, so off my stuff goes.

Linda E in AZ said...

For that block with selvage wording showing, you might try a red Sharpie pen to color it (I've occasionally done such things). The color is permanent on fabric although might not be quite as bright a red.

Kristin said...

It will make a great charity quilt for some organization!

Roxanne said...

I hope you keep it too. It is a product of it's era and was heart warming to see your start when you've come so far. Some quilts from the 70s (polyester and all) are starting to be collectible according to Bill Volckening at willywonkyquilts.blogspot.com.

Linda Swanekamp said...

Wow, now I remember what I did not like about the 70s- the fabric colors.

A Left-Handed Quilter said...

Wow - your post brought back a lot of memories for me. My first "real" quilt was one that I made for my nephew in 1976 from scraps - and "I was truly using my scraps at this time because there were no quilt shops." It included a floral "larger weave fabric" from a dress that I had made myself "since quiltmaking was not popular at that time."

My, how times have changed. I sometimes wonder if the "newbies" realize that us ladies "of a certain age" are the main reason why quiltmaking is so popular now. We love it and love teaching others - and we love watching it grow in popularity - ;))

O'Quilts said...

NOT UGLY In style now...almost a mid-century modern...lol

Chantal L. said...

I did quilts with curtains fabric too. Everything was fair play back then. Seams were never pressed open either. The green fabric with white dots and yellow flowers was last seen in my mother's stash when I was a teen, lol. What memories! The floral one underneath is vaguely familiar too. I think it was the wallpaper in the kitchen. Yikes! It is a truly scrappy quilt and a beauty. Be careful with it, it's almost vintage. ;^)

Judy Dietrich said...

Oh my, I truly remember these fabrics. I had dresses and blouses made out of it. They wore like iron, so I kept hoping they would fade or get a hole!! My mom was an excellent sewist & she could make the fabrics prettier with embroidery or applique. So many changes (most of them better) !!

Elana Robin said...

I love you for sharing this. Whatever you do, don't cover up that selvage- it's fabulous! Today, selvage quilts are hip and creative so you were just ahead of your time- and never knew it!

Catherine said...

It must be great to see how you have progressed since you first started quilting. Yes, the fabrics maybe aren't quite right, but look at all the memories. As for the selvedge 'mistake', it's all the rage now to use them in some projects.
You have given me a push to look for my first quilt which is another UFO. I decided to handquilt and was too hard on myself with the initial result. The quilt was stuffed in a bag never to see the light of day.

EYSchmitt said...

This is NOT an ugly quilt. I quite like it and it now has that cool vintage look that speaks of its time. I adore that you have shared this with us and find it an utter delight of a top. Things that speak to where we have been in our history have a value all their own. You definitely need to finish it so it can take its unique place in time....begun in an earlier era and finished now. And all those remnant blocks...they will be wonderful all put together.

I made a large quilt and a doll quilt out of a mixture of cottons and polyesters back in the 1980's and that doll quilt was the one that my daughter aked to have when she had her own first daughter. She had such warm memories of wrapping her dolls up in it. I had backed it in flannel and quilted it with no batting so it was a summer doll quilt! The larger quilt was used up till it was tatters and is long gone but the doll quilt remains. By the way, my setting strips and part of my 9-patches were in the exact same bright appley green that is used in one of your 9-patches!

Thanks so much for sharing!


Annabelle Hammer said...

I am a volunteer for Project Linus in Northern Virginia, outside of Washington DC. I receive many quilt tops which I longarm, then donate to facilities for sick or special needs children. A few weeks ago, a lady donated several quilt tops her mother made but never finished before passing away. They too looked vintage, maybe from the 70s or 80s? I quilted them up and donated them because I don't think the children will be choosy. I think they will be grateful that some folks took the time to make a quilt for them.
One of them was actually a purple nine-patch. The blocks looked very similar to the one you have, probably because of the older fabric. I wish I could post the quilt photos on this comment.

Shirl S said...

I made a quilt top when I was 13. It has similar fabrics but i sewed it with 1 inch seams! I still have the top and may finish it some day. I am so glad my mother said "clean-up the sewing room" that day.It led to a lifetime of sewing fun.
I wouldn't worry about the selvage wording, people have made a living out of quilts made with the selvages.:-)

Charlotta said...

Your UFO isn't older than me, but it is old! I'm glad you're finishing it, nevertheless. It's not ugly, though neither you nor I would ever start a quilt wuitevlike that today! But lots of people would cherish the quilt if you do finish it, and you can give it to a nursing home or other charity and be sure to make somebody very happy. Or you may, of course, have a very different idea. We know now that it isn't ideal to use all kinds of scraps of different weights, qualities, and including fabrics which aren't 100% cotton, but traditionally that was the way quilts were made, and it just means the quilt will wear very differently, some fabrics will wear out more quickly than others and will bleach before others. But until it wears out, somebody can still love and enjoy the quilt.
For the very first quilt I made, a log cabin, I purchased fabrics at Hancock's. But I didn't know th buy only 100% cotton fabrics. I bought all blues, mostly calico type prints, half lights and half darks. I'm not sure how many were a poly-cotton blend. I hand-pieced the quilt using polyester Thread. I used the quilt a lot on my bed and washed it frequently, and it also got a fair amount of direct sunlight. The fabrics wore so differently, some faded very quickly, while others held up very well, and some - including the binding - wore poorly and started to show signs of wear, others still look almost new!
Oh well, live and learn. I definitely got a lot of use out of it, and I learned a lot making the quilt 🙂

Quiltdivajulie said...

What a treasure you are sharing today. Not ugly - just from an earlier point in your development as a quilt maker with fabrics that literally reflect that time period. (now I can go back and read the earlier comments)

Linda P in IL said...

A journey has to start somewhere.. and what a journey you have been on.. and you have influenced so many. I was sewing in the late 50's early 60's and remember that fabric well... Today's quilters probably don't know that "Quilt Stores" weren't even thought about back then. Way back when, it was hard to find quilt fabric, yet they certainly had cotton fabric to use. Like feed sacks, etc. Later there were many women making cotton house dresses. You just went to a department store and chose between 8 or 10 prints. Remember how awful fabric stores smelled in the 70's? Thanks for the trip down memory lane!

joe tulips said...

Wow! Was that ever fun to look at! I'm glad you showed it. A new old quilt. I find that selvage edge showing so charming.

patty a. said...

How things have changed! Leave the selvage showing - it is on trend now! I would just make the nine patch block up, add them and not worry about not having any more star blocks. There are such memories for you in this quilt! My oldest UFO quilt is from the late 1970's and is a barn raising log cabin. It is huge. One of these days I will get it done.

Laurie said...

I agree with the readers who feel you should keep the quilt. in a few weeks, I'm taking a class (my second) with Sujata Shah - Organized Chaos; her version of a kaleidoscope quilt. rather than sort through my huge fabric stash for fabrics, I decided to use old clothing I made and kept, as well as scraps from those garments. there will be fabrics from the late '60s, '70s, and '80s. most of the fabrics are all cotton, but a few are blends. I still love some of the lovely flower prints. I find it rather interesting to look at the fabrics in chronological order and see how fabric designs changed. the quilt that isn't even started yet already has a name: "A Trip Down Memory Lane." :-)

Tami Von Zalez said...

Even ugly quilts need love ~

Shasta Matova said...

Your UFO is not older than I am, but it does make me feel better about how old my oldest UFO is!