I've given myself a new name- "The Quilt Saver" and a new mission- rescuing quilts that are no longer suitable as blankets or bed coverings, but have too many hours of work and too many beautiful elements to be discarded.
It's kind of like the greyhound dog rescue program where dogs that once raced are retired, except you don't have to feed and walk a quilt.
In the last few years, I've run across several quilts that were really works of art, but time has taken its toll and the quilts are just too fragile to be used for their original purpose.
I've been trying to repurpose bits and pieces of the quilts in other projects.
I made this little pillow from a late 1890's or early 1900's friendship quilt. You can see that the silk has shredded in many places and in some spots I actually glued the silk to an underlying piece of foundation fabric. The Admiral Dewey piece is a cigar silk- a small printed piece of silk given away with boxes of cigars.
I've heard that people made complete quilts featuring many different cigar silks, but I've only seen one. The fragile nature of the silk hasn't left many of those quilts still around.
The reason I called this a friendship quilt is I think it was made by several people who embroidered their names and little motifs to the quilt.
I took a bit of one quilt and wrapped (and glued) it around this vanity box.
I couldn't completely cover the ragged edges or shredded silk, but when I use this little box to store craft supplies, I like knowing that I repurpsed a little bit of this 100+ year old quilt.
With this flower basket stitching, I actually used the back of a handstitched quilt as the foundation. I sewed a crocheted flower basket to the quilt and then added flowers snipped from different pieces of lace to fill up the basket.
The quilt was red and white and all hand stitched and hand quilted. The red fabric has started to tear, fade and just disappear in a lot of spots, but I loved the softness of the hand quilted back of the quilt.
Here's another piece I stitched using the back of the red & white quilt.
You can see how much time and effort went into making these beautiful but now tattered treasures. I'm not a quilt conservator, but I hope by repurposing parts of these pieces of the past I'm showing my appreciation for all those who stitched before me.
("All those who stitched before me" sounds a little bit like Halle Berry's Oscar speech, I don't mean to be overly dramatic, but the words fit how I feel about appreciating works from the past.)