Friday, May 31, 2013

Grandmother's Flower Garden is Blooming!

This completely hand pieced hexagon quilt UFO 9 for me was started when I got the half done top at a senior center garage sale for five dollars about 10 years ago. Funny part of the story is that when I got to the senior sale ten years ago my eye spied this right away and I made a beeline for it. I got to it split seconds before another gal and at garage sales once you pick something up it is yours kind of like dibs until you lay it back down on the table. The gal that was a slim moment too late after me got all testy about it. She followed me with a grim frown for about 5 minutes around the sale while I shopped. Finally she said Are you going to put that quilt down or not because she wanted it! I said no I intended to buy it, thank you. Off she stomped casting looks as she went. Sorry, hon! :D

The parts of this quilt top that were already done were the coral, green and some blue in the center top region maybe 1930 and early 1940s fabrics. In the bag were also the other completed blocks of more colors and fabrics up to about a decade newer maybe late 1940s.Most were pieced from feedsacks, fabrics that had obviously been garments, and even some of the hexies were pieced themselves.

I used old muslin, old fabrics, feedsack fabrics and old dress maker yard goods to make the rest of the hexies joining them and the borders. I quilted it in a utilitarian grid. The gal who pieced these varied using single thickness thread, double thickness thread, white string and even black string to sew her hand pieced blocks. She was a very practical quilter and frugal. Some seam allowances were as small as one eighth of an inch depending on how much of a fabric she had. I used pieced plain muslin on the back and used old muslin I bought at the same senior citizens center sale this spring. 100% cotton batting and a plain pieced muslin back was the historically accurate way to go.

Hexies are a very portable project! Here the quilt has traveled with me on vacation to Virginia Beach VA!

On vacation I finished joining all the flowers to the quilt. At this point it needed a good pressing, for sure!

Then, I had to figure out how to get a straight edge on this project so I could add my borders. I decided to cut off the half of the flower that was sticking out on the left and top edges of the quilt top and add them in reverse on the bottom and right sides. This gave me a straight edge on all four sides to add my two borders.  The first border was a yellow vintage feed sack fabric above. The wider second border was of a blue dressmaker yard goods fabric seen below.

The borders on made all the difference to the cohesiveness of the quilt. They are what blended the pastels of the earlier blocks to the primary colors of the later blocks. What a jump forward adding these borders made. Just goes to show that fabric choices for borders do matter!


This gal was so practical and her machine would have likely been a simple one. No fancy stitches here! So I quilted simply in a grid every two hexagons. Some intersected the flower centers (green example) and some framed them (see blue example).

I did not know the original quilter. But it was an honor to see her work up close and continue it. Taking this half done flower garden to a blooming completed beauty was a lot of fun. Even though this is not free motion stippled or fancy, I did sew my grid quilting freehand by domestic sewing machine. Hence a few crooked lines but hey, it's all good! Linking to Leah Day's Free Motion Quilting Project! And now this UFO number 9 which is ALL DONE!! :D