Trash to Treasure

As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, this is my year of the UFO (unfinished object).  By the end of 2012 I want to have all quilt tops quilted and unbound quilts bound.  I am making good progress, but in order to stay motivated, I have to stop and make a new project with modern fabrics.  I’ve had a great time playing with the Going Coastal fabric collection, but it was time to move on to one of my UFOs, so on to the story of the heart quilt.

I wasn’t sure whether to name this quilt “Restless Heart” or “Trash to Treasure,” but I think the later is more appropriate.  This quilt was destined for the trash.  I started this quilt during my first stint into quilting in the mid-1980’s.  As you can see from the fabrics, they are 1980’s fabrics, but almost back in style with the vintage feel to them.  The neutral fabric is muslin.  Back in the 1980’s we didn’t have the choices of batting that we have today.  Also, machine quilting wasn’t popular and I was hand quilting my quilts back then.  I chose a 3″ thick polyster comforter style batting (yuk!).  I proceeded to mark my quilting designs with stencils and a #2 pencil.  About one third of the way into quilting this puppy, I decided I hated it.  I also realized that the #2 pencil markings were not going to come out.  I boxed it up with all the left over fabric from the quilt and stashed it away in the closet.

Fast forward to around 2003 when I re-discovered quilting.  The guild was having a “flea market” one night instead of our regular meeting.  Everyone that wanted to sell excess fabric and supplies was to bring their stashes to the meeting.  Among other things, I brought this quilt.  I figured someone might want to finish it.  No takers-it was that bad. I boxed it up again.

Now fast forward to 2011. While I was reorganizing my sewing space and pulling out all the UFOs, I happened upon this quilt again and it sat in the pile with the other UFOs.  I had a baby gift I needed to make in the coming months and I already knew that child going to be a baby girl, so not wanting to spend alot of money I took another look.  My biggest regret is that I didn’t take a “before” picture.  I guess I never thought this quilt would amount to anything.  On my 2011 Christmas vacation I first un-quilted all the hand quilting and removed all the basting threads.  Then I un-sewed and removed all the borders, setting triangles, corner triangles and spacer blocks in order to get rid of the muslin that was marked up with the #2 pencil. Next I downsized the pieced heart blocks (for some reason, there was a border of muslin around each block).  I was questioning my sanity the whole time, wondering if I should just wad it up and throw it in the trash. I just couldn’t bring myself to do it.

I had just enough muslin left to cut new spacer blocks, setting and corner triangles.  I decided on a layout and pieced it all back together.  I didn’t have any 1980’s fabric (that wasn’t mauve-you know what I mean if you quilted back then!) for the back so I found a small scale modern print that goes nicely with the colors of the top.  I like the juxtaposition of the old and the new.  I think this is the first time I have used a varigated binding.  Since I didn’t use any borders, I think it sets off the quilt nicely. At this point I was pretty happy with the quilt top and I was pretty confident that I would have the quilt done in time to give to the happy couple before the baby arrived, so off to the long-arm quilter I went.

The only direction I gave Joan (Gamble of Sew Artfully Quilted), my long arm quilter, was to do an all-over design. I always trust her to come up with something nice.  But what I didn’t expect was this fabulous all-over heirloom feather design that she did.  It is just beautiful and just what this quilt needed to give it new life! I love the quilting on this little quilt (34″ x 53 1/2″) so much that I couldn’t give it away.  The baby got another quilt, but I wanted to hang on to this one for just a little while longer.

You know what they say;”quilting makes the quilt” or “it’s not a quilt until it’s quilted!” I think both statements apply in this case.

Next up, new books and magazine reviews.  Talk to you in a few ~ Lora

9 thoughts on “Trash to Treasure

  1. I’m one of those people who doesn’t like hearts, but this “trash” turned into a great “treasure!” The quilting makes it gorgeous. Good for you to be sticking to your finish-it-up plan. Keep up the great work!

  2. Your quilt is beautiful! I’m so pleased you finished it in the end 🙂 I’ve made these hearts out of card with my maths classes around the time of St Valentines Day many times. There are videos on Youtube showing how to weave them. I believe the idea originated in Norway. I love your patchwork version.

  3. Oh Lora, I really have to hand it to you. That was really a lot of back peddling and recapturing to make the top what it is now and your long arm quilter is a gem all by herself.That quilt is gorgeous! The quilting really does make the quilt. My long arm quilter ponders the design and allows it to speak to her. I have never been disappointed with her work and if she were taking on anymore business I would recommend her in a heart beat. I too, certainly know what job satisfaction feels like after struggling with a piece that brings you to the brink of tears. So happy for you and your accomplishment. Well done!

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