In the past, I have never used my quilts as tablecloths. Somehow it didn’t seem right, spilled food or stains that can’t be removed, were a big issue. Didn’t want to have clear plastic over them either, as I didn’t care for that look. Did make placemats, but that is different, that is their purpose.
Our granddaughters were coming to visit for two weeks, so I cleared out a drawer in the guest bedroom for one of them, so she wouldn’t have to live out of her suitcase.
There was stuff in that drawer that I hadn’t looked at for years. Does that tell you that I have too much stuff and need to clear out a few more drawers? You are right!
When we left the Los Angeles area, the daughter of a deceased friend gave me a box of finished and partially finished blocks, fabric scraps from the 30’s and 40’s. She said, “I know you will know what to do with them.” I didn’t want to tell her that I had enough unfinished items but I thanked her and put them in the drawer. I didn’t go through them too carefully, just thinking, someday I would do something with them.
As I emptied the drawer, I unfolded one of the items, thinking “what is this?” It was a scrap quilt top of fabric squares, randomly sewn together. There were all types of fabric from drapery fabric to seersuckers. There was even one square of an old Disney fabric, of Pinocchio. I laid it on the bed, but it wasn’t large enough to use as a coverlet. Then I realized it might be big enough to be a tablecloth. Where did that idea come from? It fit my dining room table perfectly.
I put it on the table and left it there. We used it every day and it looked pretty nice with my plain white dishes. I washed it in cold water using a tablespoon of quilt soap. There is more to it than that, so I will blog about washing quilts at another time.
If this quilt top was going to get much use, it really needed a backing and finished edges, to protect the seam allowances. The squares had been sewn together by hand into rows. Then the rows had been machine sewn together. The seams didn’t match and it didn’t really lay flat.
At first, I felt bad about taking it apart, but then realized, if it was to be used and finished properly, there was only one choice.
As the squares were taken apart, I measured them. They ranged from 4-1/4″-5″. No wonder the seams didn’t match or lay flat. The next step was to square up each patch. I decided that 4-1/2″ was the median size. A few squares were eliminated that were too small, but the drawer yielded other fabrics to make up for them.
Now there were 228 squares to press and trim. To speed up the process, I laid out the squares, a bunch at a time and sprayed them with Mary Ellen’s Best Press. I think it works better than spray starch and doesn’t leave a residue.
Then it was time to square them up. I put on my Ipod and listened to some of my podcasts because this was the tedious part of the project. It is one thing to be strip cutting pieces from yardage, but another to be straightening up 228 squares, one at a time. I tried two at a time, but just gave up and did it the hard way. I did use my swiveling Olfa Mat, so that helped save some time.
Debbie at Debbie’s Fabrics, a local quilt shop, helped me pick out the border fabrics. She thought the red would be a nice touch between the top and the border. I do, too. The red was cut 1-1/2″ wide and the border fabric was cut 4-1/2″ wide.
I finished the edge with some rick-rack I had been saving, obviously for a while. When was the last time you bought three yards of rick-rack for 10 cents?
There were enough of the squares to set them diagonally, I don’t do too well at random layouts. I like a certain amount of order in my quilts. Looks pretty nice, don’t you think?
So what do you think? Have you done something like this? Have you recycled a quilt? Please tell us about it.