Sunday, May 9, 2010

antique quilts reborn

Even before I started sewing, I always had a love of quilts.  There is something so wonderful and comforting about the weight of a worn old quilt on you.

I don't remember much of my Great Grandmother since she died by the time I was 6, but I do know that she was a quilter.  And for a short stint, so was my Grandma (her daughter).  Growing up, my brother and I would spend a few weeks every summer at my grandparents cottage in Ontario.  I loved going there because it meant swimming, fishing, trips in the boat and to the beach.  The cottage was by no means large but certainly large enough for the 6 of us to hang out comfortably.  Other than the extraordinarily short bunk beds my brother and I slept in, one of the things I remember is all the quilts and blankets.  When my grandparents sold the cottage more than 10 years ago, they went up one last time to clean everything out including about a dozen handmade quilts from my Great Grandmother.  My mom took most of them for sentimental reasons and when she realized that it was ridiculous for her to store them all, she offered some to my brother and I.  At the time I didn't recognize how precious these items were but I took 3 for myself and my brother took one.  One of the 3 I took was a Dresden plate quilt hand stitched with love from old scraps of clothes and when a friend needed an extra blanket for her bed she got it.  One is a beautiful patchwork quilt in navy and cream and it lives on our guest room bed as it is a perfect queen sized quilt.

Guest Bed Quilt

The last was just about the ugliest quilt I've ever seen but it smelled like the cottage and reminded me of my grandparents and that one has stayed with me since.

Cottage Quilt

I've been thinking about making some adjustments to the last quilt recently.  For obvious reasons, it's not the most beautiful thing to look at, but in the last few months (or maybe years and I didn't notice) it has started to disintegrate.  Most of the ties are gone, some large holes have popped up and on further inspection, it's actually a blanket wrapped in fabric, wrapped in fabric!  I wonder if it would be crazy to add another layer?  Would it ruin the sentimental quality for me?  At any rate, this baby is not going into a box.  I believe quilts are meant to be used, and by golly I'm going to use it!

For those of you that watch any amount of HGTV, you have probably heard of Sarah Richardson.  She is a designer who, over the years has had several shows.  The most recent show she has produced is called Sarah's House.  The concept is this: you will almost always get more bang for your buck if you buy the house and make the changes yourself rather than buying a finished house built to your specifications.  In the third season (currently airing) she has bought a country home about 2 hours north of Toronto, Ontario and is gutting it and starting over as well as adding an addition.

My personal opinion of Sarah Richardson is that she can do no wrong.  I have always loved her style and have been watching it slowly evolve into what is now becoming both an eclectic and sophisticated style.  But she seems to have outdone herself this time!  In the last episode she was working on the Master Bedroom and her jumping off point for the entire room was a gorgeous antique quilt.  The quilt was found at a large antique show near Toronto and it is impeccable!  Vibrant and rich yellow and orange solids on a cream background in a beautiful flower applique pattern, made in approximately 1885, and all for only $350!  Jealous.

I'm totally in love with this quilt, and I am now wanting to go and find gems of my own.  But where to start??  I've picked my first show, and I will be dragging my hubby or my friend Candace with me because I am determined to get myself some beautiful old quilts to add to my collection.

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