This is a little bit of my past that I would like to share with you. A tale of a quilt made by unknown .
When I was only 21 I was saving to travel to Europe I used to hand paint t- shirts and earrings to sell at Balmain church markets in Sydneys inner West on a Saturday morning to supplement my income . These were very popular.
This was a lovely hobby and well before my quilt making days. Mind you I always stitched and made all of my clothing from an early age.
Well one Saturday at the markets before the customers started to arrive I stopped and browsed at a neighbouring stall. This chap had everything!!! Junk everywhere, old hammers, tools, toys, shoes whatever you could imagine.
Well, up in the corner of his stall I noticed something textile and asked could I please have a look please.
I asked how much and he said $20.00. SOLD... Thank you.
Brought it home and it was the first time I had ever touched or seen a hand pieced hexagon quilt top. This quilt top must have been stitched in the 60's as the fabrics were from the late 50's and 60's. So many of the fabrics I could imagine my mum wearing dresses from that era.
What a find.
All hand stitched. The maker lovingly made her own template as the measurement of the finished hexagons is not equal on all sides. Seem to remember a few newspaper templates still in place. That I love... Not being perfect, just being made to love.
The maker used very thick cotton thread I think even an upholstery size 12 or even 8 weight thread. Each stitch was perfectly placed. The seam allowance fold over was large. The hexagon shapes started with a square of fabric and then folded over and met at the centre with overlapping long tacking stitches. ( photo above)
The quilt was not finished as it was never square or the sides even straight. I wonder why it was never finished?
For many years we had it over our lounge just as it was. For some reason I never finished it. I don't know why, just didn't seem right for some reason till now.
My loving daughter Claire recently got engaged to her love. We are thrilled for them.
Claire has always had a passion and a love for vintage textiles, this love of textiles we share together.
It came to me that night of her engagement news ( which was a day before Sydneys latest lockdown) that I will finish the quilt for Claire.
So after such a long time I knew what to do.
Firstly I had to replace lots of hexagons. They were so deteriorated full of holes etc. That meant unpicking her stitches and replacing the older fabrics with current fabric. I even cut up one of Claires old daisy print dresses to add to the mix. We also share a love of Daisies. The happiest flowers in the world....
That was all so moving. I don't know who she is but I could feel her love in the stitching... Maybe strange but so comforting to me during this latest lockdown. I did this at night, quiet stitching by hand. Hand stitching is not my thing, believe me, but what can I say except I loved it. Her stitching was small and delicate and mine is large and cumbersome. You certainly can see the difference in our styles.
Then I blind hem appliqué it onto a base of light grey homespun for stabilisation of the old fabrics. Then sandwiched it and free motion quilted it with continuous curves.
I know hand quilting it would have been better but really!!! I wanted finished for Claire this year not in 500 years time......
After quilting and binding I did hand quilt around the outer edge of the hexagons and luckily very naive large stitch quilting is a hit with Claire. I used 12 weight cotton thread and do you know I have not hand quilted since 1991.
So its done . This unknown makers quilt from the 1960's will have a new existence, a new life. A new family to keep warm and cosy up with. They are setting up their new home and this quilt will be very much loved and with a renewed purpose that will last a very long time to come.
This makes me so happy and contented.
💖 With Love
I hope you and your family are well.
Deb and Miss Molly
Miss Molly is very happy having her Pippy girl staying over for a few weeks, and here besties at the beach together.