"Green" is Beautiful

This is a vintage quilt top rescued from my great grandmother Grammie's steamer trunk years ago.

I know nothing about vintage fabrics, so I am not sure when she made this. I do not remember her working on this while I was growing up, and I don't see any scraps left from dresses she made for me, so I am thinking this was put together before WWII.

The pattern is called Double Wedding Ring - visit that link for the romantic story of how it came to be.

Just look at all these cool fabrics! "So why have you waited so long to finish this quilt?" you may be asking.

The reason is this thin gauze fabric that was used for the background. It is still in excellent condition, but any batting I use will show through the thin gauze, and I am pretty sure the gauze as it is now wouldn't hold up to much wear and tear. Before completing the quilt with batting and backing, I feel that a liner of some kind will be needed to stablize the gauze. But how do I do this and what fabric should I use?

Just look at the perfect hand stitching. This 6' x 6' quilt top must have taken hours and hours and hours. I just have to save it. Some of you are experienced quilters or know experienced quilters and I would really appreciate any advice you can share.

I am thrilled to see how many quilters are making quilts from fabrics already in their possession, whether it be old cotton or flannel shirts, velvet skirts, or even old "vintage" sheets. And think what a great picnic quilt could be made from denim clothing headed for the trash bin. Every little piece in my great grandmother's quilt came from a well-used piece of clothing that finally wore out.

Brooke has a lovely blog called Inchmark, where she recently shared this picture of her gorgeous family heirloom quilt made in 1948. A perfect example of "green beauty". Like Brooke, I love the choices of patterns and colors in the fabrics against the white.

Now check this out! Eydie from Shebrews allowed me to use her photo of her quilt journal cover, made using embroidery and something called a "cutter quilt", (a quilt that has seen better days, but still has life left in it here and there)! If I ever find an old worn-out quilt or quilt top to rescue, I am making several of these. Isn't it beautiful? Go to her post to see the close-up version.

Quilts are not the only handmade treasures that can be given new life! I fell in love with this heart "pressie" I found recently on Nini Makes. She saved the hand embroidery from a "thrifted" cloth that was stained and otherwise unusable.

What a beautiful way to give new life to a piece of embroidery that required so much skill and love to make. I totally fell in love with these "Nini Makes hearts" several months ago, and now she has inspired me to seek out and save thrifted embroideries and make little hearts from them. One of these days I will have a Valentine "seasonal tree" covered with Joan's inspired hearts!

Yummy Quilt! I want to cuddle up in this with a book and a cup of tea right this minute! Can you believe it was made from a recycled "vintage" sheet? Diane shows us how to make this simple quilt on a recent post for CraftStylish. A couple of old sheets, an old thrifted blanket and a little yarn, and you have all you need to create this warm, comfy bit of luxury.

And speaking of "vintage" sheets -

Liz, who writes a fascinating blog from Mackinac Island called The Quilted Turtle, made these Amy Butler wide leg lounge pants using a lovely - you guessed it - "vintage" sheet. Can you imagine how fabulously soft and snuggly these feel?

While you are visiting, be sure to check out her winter adventures and beautiful winter photography of island life.

Just so you know... I TOO have a recycled "vintage" sheet of my own! Anyway, I'm assuming it is "vintage" since I have had it since the 60's! Actually I have two large pieces which have served me well over the years. I use them as pressing cloths when I am making new clothes, or as covers for trays of rising bread dough when baking French bread. (I'm not quite as clever as Diane and Liz. Still in the "box" when it comes to using old sheets! But I will get there!)

I will leave you with one last treasure -

Another family heirloom of sorts. Diane and I made this quilt about 25 years ago for my grandmother, Gwennie, using fabrics in her favorite colors. When our Gwennie passed on, my mother returned the quilt to me and someday it will go to Diane.

I am sharing this quilt so that you can see that special machines and quilting skills are not needed to create a beautiful quilt. A quilt top can be made from sewing together simple squares, (and if they are cut from old shirts, skirts or blue jeans, so much the better).

The batting, backing and top portions of Gwennie's quilt are simply hand-tied with yarn. (Here's a great video tutorial for a much simpler method than we used!) The quilt has been in constant use for 25 years and is still in perfect shape.

So... next time you are out thrifting and you find a worn out garment made of the most gorgeous fabric - rescue it and start a quilt stash! You don't have to make a massive queen size bed quilt. Make a small lap quilt for cool evenings when you are curled up reading a good book or make a "picnic quilt" to take on your next trip to the park. A tiny "diaper changing quilt" out of old sheets would be perfect to carry along in the diaper bag. Use your stash to make journal covers, or even patchwork kitchen towels like these I found on Sew, Mama, Sew.

"Green" really can be beautiful! I hope you will share with me what beautiful green projects you create from your thrifted "stash".

I have an old quilt with many

I have an old quilt with many missing material pieces. The interesting thing is that I saw many of the same materials in a quilt in a museum from the 1860. Someone told me they were from flour bags. I am not sure that is true, but I would appreciate any leads on where to find the material.


When you figure out what to

When you figure out what to do with that quilt top - let me know. I recently received a quilt made by my Great Grandmother and I MUST save it. The top needs a few repairs here and there, but I'm going to have to remove the back and batting and redo that part. I'm not even a quilter. Eeek.

Pam I just stopped in after a

Pam I just stopped in after a long break from blog visiting and WOW all the changes. The blog looks beautiful and you've been so busy again! Love the new header and colours. Thanks for including my little heart too!

lovely quilts. There used to

lovely quilts. There used to be loads of really serious quilters and quilt conservators (is that a word) on the newsgroup rec.crafts.textiles.quilting but not sure these days. If you're not usenet-enabled ask me or I bet Diane knows too.

Yes indeed. One of these

Yes indeed. One of these day's i'm gonna rescue some of my 99 year old grandma's vintage fabrics too! Thanks for this wonderful post.


It is so beautiful Pam! I am

It is so beautiful Pam! I am also working on an old quilt that I got from a friend. It was just a hand-sewn quilt top so I added the batting and the backing (from a 30's type fabric) and am in the process of hand-quilting it and I know it will take me years to finish it. It is a Grandmothers Flower Garden.

Your fabric is so much brighter than 30's fabric so I can't help you date it.

Maybe there is someone in your area that would hand-quilt it for you. It is such a treasure!

Good luck with it.

My mother-in-law's home is

My mother-in-law's home is full of old quilts that her mother crafted from feed sacks. They're beautiful! I think it is so important to take advantage of vintage and re-purposed fabrics. The treasures we make from them tell a story that can't be told from craft store fabrics! Thank you for reminding us!