Antique Album Quilt Blocks — Revised

First, I should let everyone know that I talked with Karen Alexander, the quilt historian who commented about this quilt top and suggested I should not take the top apart because it was a treasure.  Karen’s interest is researching quilts with signatures, and she mistakenly believed that my quilt had signatures on the album blocks.  She didn’t appear to have a problem with me taking the quilt apart once she realized this.

I can see how a collector of antique fabric might be interested in this top (especially the centennial print), but the construction and stitching of the top are so crude, I can’t imagine what anyone would do with it, except perhaps document the fabric.  Also, once I examined the top carefully, four of the prints were weak and tore easily (including all of the sashing).  In any event, I made the decision to take it apart and remake it and I hope I’m not offending anyone.  I’m not really a quilt collector — just a quilter who likes to work with old fabric. At least I’m not making a teddy bear 🙂

I’ve sewn 4 blocks so far (2 whole and 2 half), and was surprised at how many pieced pieces there were — lots more than I imagined.  I always think it’s interesting to see this in old quilts — I do it myself when I’m running short of a particular scrap, but some of the pieces she added are so small — just a tiny corner on some.  Her original blocks are around 10 1/2″ and mine are about 8″.  Her finished square pieces are about 2″, but the rectangles are almost 1/2″ narrower.  Honestly, I don’t know how she managed to put these blocks together and I’m not surprised that the top was so lumpy.

After I remove the stitching, I toss the discolored muslin and sort out the printed pieces to see how I might improve the piecing. Next, I make any changes in the extra seaming (making the pattern smaller provided a little more flexibility in positioning the templates and eliminated some of the extra seams). Then I soak the and rinse each piece to remove dirt, press, draw around the template and cut. I’m having a lot of fun working with these blocks and trying to figure out the best way to piece them — I love the problem solving and puzzle aspect of it. Even the tiniest leftover scraps are being saved for a doll quilt.

This block was fairly simple because it’s one of the few that didn’t have seams in the pieces.

AlbumQuilt-3

This one was had several seams where the stripes didn’t match up, so I tried to fix those seams before cutting the pieces out.

AlbumQuilt-1

There were two different prints in this original block, but one of them was rotten. It was tricky getting even a half block out of the remainder — lots of extra seams were required.

AlbumQuilt-2

This last block is a bit odd because she cut all of the pieces on a slight bias. I wanted to use them anyway — I think it brings at least a bit of the original wonkiness to the revised quilt top.

AlbumQuilt-4

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