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Hand Pieced tops - some are old. SIL wants to machine quilt them.

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Karmopa Posted: Thu, Dec 20 2012 10:04 AM

Hi,

I recently lost a family member who had several hand pieced tops. Most of the patches are 1.5 inches by 2 inches, though there are some smaller.Fabric is cotton though thread counts vary within a top.

My Sister in law wants some of the tops and wants to send them off for machine quilting.

I am concerned that the hand stitched tops will not stretch well since they were pieced by my gran, who did it on her lap in front of the TV using just a simple running stitch.

Any thoughts? I am worried that some heirloom quilt tops will pucker, and possibly have seams open under the stress of a large platform quilting machine.

 

Thanks,

Karmopa

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Patti replied on Thu, Dec 20 2012 10:24 AM

I would advise to take one of the less favorite, and smaller quilt tops and do a trial.  I think you are right to be concerned.

Maybe they could be made more stable first with iron-on  interfacing or stabilizer.

Patti

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Hi Karmopa, it is nice to meet you.

I would be concerned also. The age of the tops would also be a concern. If they are very old they may not be able to handle the stress of machine quilting.

Life is like a quilt...bits & pieces, joy & sorrow, stitched with love

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Sukochi replied on Thu, Dec 20 2012 1:40 PM

Karmopa, I would not do that on a bet. It oulwd be so sad to have even one ruined. I would just sit down and hand quilt them one at a time. may take forever, but it IS an heirloom!

Great to meet 'cha.

Sukochi

 

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This is just my own personal opinion, but I actually like that your sister is wanting to get them finished so that they can be enjoyed instead of sitting in someone's UFO pile for more years.  I like Patti's suggestion of trying to find a stabilizer or something to hold them together.  I do hear the concerns of the others about the tops possibly not holding up well and I agree that these may be valid concerns...

I just try to think about what your gran would have wanted and obviously, you know that better than any of us... If it were me (and my grandchildren were trying to decide what to do with my UFOs after I'd passed on), I would rather take a chance with them, knowing that if it works, that the quilts could then be used and enjoyed, rather than just have them collecting dust for however-many more years.

Of course, if you actually have the time and motivation to hand-quilt them, then great - go for it.  Or if there is some other way that you can use them without them being quilted, then awesome.  I just think that she probably hoped for them to be finished (and enjoyed) someday and having them sent off seems like the best way to guarantee that they'll be finished so that some enjoyment can come out of them.

Again, just my personal opinion.  It's definitely a risk.  If you have a local longarmer, perhaps you could chat with them and get their thoughts first instead of just sending it away?

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Kinsey replied on Thu, Dec 20 2012 2:36 PM

I agree with everyone else. I'd hate to have something like that ruined and would definitely see if there's a way to test it out. Good luck

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gini replied on Thu, Dec 20 2012 3:19 PM

hi karmopa, welcome to the group.   there are hand quilters out there, that will hand quilt your tops for you.

http://www.amishhandquilting.com/

http://www.amishhandquilting.com/

this is the first one that came up on a web search.   ask at your local quilt shop if they have anyone to recommend.

gini in north idaho

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Patti replied on Thu, Dec 20 2012 6:48 PM

Excellent suggestion Gini.  I had a friend long ago send some tops to some Amish women to quilt, and was very, very pleased with the results. 

Patti

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Karmopa replied on Thu, Dec 20 2012 8:02 PM

Carolyn,

To be honest, my gran liked piecing and not so much finishing. Evident by the number of tops, that is clear. She would not give completed quilts to those in the family who put them up in the closet, so yes, she wanted them used.

That being said, I also know her well enough that she would be very unhappy to see them marred by a bad quilting job. Between waiting a few more years to get them quilted well, versus making them up right away with a possibly poor quilting job, I think she would not prefer the latter.

The main reason I asked the question was as a check for me to see if my concern was genuine or if I was not being realistic about resisting machine quilting these items. It just seemed like the piecing method (simple running stitch) and the age of some of these would conspire against a good outcome.

My mother, who had several of these in her home, had been given the quilt tops some years ago. She had sent several of her machine pieced items for quilting and did so on a regular basis. She had borrowed my quilting frame a decade ago with the intent of quilting these tops. I thought that since she never sent them off for machine quilting, that she had a similar concern. She died recently and I found these among her things.

Thank you for your encouragement. I think I might engage the services of some of the Amish women in the area.

Karmopa

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Karmopa replied on Thu, Dec 20 2012 8:03 PM

Patti,

The stabilizer sounds like an option. There is one that is not finished that I could complete the piecing and see how it fares.

Thanks!

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Karmopa replied on Thu, Dec 20 2012 8:05 PM

Thanks for the welcome and the response. I am leaning toward engaging some Amish women to help. I just feel like they would fare better with hand quilting and the age of them had me worried, too.

Thanks!

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Karmopa replied on Thu, Dec 20 2012 8:07 PM

Sukochi,

Thanks for the welcome!

Agreed! Even the ones that I do not favor were made by an amazing person in my family, and I would not want to see any of them damaged. I might use the stabilizer as suggested by an earlier poster, but for the areas that I can see are a little weak. I will still not machine quilt them though. It is worth the wait for a good job I believe.

thanks!

 

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Karmopa replied on Thu, Dec 20 2012 8:08 PM

Thank you Kinsey. I am going to go with my instinct on this one. It just seems safer to do it the patient way.

Thanks!

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Jeanine replied on Thu, Dec 20 2012 10:08 PM

I machine quilted several tops from my grandmother that my sister inherited.  They turned out fine.  My opinion is it is better to finish them and enjoy them then to be afraid and not doing anything with them.  I don't think machine quilting harms the quilt.

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Karmopa replied on Fri, Dec 21 2012 7:58 AM

That is good to hear. I think that if someone in the family did the machine quilting, then we would have more investment in the item and be much more observant. What I have seen in the shops is that they stretch the quilt on the flatbed over the batting, set the stitch pattern and let it run. It didn't seem that they were observing the operation to be on the look-out for things going awry on the detail level.
I have a quilting machine and might take a shot at it on one of the unfinished ones that I am going to remove some outer squares and replace with new (thus to make it symmetrical both in shape and in fabrics used). The single squares that I pull off will be batted and backed for pillow covers.
Thank you!

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