Saturday, July 18, 2020

From Vintage Linen Stack to Quilted! Red and White Bliss

When I was a wee wain, in my 40s, I believed I would live forever, so I bought a lot of vintage linens at my favorite flea markets and thrift shops. Over the years, I accrued quite the collection, especially red-and-white pieces, plus adorable hand embroideries. 
Now, a zillion years older, with mortality in the headlines, pandemic quarantine has given me the time, space, and motivation to check this one off my bucket list. I stitched some of the best of  them into an 79" x 82" quilt. At the moment, I'm calling it "One Tablecloth, 8 Aprons, A Mystery Linen and More." Here's the front: 

The center is a spectacular linen tablecloth. I quilted around all the foliage (but not close around every leaf.)

At the center of that tablecloth, I appliqued this cross-stitched bouquet.

The other two embroideries on the front were found together, clearly made from a kit by the same person, stitched onto dishtowels. In the lower left corner, I placed this scene of two kittens with a (Chinese?) vase: 
 In the upper right corner, I set this fabulous urn: 

The rectangle running across the top center is the mystery textile - a long panel of teeny, intricate hand-embroidery done on a loose white linen. My theory is that it was intended to be a Greek folk costume, but my daughter thinks it looks more Eastern European  - your ideas welcomed! 
Above the mystery textile, I set a long rectangle made from an ultra-sweet apron, whose fabric depicted lacy round aprons. (You could call it meta-apron fabric.)
 Across the bottom, I set this brilliant apron. It's amazing how much fabric is in a mid-century gathered apron. 
Down the right side is another formerly gathered apron. 

In the upper left corner, I put this hallucinogenic print, found in yet another apron. I'm guessing it's from the 1940s or 50s (Do you know?) 
 The back is sparser, but features linens that are no less adorable.
Below, the panel on bottom, with the crocheted tulips, was a pillowcase. I covered the crochet trim with monofilament thread zigzagging, so it didn't snag or distort when I quilted the top. The printed flowers blue and green flowers are from yet another apron. 
There's a dishtowel with a dog embroidery, plus the pocket from another apron that I placed after accidentally cutting a hole in the back (don't ask). 
 Down the middle are two more aprons. 
And a giant linen table runner, mostly white but with one embroidery swoop in the middle, fills out the rest of the space.
This quilt is delicate - I learned the hard way that vintage linens, no matter how gorgeous, are less sturdy than new fabrics. They tear all too easily. So it's mostly for show, and I am left with the satisfaction of having finished it! 

This is my second large quilt made from American mid-century linens. On my first, I also put a tablecloth in the center,  smaller pieces in the borders - and then I scattered new English Paper Pieced hexagon blocks on top. 
A pattern with detailed directions for this quilt are in my new book, "Hexagon Star Quilts: 113 English Paper Pieced Star Patterns to Piece and Applique." More information about the book is here, and it's now in quilt shops, and on Amazon, here

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