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I've been practicing my ladder stitch. It's a sewing method used to repair seams invisibly. I have used this stitch many times on qu...

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

I've been thinking about the repair, restore, conserve stuff. I collect quilts that other people want to get rid of for unknown reasons. When I am really lucky, a quilt may need no more than a cleaning and a bit of repair of broken seams or binding. This is the best case scenario because when I buy from ebay, I have to rely on seller descriptions and condition reports. I also have a few favorite antique and vintage shops that I frequent. I am a real bargain hunter, with a budget to match, so what catches my eye is often in need of cleaning and some sewing to fix loose seams.

Despite my frugal ways, I have been able to collect some special pieces in good condition. As I've examined them, my mind still wanders to the maker: what was she thinking? Why did she choose this design? Where did she get the fabric? How long did it take her to piece it? Did she quilt it herself or did she have friends to help? How long did it take to quilt? Where did the batting come from?

Sometimes the answers are evident, like when there is an open seam on the back that reveals the batting. Sometimes no clues are available unless I find reason to pick apart a quilt. That only happens in my house when the quilt is in bad enough shape that I want to try to rescue some of it. I've become better at finding quilts that could never warrant a complete teardown.

The repair of a quilt is very rewarding to me. It means two things: one, is that I found it in time. It can be treated quite easily in ways that will extend it's life for more people to appreciate. Second, since repair means just sewing up compromised seams, it's often all that is needed in addition to some kind of cleaning. Cleaning is a topic for another post.

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