Thursday, September 04, 2008

A house is not a home . . .

until the sewing machine is set up. And that finally happened today.

This is my temporary sewing room. For how long I don't know—could be years! Our plan is to build a separate building that will house my studio and Ray's greenhouse. Our son-in-law is designing it. The design is great. But until we sell our old house and the economy picks up, we won't be able to build it. This room works for now. The carpet is pink, the walls are blue and turquoise (which you can't see here) and there are fish swimming around the tops of the walls. All quite entertaining, I think. But it's a good space, really—better than my old sewing space in a lot of ways. I still don't have everything moved. I really need my cutting table, but I am making do and did some sewing today. You can see a bit of an old bowtie quilt there next to the sewing machine. I put a binding on it today. It will be hung in the living room.

I have had this quilt for about 17 years and it has been folded away in a closet all of that time. I didn't make it. It's old. I don't know how old. And it didn't have a binding. Now it does.

I used to own a quilt shop in Ashland, Oregon. One day a woman came into the shop with this wonderfully graphic, old quilt. She spread it out on the counter and said she had been cleaning out her aunt's house, after the aunt died, and found this quilt. She knew nothing about who had made it or when or where. "Do you think anyone would want to buy this ugly old thing?" she asked. "Oh, I think so!" I replied and purchased it on the spot.

The back is pretty interesting. It looks like it was maybe an old curtain, with a floral pattern that is very faded. You can see that it is hand-quilted with big, uneven stitches, in a "Baptist fan" pattern. The top is pieced from suit-weight wool flannel and the whole thing is quite heavy.

I think it will be wonderful hanging above the fireplace. I only wish I knew something of its history. Many years ago I went to a lecture given by the quilt historian, Rod Kiracofe. He invited people to bring old quilts to show afterward, so I took the old bowtie. He said there was no way to know exactly how old or where it might have been made, but it had similarities to nice old Mennonite quilts and he told me it was "very handsome and quite a treasure." I'm glad it will finally have it's chance to show off a little.


  1. Yippeee! I set my sewing machine up yesterday, but haven't had a chance to use it.

    Your old quilt is quite handsome. I look forward to seeing it in it's new place.

  2. This is certainly a lovely quilt. I like the interesting pattern the bow tie placement and coloration makes. Great purchase.

  3. It's a great old quilt and I love the Baptist fans. A real treasure.
    Nice to see you're moved into a space of your own. I have one of those somewhere-I need a back-hoe to get into it though....

  4. I think the wool will warm up the room nicely, absorbing lots of sound! It's very lovely, especially the baptist fans.

  5. Anonymous8:00 AM

    The quilt is charming, and the wool will cozy-up your chilly Northwest days. It's just been waiting for the proper "venue."

  6. what a great quilt! looking forward to seeing in it's new spot.