Monday, September 24, 2007

A Top to Quilt


On my last trip to Tiny Town for court, I used part of the lunch break to duck into the world's best and cheapest antique mall. The first thing I saw when I entered was this quilt top. It was marked $18, and is almost flawless (one seam needs restitching). It's hand-pieced out of 1930's fabric. Okay, I'll take it!

I've always done my quilting by hand, but this time I'm going to machine-quilt. I plan to get a walking foot for the machine, but at $40 I'm wondering if I can get along without one. I'm assuming that I'll be resigning myself to the little ridges at the end of the seams.

Advice?

21 comments:

AllyJo's Mama said...

I worked in a quilt store and I'm a seasoned quilter, and I would have to say you would need a walking foot. I'm trying to think if you can do it without one...hmmmm... I know it would make it easier, for sure. But I would also have to say, you are more courageous than myself. I wouldn't want to mess it up. I found it easier and safer to take it to someone good and have them quilt it, unless you wanted to hand quilt. How big is it? Also, I prefer Warm and Natural batting, especially for older quilt tops because Warm and Natural has an older feel to it once quilted. That's my personal preference for old quilt tops, but you might like something different. Good luck and many blessings. I hope you'll share your finished piece.

momawake said...

What a great deal! I am not a quilter myself, but I do love quilts. :-*

Anonymous said...

Wow, you really struck gold! My grandmother gave me a quilt she finished by hand for my wedding-the quilt top was quilted by her grandmother, for my grandmother’s wedding, and dated 1933. Because the two pieces were quilted at different times I assumed there would be no value in the finished piece, but when I had it valued it was worth over $750, and this would have been five years ago or so. The top doesn’t look significantly different from the little view I got of your quilt top. Maybe…take it to a professional who could give you much better advice than I?

I just found you in the last month and have so enjoyed going through your archives. Good luck with the quilt!

Blessings,
Tamatha

Sue said...

you have a beautiful blog.

wow. i am so impressed! your artistic pictures and beautiful description of your family and everyday life.....i love it all!

i will have to visit this lovely land again!
su

Anonymous said...

I struggled over the decision to get a walking foot, too, since I'm not a quilter (though I am a lover of quilts). At $100 for the Bernina model, it had to wait to be my Christmas present for 2006. But I really have loved it. I don't use it all the time, but I like it very much for sewing knits, and for all kinds of sewing for the home (pillowcases, curtains, any long straight seams like that). Now that I've been reading your blog for a couple of months (with great interest and much gratitude for the inspiration), I feel rather confident in saying that you would put a walking foot to great use and enjoy it.

carmen said...

We just moved to a new state (from Savannah, Ga) and I just got done swinging through a "Tiny Town" in our little area. Our Tiny Town has a pink elephant that makes my little ones giggle!
Our family is trying to settle in our area. We have been hunting for antique shops, a church, and enjoying our drives in the country, while waiting to close on a 1914 farmhouse. (We close on Thursday.)
I always get so excited when someone finds neat treasures in "TINY" towns. I too am hoping that I will find many beautiful treasures in the stores that you have described. I had a little antique booth in the area in which we use to live. I probably will be doing one again but before I do, I have a lot of treasure hunting for my new "old" home!
Good luck with your quilt!

Celeste said...

Hi Anna, I did get a walking foot for my machine. Although I have only used it once so far, I felt it was a worthwhile investment. I had a Civil War coat lining with batting that needed to be quilted, and the foot made it so simple and beautiful. It ended up very even and precise looking. I have a quilt top my mother made that has been in storage - hmmm, you have given me an idea...!

Kara said...

I had a similar 'find' a couple of weeks ago, and now have a similar dilemma. I have a walking foot that I've never used, but I'm also considering tying the quilt. I'm reading the comments here with interest...

deb said...

Our yard sale Husqvarna sewing machine was a great deal at $45, and then we found that a walking foot for it would cost $89! We decided it would be worth it since the machine was so nice, and we would get a lot of use from it. We have found that it really makes a difference to have one.

Anonymous said...

hi Anna,

I don't enjoy the process of quilting, but used to work in a Bernina shop and the machine quilters were adamant that you just HAD to have a walking foot. Using one made a substantial difference in ease and enjoyment. I'd say $40 for the attachment you're considering vs. what a new Bernina foot costs would be money well spent.

I found a redwork quilt in our local thrift. The images are clear and portray Old Testament scenes. I am only starting to research it's value and wonder if you've any experience with redwork.

deb meyers

Mary said...

I got my walking foot on Ebay for thirteen dollars. Several sellers offer them.
You will need to know if you have a low, high or slant shank sewing machine in order to buy the correct one for your particular machine.

Anonymous said...

Oh what a lucky find! Any chance of convincing you to hand quilt it anyway? I think those wonderful old hand pieced quilts just cry out to be hand quilted. ;-) Love your blog -- so peaceful and beautiful!

Dinah Soar said...

I'd say you should buy the specialty quilting foot...in the larger scheme of things, $40 is not a huge investment, plus, enjoying sewing as you do, you will likely use it if you have it. I make quilted pillow covers, quilted valances, throws...all small, quick projects...and you could, since you likely have many scraps, make some small patchwork portions, and use them to make quilted bags....making the patchwork would be good projects for the children...and then there are quilted vests too...table runners, place mats...I say go for it!

Simply Stork said...

This is my first visit here and I will be back...It is happy and lovely here...thanks for that!
~simply stork~

Anonymous said...

Wow! That's great!

Mrs. MK said...

Love the quilt!

Be sure to show us what it looks like when it's done!!

Cindy said...

I think you should get the walking foot. I use mine very often with machine quilting and also sometimes for constructing children's clothes. It is very helpful when sewing corduroy and also for keeping plaids lined up nicely. They are very handy and create a wonderful end product. If you try to machine quilt without a walking foot your fabric will most likely become skewed. Not fun. I visit your blog often and you have a lovely family.

Shelley Jo said...

I've always heard it was necessary to have a walking foot. I hand quilt nearly everything but recently decided to do a baby quilt for a gift and needed it in a hurry. I don't remember what the problem was but for some reason my machine wasn't working right with my walking foot (my machine has needle position issues). Anyway, my quilting design was straight lines that did NOT intersect. It worked fine without the walking foot. But, if you're doing lines that will intersect and don't use a walking foot, you will have little puckers where they cross. It really depends on how much "Perfection" you demand.

I, too, vote for hand-quilting this particular project, though. :-)

Bev said...

I'll add two cents worth, although you already likely have all you need. I quilt, my Pfaff came with a walking foot. One of your comments suggested trying Ebay and thats a dandy idea. I do think if youre only going to do this one quilt, then tying it, or stitch in the ditch might be a possibility. If you think you'll do more in the future, and want to truly honor this lovely older lady you found, then a walking foot does a beautiful job of moving the bottom layer of fabric at precisely the same speed as the top one, something essential to machine quilting. Even if you have to wait to ask for it for Christmas (many of my quilting notions are gifts) it would still likely be worth the wait for the job it would do for you. And think of all the things you can quilt later, all those sewing projects you come up with. Quilted handbags, jackets, etc. etc. xoxox

Anna said...

Thank you all for your ideas! You convinced me I needed a walking foot (didn't take much), and I found one on ebay for only $13--I wouldn't have thought to look there otherwise. After it comes I'll get my project organized and show some pictures!

Anonymous said...

Good idea to go ahead and get a walking foot - and you got a good deal on one too!

Those old quilt tops can be quite valuable, and machine quilting without a walking foot can lead to damage that will seriously reduce that value, as the older fabrics can be quite fragile, and will tear or develop holes where the regular machine foot causes them to bunch up.

Of course, tying or hand quilting would be your best option to preserve the pieced top, but the walking foot would be second choice. Quilting with a regular foot is just a recipe for disaster.

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