3 Lessons from an Older Quilt

I recently got to borrow a quilt I made for our daughter when she left for college 12 years ago, and I learned several things from looking it over.

patchwork quilt

The Cheerful Child Quilt

First, it was much softer than when I made it.  This is notable because when I gave it to her, she wondered, “When will it be soft like Granny’s?”  Many of the quilts she grew up with were made by my grandmother (her great-grandmother).  Those quilts, made from the 1930s through the 1950s, were soft by the time our daughter slept under them in the 1990s.  She was happy to get the quilt but was disappointed with the stiffness of new fabric.  Having learned that lesson, I subsequently backed quilts for her with minky, which is very soft from Day 1.

patchwork quilt

“Punch bugs” were popular cars when our daughter was in high school

Second, some fabrics have held up better than others, and the price of the fabric does NOT seem to be as important as other factors.  Pastels have not held their brightness well over time, and “sparkles” on some of the fabrics have worn off.  On the other hand, the car and child prints in the photo at left were inexpensive novelty prints but have held up well.

Third, and most gratifying, my work has kept the quilt intact.  There are no ripped seams, loose binding, or quilting that has come undone.  I pieced this quilt on my old faithful Bernina and quilted free-motion stars on the same machine.  (That’s when I learned that sending a quilt to a longarm quilter is worth every penny–my shoulders ached for days!)  I backed it with a sheet, which was my practice for years despite all the dire threats that sheets are inappropriate for quilt backing, and that worked out fine.

My quilting style has changed a lot since I made this quilt, and I certainly am much more technically adept now.  It was great to see that an earlier quilt has survived our daughter’s college and young adulthood intact, even if it isn’t as bright as it once was.

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