Monday, September 24, 2012

Cutter Quilts, Continued

In my last post I showed you the first cutter quilt I recently bought on eBay.  As I explained there, "cutter quilts" are old, worn-out quilts that are too damaged to be useful as a covering any longer.  The undamaged areas can be reclaimed and used to make other items.

I just finished making a few brooches from that quilt:

To find the most interesting areas from which to cut the brooch, I made a clear plastic heart-shaped template, and positioned it over areas of the quilt where several different fabrics were close together.  When I liked what I saw under the template, I traced the heart with a pencil and cut it out.  Each one is about 2 1/2" wide and tall.

The small pink heart on the above brooch was also cut from the quilt.

Each heart is backed with wool-blend felt with a pin sewn to it.

This last one is my favorite, because of the beautiful aqua-blue fabric in the center, and I love the flower (cut free-hand from three fabric scraps I found in my sewing room.)  I tried to keep these brooches sweet and simple, so the quilt would shine through.

Now, onto the second cutter quilt I bought!  I paid $25 for this one on eBay.

It's an Irish Chain pattern, and although the seller described it as "pink and white", it really is more of a rusty red and ecru.  This quilt was made by a skilled quilter; it was hand-pieced, and the quilting stitches are all small and even.  It is a really beautiful quilt, despite the large faded area in the center, the badly frayed areas of the binding, and the torn spots in the backing.  Even with those problems, I'm not sure this is a "cutter".  It might be too good to cut up.  I think I will fold it and put it where it can be seen and admired in my house.

I assume it came from an estate sale in Connecticut (where the seller lives); there was a hand-written note pinned to it that said "Quilted by Harriet May Howes Downer".

You readers left some interesting comments on my previous post.  Gill (in the UK) wondered if cutter quilts are a "U.S." thing, because this was a new idea to her; it probably is American, because we have a rich history of quilting here, and there are a lot of old, battered quilts in closets and attics.  Another reader mentioned that she has an old quilt of her grandmother's that came out of the barn!  She has been reluctant to cut it up, and I TOTALLY understand where you are coming from, Charlene.  I have no emotional attachment to these eBay quilts, but it's still hard to make the first cut!  I would encourage you to take lots of pictures of it in it's present state, and then carefully plan how you will use it before cutting it, so you can preserve as much of your grandmother's work as possible.  I know your family members would appreciate having a pillow or wall hanging or something else made from her quilt.

I have one more eBay quilt that I will show you in a future post.  It is the most interesting of the three, because it is double-sided (a pieced quilt on both front and back) AND instead of batting, it is filled with...another quilt!!  I just need to wash it before taking pictures; you can expect to see that one in a few days.


Suzy said...

Hey Ms Leslie-I was wondering if you were making your jars of hearts for people or if you just had the template available for people to use? My sister is going to be having a double mastectomy soon and I want her to have some encouragement, and immediately thought of you. If you do have your jars of hearts let me know how much they are to purchase! Thanks!!

Kay said...

Beautiful, I really adore these.

Gill said...

I love your heart brooches!
BTW I'm in England and you're right we don't seem to have any quantity of old quilts! I would love to find some but all mine are made by me!

Leslie Andersen said...

Suzy, I've sent you an email; we will definitely put together a jar of hearts for your sister.

Thanks, Kay and Gill!

Oh my goodness, Gill, I don't know why I thought you were in Australia! I will change that in the post.

Unknown said...

The thought of cutting up an antique quilt seems sacrilegious to me, but I have a beautiful quilt from my great-grandmother (who hand-carded her cotton batting!) that already has a large chunk missing (maybe due to a crafty hippie aunt). I think a really beautiful use of it would be either stuffed animals for several family members, or multiple Christmas stockings. You could also back a shadowbox with a piece, and make a collage dedicated to the quilt's creator.

Leslie Andersen said...

Lacey, I too dislike the idea of cutting up quilts and I agree that it should only be done with quilts that are so badly damaged, they are no longer useful or beautiful. I love the idea of using a piece of a quilt to back a shadow box!