It’s been eleven weeks since I wrote about an adventure buying vintage linens. Only today is this piece finished, featuring pieces of an old tablecloth found on that excursion.
This quilt has been in development since I brought that pile in the house. Growing, developing, changing. Pink is not my “go-to” color, maybe that’s why it took so long for me to hear what the fabric was saying.
I know, people have been referred for psychological help when they said their quilts talked to them. But quilts do talk. If only you are willing to listen.
Here is the conversation as this process ensued: Vintage Tablecloth (VT) and me (SG).
VT: This basket motif wants to be the centerpiece of a medallion-like wall hanging.
SG: Ok. I’ll cut one out in an irregular shape and stitch it to a background. With wool batting underneath so you rise to be noticed.
VT: What background? The green pieces from the tablecloth without holes?
SG: Ok. Done. Centered, stitched on the machine with dense machine quilting to make the embroidery pop.
VT: Oh, I’m disappointed. I’m not featured as I should be. I need accentuating.
SG: Ok. I’ll cut you out from that background and put you on something darker.
VT: How about pink? See my perky little bow, let’s do pink!
SG: Noooo, I don’t like pink too much. Let’s try something else. Let’s pick up all those other colors. Here. I like this stripe.
VT: Ok. But horizontally, no. Vertically, no. Both too plain. I’m fancy.
SG: Agreed. How about mitering the stripe so there’s some geometric interest?
VT: Yes, Mrs. G, I know you have to get that in there somewhere.
SG: Done. Now on the green.
VT: uh-uh. I want pink.
SG: Pink? I don’t like pink. I don’t even buy pink fabric. Oh, wait, here is a gradated solid. I bought a pack of these pastels (Lord, what WAS I thinking? That’s not me at all.) But it does work with the colors in the ribbon. How about a pink border around the basket on the stripe?
VT: Yes. At last you heard me. Pink. Pink. Pink.
SG: Ok. There is now a border around the basket. It’s pink. And, can I let it be raw-edged, since that is the way I applied the basket?
VT: Yes. Sure.
SG: Done. Now that is going on the green background from the original tablecloth. Good grief, how many layers is this? I guess I should cut triangles from the green and frame the center rather than continue to build thickness. More cutting and fitting and sewing. But that’s what it needs to be.
Now I need to layer the quilt. Cotton batting this time, and look, I found a pink calico for the backing.
VT: Ok, I’m done talking. Have your way with me now as you quilt. Oh, I guess you will bind me with that stripe, too; since that seems to be the only fabric you can use for a binding. But will you not make it bias this time? Let’s be a little bit subtle with it, ok?
SG: Good idea. Especially since I’ve used almost all of the stripe and it will have a jillion seams anyway. But I’ll place the stripes perpendicular to the edge.
Quilting is done. I repeated the bow motif from the original basket. I drew a replica, resized, marked it on corners of quilt, and stitched with heavy pink thread. I quilted the remainder using a matching fine thread (silk) so the emphasis is on the texture, not the stitch.
VT: Your quilting worked out nicely. But now the center stripe is a bit puffy. Can you get it to settle down a bit?
SG: Sure. I’ll do the seed stitch with a matching thread. But it makes a mess on the back.
VT: Find something pink. You use vintage linens for the labels anyway. Just find one large enough to cover that center square.
SG: I agree that it needs to be pink. I don’t have any vintage pink stuff (nor pink dye). I don’t DO pink. But, you are right – any other color will be too high contrast. It is the back, after all.
VT: So, wait. You don’t have to finish today. Wait until you find the right thing.
SG: Oh, WOW. I saw this pink linen handkerchief at an antique mall. With lace. It was $3. More than I normally pay for a hankie to stitch on as a label. But I thought of you and bought it.
VT: Good girl. I’m worth it.
SG: Done. Label attached with seed stitch that just goes through to the batting. Sleeve attached the same way. You aren’t square, close though. (16” x 17″). And you speak “pink”