Old Meets New
This really is the story of old meeting new in so many ways. We met Beth the old fashion way, a referral, however it was through Next Door, an app used for referrals. It came to us through my niece's husband who saw her request for a quilter and passed it on to us. He texted it to us while we were in Texas visiting our next generation. The beauty of today's technology!
We called Beth and found out she had an "old piece", so I thought 30 years old, 50 years old. When she and her dad brought it in, we were blown away. We're talking over 100 years old!!! Beth's step great great grandmother (yes, that's two greats!) hand pieced this in West Virginia! Ruth Meach made this around 1908 to 1910, prior to her passing in 1911. In keeping with the age of the fabric, modern day muslin was the best choice to back and bind the quilt. It isn't a true white and has the soft feel of worn fabric. As the cover photo and photo below shows, it blended nicely with Ruth's top.
Ruth's workmanship was so precise! Below you can see how exact she made her seams and the thickness of the thread (almost a string). I trimmed it to bind and below right is all that was excess. Incredible! She cut, sewed, and pieced this without the modern conveniences of rotary cutters, marked mats, rulers, sewing machine, etc. Amazing!
Beth treasures her family history and will put the remnants from trimming the quilt in a shadow box. She also decided to put the family lineage on the back of the quilt so her son will know not only where this quilt came from but a little bit of where he came from as well.
While seeing something this 115+ year old treasure on our brand new long arm was exciting, it really pleased us that the top wasn't stressed by the Statler's quilting technique. When quilts are put in the traditional frame, both the back and top are pulled very taut. Our machine has the back secured tightly as well as the batting, but we basted the top so it was in place, but not pulled so tightly that we had to worry about damaging the top during the quilting process.
Beth was excited to be part of the design process for the quilting and worked with us to consider several suggestions. As is often the case, you begin going in one direction, but end up heading in an entirely different direction to reach a destination that's just perfect. In this case, their family crest. We designed this on the software that came with the long arm to be one continuous stitching motion - the only way the machine can stitch a design. Here we met Ruth with our patience and perseverance as it took many hours to create the crest!! Beth asked for a copy of the video demonstrating the stitching path in hopes of peaking her son's interest in their heritage a little more. Below is a photo of their family coat of arms adapted for quilting.
We have so many photos of this project. Because, as many of you know who have stopped by, we just loved every aspect of finishing this quilt. I think my favourite photo of all is Beth seeing it finished for the first time. It was evident how much this means to her. And this is why we quilt!
It was such an honour to finish the quilt so many years after Ruth made it and we doubt we will ever come across such a treasure again.
Thank you, Beth, for trusting The Gentleman Quilter to finish your quilt!!