....and I have the scars to prove it!
I spent a few hours last night with my feet up, stitch ripper in hand, and the Monday night back to back episodes of Blue Bloods on TV. I finally finished the mammoth task of removing the former quilting stitches.
My next step will be to remove the stray threads on the quilt top. The batting and backing have been discarded. I cut them off in chunks as I went in order to have less bulk. And honestly, it also helped me see how far I had to go. I was thrilled to see a placemat size area last night with about another hour to go. That spurred me on to finish last night.
One I get the stray threads removed, I will be adding some new borders to make the quilt wider. It doesn't have quite enough 'drop' on the sides. I won't lengthen it as we don't like the over the pillow tuck. We like the quilt to the headboard under the pillows.
I made some interesting discoveries along the way:
1. I decided I don't like wool batting for quilts. At least on this quilt, I found that once it was washed for the first time many moons ago, it crinkled way too much for my liking. It seemed to almost shrink the quilt. I do love that crinkled antique look but this was really crinkly...too much. The indentation of the stitches is significant and I'm really hoping to flatten the quilt top with enough pressing to erase the previous stitches. Wish me luck!
2. I was surprised by the fact that the quilt seemed slightly soiled. I have washed it plenty and it hasn't been on the bed that much. (I rotate them seasonally) So there was something about either the detergent I used or that it wasn't rinsed well and had soap residue on it or I put it away before washing it for storage. Either way, I will be using the laundry stripping technique with borax and washing soda after it is quilted. It needs freshening.
3. Sadly, I found a few spots where I created a hole by being overly aggressive with the stitch ripper. There was no stitch regular used by the quilter and in some spots the stitch length is large and easily removed, but in other spots the stitches are really tight and hard to remove. I will go over the whole quilt to see if block repairs are needed.
When I look at this quilt from a distance it makes my heart sing and I know I made the right decision to restore it. I loved it when I made it, and I love it now. I was just sad to see the stitches breaking all over the quilt and have no regrets on my decision to unpick it and redo the quilting. In my books, this is an heirloom quilt to be handed down.
I almost forgot to mention that this quilt pattern is called Carolina Christmas. It was a Bonnie Hunter-Quiltville free winter mystery from 2009 and can now be found in her book, Scraps & Shirttaiils II. I modified it slightly by adding sashing strips and I did a plain border.
I am hoping to get the next stage of the quilt restoration done soon so I can get this quilt onto my Millie and finish it off with a pantograph yet to be decided upon. Check back soon!
Until next time,