Tuesday, August 16, 2016

A Rescued Quilt, Repaired and Cozy

 In my last post, I told you about the nine old quilts given to me by a friend.  I said I'd be showing you those quilts as time goes by.  I figure it will take years, should I live long enough (and IF possible to repair them!) but this one needed the least repair, so is the first to be repaired and I have to say....it is a lovely thing to have.  It's kind of homely, really, but if you are a 'tactile person'...then you'd know exactly why I'd say it is a lovely thing to have.  After washing it several times...and then, patching it...well, 

nothing would do, until I spent a little time wrapped up in it.  It is soft as a cloud and now smells so nice....it's cozy as a quilt could be!  It's irresistible!  And, once you take a good look at it....well, beauty IS in the eye of the beholder....so it has become beautiful to me!

 Something you might want to know about this quilt is....it isn't flannel!  I thought so at first, but on second look....no, it's not...I expect it is made from old clothes. Here and there, you can see where I stitched up the holes.  Thinking it wouldn't be much better looking patched, I just stitched up the holes and with each one I closed up, my fondness for the quilt grew.

 The backing is made from a really soft supple fabric...not a quilt cotton kind of fabric...it feels divine.  You can see a little mending job right there....

 I believe this quilt was made just to keep warm....like they used to do....before we became spoiled with an excess of fabric to purchase and make our 'special' quilts from.  


 and then, mended again and again....I think there are about fifteen mended places on this quilt now.
And, I have to say....I have wrapped up in it just about every evening since the mending was done.
So, it has been rescued and repaired....becoming one of my favorite quilts in the house.  It lives not too far from my tv....providing a little cozy comfort each evening.

My idea of being cozy is wrapping myself in a soft hand stitched quilt while reading a good book or watching my favorite British mysteries on Netflix.  How lucky am I to have received this old quilt, been able to repair it, and then enjoy it each night.  Now, to continue on to the rest of the nine!!

 Speaking of being cozy....here's where I'm headed right now....to bed, to wrap up in the quilt I made so long ago...with a wonderful book to read.  Cozy....yes, indeed!

Bird Nest Cottage
until next time

Wednesday, August 3, 2016


There is a local woman in town I've known casually for many years.  We run into each other once in a great while, have a brief conversation...then go about our lives.  Each time I see her, she mentions that she has quilts she'd like to give me.  This has gone on for many years.  MANY.  In January of this year, I ran into her in WallyWorld and once again, she mentioned the quilts.  In March, she called mid-morning one day and asked if I would be home and could she stop by.  "Of course," I said.  She showed up about half an hour later....on her way to get her hair cut.  We chatted a while and then she went out to get the quilts.  It seems she had inherited these quilts, not really knowing who had made them, and no one in her family wanted them, so for years thought she'd give them to me.
As she said, "at eighty-two years of age," she had finally "made up her mind to give them to me." She thought if I accepted them, it would remove the burden of what she should do with them.  This had been weighing on her mind for a long time.  She apologized that they had been slept on for years by her three dogs and two cats.  So, you can imagine what condition they were in.  I had been telling her for years that I would take them, so I wasn't about to hurt her feelings and turn them down.  I mean, she was depending on me to "do something."  She also told me that some of them would not survive washing.  This turns out to be more of less true.    I did wash all but one.  It was in such bad repair that I knew all I'd get from washing it was a washer filled with bits of pieces of fabric and lots of batting turned into stuffing.  She had also told me to do whatever I wished with them, including throwing them out, as she just felt better finally getting them to me!  Well, even at the worst, I knew they could be rescued in some way...even if none could be kept intact.  And, there were NINE altogether.  I had no idea of how many quilts she had wanted to give me for all those years.

So, each of them has now been washed at least twice (one at a time), with a good soaking overnight each time.  This took most of the month!  

There was one that could be used with just a bit of patching.  Three that can be rescued with a fair amount of work.  There are four I believe I can save pieces of and then, there is that one I'm just not sure can be saved at all, but I will try.

Over time, I will show you these quilts.  

So, for today, here is the first one I am trying to rescue.  Rescue is a loose term here, as at best, only a few blocks and some pieces of blocks will survive the hard life they have lived.  I chose this one to begin with, as I could tell right away, it has a blanket in it rather than batting.  The layers are only lightly quilted, so it isn't taking a long time to pick these blocks apart and I intend to use what few whole blocks I can rescue in a small quilt, if possible.  The remaining tattered blocks I will use for some mixed media uses, as this is something I have wanted to do for a long time.  As a matter of fact, I have purchased several old quilts...in "cutter quilt" condition, just for that use.

I am doing this 'picking apart' in the garage on the great worktable that the old navy man made for me, so as you can see....these photos were taken there.  It wasn't too bad out there this morning, but it gets too hot as the day goes on.  I'll show you what happens to this quilt, at some point, but thought you'd like the STORY.


As you can see...it's in pretty bad shape.  A shame really, but what happens in 'real life' to some quilts.
I feel bad about it, but all I can do is what we are supposed to do in life....."pick up the pieces and carry on!"

 See the blanket?

The backing of the quilt, patched with another fabric along some edges.

 There is no binding, both front and back turned in and then whip stitched together.

So there you are...the story of the nine quilts coming to me for rescue.  
Oh, my goodness!  

Bird Nest Cottage
until next time,

Sunday, June 26, 2016


Here is PART TWO of my post on Brian Haggard's new book "The Crazy Haberdashers's Inspiring Life."

In this book, he is telling stories through his embroidery.  One of the stories is about how an antique Log Cabin Quilt became a chapter not only in MY life, but in HIS also and really, you can't make this stuff up!  (And, this is the long version!)

 Several years ago, I found this antique Log Cabin quilt at one of the local flea markets.  It was in various stages of decline and when I first saw it, I figured it didn't have a lot of life left in it.  I walked around the store and eventually went back to it, thinking it was so beautiful that no matter what condition it was in....I could just look at it and enjoy it for however long it would last.  It's ancient.
And, falling apart.  And, so beautiful.  It was $6.00. 

 I brought it home.  I had it hanging on the wall for a while.  Then, I folded it up and put it away.  Every once in a while, I'd take it out and try to figure out what to do with it.  I posted on my blog that I was thinking about cutting it up and making other things from it.  Boy, people don't mind telling you that would be sinful.  Really? 

So, I put it away again, but kept thinking about how to rescue it's good parts.

Here you can see the condition it was in.  This Log Cabin is done in the Court House Steps pattern, but on two sides were blocks in the Pineapple pattern.  I'm sure it had something to do with how much fabric was available...something like that, but these days, no matter what, I'm sure we would call it a 'design decision.'

And here.

There are some parts in pretty good condition, considering. 

So, figuring out what to do with it was on my mind all the time.  While all this was going on, I became acquainted with Brian Haggard.  I had purchased his first book and was an instant fan of his.  We had many phone conversations.  Last year, he and his partner, Kevin, came for a visit.  While we sat around my dining room table (along with my friend, Jim G.), I quietly made up my mind that Brian was going to get half my Log Cabin Quilt.  As easy as that.  Before they left (which was entirely too soon!!), I handed Brian a pair of scissors and asked him to cut the quilt in half.  He was to take half and leave me half.

I have not regretted that decision at all.  

A little time passed and Brian shared a photo with me of a small quilt he had made from that Log Cabin.  Having cleaned it and repaired it a bit....it received a new life.  Next, he told me of other things he had made from parts of the quilt.   I was just amazed.

Then, lo and behold, he says he is doing a quilt book that will be published in France and in it will be something made from that quilt that he had decided to do "in tribute" to my husband, Richard, affectionately called the "old navy man" to all of us.  A name he gave himself, years ago, and which family and friends call him to this day.  He is know by that name on my blog.  If you read my posts very often, you will have heard it many times.  

Well, I hadn't SEEN this tribute, but after the book people came to Brian's home to make photographs, he sent it to me.  And, I was blown completely away.  A big box arrived and in it was an embroidered piece beautifully displayed in a glass case (which I have called a cabinet, I don't know why).  I was so touched.  Brian had never met the old navy man, but you'd never know it.  It
is very sentimental and very touching.  I cried, of course. 

 A page from the book....
 Here is the small quilt Brian made by rejuvenating pieces of the Log Cabin quilt.  Being used this time as a table cover....beautifully, of course.

 And, here is another, beneath one of his original quilts.
I'd say he did give new life to that quilt just by these small quilts.
But wait....not only is Brian full of talent...but he is also full of enthusiasm.
Knowing that about him, I knew he would use every single little piece of that quilt.  And, he sure did!

 So, here is the section of the book containing the story and the photos of the old navy man's tribute by my friend, Brian.  I consider it an heirloom.

 This is a page from the book...where you can see the 'cabinet' and also tell that there is a Log Cabin Quilt square in it.  More to come regarding that.....

What I didn't know was that Brian also made a Heart for me.  Yes, the entire world knows I love HEARTS!    He took one of the blocks and made this beautiful heart....Embroidered with the word "Friends" and some other stitching.  Ribbons, that adorable clock button in the center and, how did he know....I've wanted one of those Frozen Charlottes for quite a while.  One of my favorite parts...the covered button, using a very tiny fragment of the quilt scraps to make a very attractive way to hang the heart.  Brian loves details and I do too!!!  Another heirloom and to me, a TREASURE!

Here is the page telling about the heart.  The pattern is in the book too.  I think I'm going to make one.  Just so I can try it myself.   Maybe I'll make two....one to keep, one to give away.
 With pieces from that very well loved ancient quilt!


So, now I want to show you where the embroidered tribute that Brian made is....it's right here, in my bedroom/studio.  There in the corner is where I knew it would go.  The old navy man's ashes are in that box.  His request was for me to find an old box and 'fix it up' for his ashes.  There is a story behind that which I may or may not tell at some point.  Depends on whether you want to hear it or not.  Let me know, if so.   I have been happy to see how many people visiting my home actually want to know the story...I love that and he would have loved it also. ♥

 Here you can see the 'cabinet' opened....because of the glare from the light.  It is a very special tribute made for a special person by a special person.  I love it!

 This is so hard to see....but it looks great in the book!  Not only is it a very thoughtful piece of work, but it's also very tactile...being a very delicate and ancient piece of cloth and thread...I do touch it now and again!

Click to see these larger, if you haven't already.  Sure makes a difference.  Isn't this just the most thoughtful, generous thing a person could do?

 And, now you see why I have a special connection to the book and to it's author.
The old navy man would love this embroidered tribute, and would have been overwhelmed by the thought and care Brian gave to honor him.  And, not to even mention.....all this in a book, written by a man he never met....and published in France.  He would be thrilled. 

 So, now, you are going to ask...what have I done with my half? 

 Ah....well, not one thing, but I do realize now that I have to at least have a wall hanging out of it...plus...well....maybe a few things to share.  Many new lives still to come for that quilt.  Who knew?  I think, in this case, cutting the quilt in half was a wonderful thing.  Spreading the love of making that quilt into beautiful things to be loved by many more people...just multiplies the love, right?  Now, how could that be wrong?  I often wonder about the person who made this quilt, lo, those many decades ago.  He or she could be having a nice conversation right now with the old navy man about how we have all been touched by it in one way or another.
Me, I have that lovely embroidery to remember a special person by, I still have half of the quilt....and I've made a lovely new friend for life too.  It just can't get any better than that!!!


(Remember, ordering information is in my previous post!)

 Bird Nest Cottage
 until next time

The Bird Nest on the Ground Studio

The Bird Nest on the Ground Studio
Right in My Backyard

A Bit of Heaven

A Bit of Heaven
An original designed wall quilt with my vision of heaven on earth.