This Double X quilt started out as a flimsie I purchased on EBay. It did not look too bad when I saw the tiny photo online, but when the packaged arrived I was rather dismayed when I saw the quilt. It had holes where seams had frayed in the wash, stains from tiny four footed night-scurriers, childishly large hand stitching and the piecing was significantly challenged. Big sigh.
I liked the blocks, but the setting strips and cornerstones left something to be desired. On closer examination, I determined that the blocks had been hand pieced by one quilter and the sashing and borders were added at a later date by machine, likely by a different quilter. This is what it looked like:
Embarrassed that I had purchased such an awful quilt top, I put it out of sight in a sewing room cupboard for several years. Since retirement, I have been committed to clearing all UFOs off my conscience, so I pulled it back out of hiding and began to work on the rescue process.
Since I liked the blocks, I set to work separating them from the rest of the quilt. Once reclaimed, I repaired seams, reinforced stitching, stabilized bias edges, squared up blocks and eventually discarded two blocks that were beyond repair. The remaining blocks were heavily starched and pressed and then had green coping strips added to each side. Then I squared all of the blocks to a consistent size.
Working with blocks that are true and square makes everything else so much easier in the quilting process. From that point, it was straightforward to add the red sashing and cornerstones and then to apply the navy border. I chose fabrics with an antique feel that echoed the old fabrics of the Double X blocks.
I chose a Warm and Natural batting because I wanted it to shrink and crinkle up like a well loved antique quilt. Warm and Natural shrinks about 3%, so after the first wash, it will achieve exactly the look I want. The quilting design is Jacobean by Anne Bright. I have quilted quite densely over the quilt for two reasons – to mimic an old fashioned quilt and also to give extra security to the hand stitched seams of the blocks. On top, the thread is Superior So Fine in a Dark Olive colour with Superior Bottom Line in the bobbin.
The red binding is applied to the front and stitched to the back with a tiny blanket stitch using Superior MonoPoly. I hand stitched the corner miters both front and back.
All in all, I am quite pleased with the results of my quilt rescue efforts. However, I have sworn off buying any more quilt tops on EBay. I still have three remaining tops from that imprudent buying foray. I am forcing myself to finish them all so that I will be thoroughly inoculated against impulsive EBay purchases! As one wise quilter told me…”There is usually a reason why some quilts are left unfinished.” How true. Unfortunately, some of us learn our lessons the hard way! I derive comfort from the saying that “Life is a series of lessons. You keep repeating the lesson until you get it.” My consolation is that lessons learned the hard way rarely need repeating. (Grin!)