101 Patchwork Patterns Designs Worth Doing
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Ruby Short McKim

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WE HAVE carried our story of quilt information through several chapters to help you decide on material, and patterns for piecing and quilting. We have told you how to cut and make up the blocks, and fit them together into a top. That is as far as most modern quilt makers care to go. It is usually the wisest thing here to call upon a professional quilter or your church "aid society" to complete the task—especially if you are inexperienced and the quilt top handsome. It is customary for the owner to furnish lining, cotton bat and thread. Usually the workers mark and quilt them, charging varying amounts in different localities and dependent on the local demand for such work, skill of quilting and the simplicity or elaborateness of designs used. We have known quilters to charge as little as 75 cents for a spool or as much as $5.00. This charge is based on the staple 100-yard spool. Number 50 white is the standard for ordinary materials, although some prefer number 60 or even 70 thread for use on fine cloth such as light satines.

Quilters always have their own collection of quilting patterns from which they evolve the right fill-in for every space, block patterns, borders, and little leaves, hearts or flowers for too wide spaced corners. However, many women of today with their artistic tendencies are using perforated patterns to stamp their own, rather than trust this most important part to the vagaries and whims of some dear old lady who marks out according to the same ideas she has had on all the quilts she has ever done. Besides, it is quite possible to get quilters who can quilt, but will not attempt the marking out. You see that part is apt to be a monopoly in the aid society. Sister Markham does all of that with a high hand and flourish, while the timid Sewell sisters quilt to perfection, but daren't trust their hands at the "art part." Remember that the section quilted around stands up, while the stitched part is held close. For instance in the Lone Star, we quilt on each tiny white diamond, and each colored diamond between puffs up.

Maybe this should be "compartment" quilting, but still it was originated for the woman who lives in tiny rooms, efficiency all over, even to finishing her full-sized quilt therein, to its last lovely stitch. This may be done in an apartment that can't accommodate a large picture frame, to say nothing of quilting frames! One young thing wrote, "We even have collapsible tooth brushes, and yet, I am quilting mine own quilt."

The secret is this, quilt the blocks separately then set them together—a "makeshift," says grandmother with a sniff, "about as backwards as pickin' a chicken after it's baked." But oh, the modern methods we love, the jolly substitutions and short cuts that leave us time and energy for recreations like quilt making. So after the blocks are pieced, and the plain squares stamped for quilting we may cut a back and interlining the same size. Spread them smoothly on a table and baste around and through rather firmly. Then you may quilt them on the table, or on your lap, taking even stitches which go through the entire thickness. Some quilt a fourth of the quilt this way, or eighths, or single blocks. The quilted sections are joined by sewing top parts with a running stitch on the wrong side. Then smooth the interlinings of cotton to overlap about 1/4 inch, and sew back sections together with a blind stitch. The quilting is then continued along the join line.
Bias tape in white or a color may be used to cover all seams on the back, making a pattern of squares over it all.

The authentic way to quilt is to have a large frame into which the whole coverlet is stretched. The frame itself is so simply constructed that every household used to have its own. Four smoothed pine strips 2 inches wide by 3/4 inch or 1 inch thick are cut in two lengths. Two long ones are possibly 9 feet long while the width pair may be 90 inches or only four feet. This half width frame means that you can put only half of the quilt in at a time; it saves room, but may sacrifice some in quilting smoothness. Round pieces are excellent for these side pieces, especially when there are accompanying uprights with holes bored to fit which makes the frame rather like a table. Clamps are preferred to bolts for holding the corners securely.

The side bars of the quilting frames should have a fold of ticking or heavy muslin closely tacked their entire length. Pin or baste the quilt lining to these so it will not sag during the days of work to come, one side to each bar. If using the narrow width frame, roll up the extra length at one end; stretch and secure the corners firmly. A lining is better cut several inches larger than the quilts' top as it may become frayed during this part of its useful history. Next the cotton bat is carefully unfolded and spread, and the top placed even more gently over this. Its edges are basted to the edge of the lining at the sides with perhaps a pinned on strip to wrap over the end for perfect smoothness. This is a step which requires precision, and discouragingly shows up any undue fullness or tightness that has occurred in your piecing. However, puffs will quilt down considerably. We saw a "Lone Star" that breezed up like a circus tent, quilt down to satisfaction.

Telling you how to quilt is almost as impossible to write in words as to describe an accordion without moving your hands. One quilter says use a short needle, another holds out for a long needle, nicely curved! After trying it and observing experts it seems to me that the trick is in sewing clear around and back again like your hand could roll about the small curved units, sort of a standing on your head effect. Aye, this is the rub that may keep the quilts of today from really rivaling the ones of yester-year. It is difficult to take small, even stitches, through three thicknesses, especially as one of these is rather heavy cotton. But the running stitches must be even, must go clear through each time, and should be small. The position is rather awkward and tiring to one unaccustomed in the art. The left hand is held under the work, although sometimes it is the right hand under, as many expert quilters get ambi-dextrous. While some can quilt around and towards themselves, decidedly right-handed folks fasten the thread oftener, and always work from right to left.

No matter how beautifully you tat, embroider, play the mandolin or paint china—your first quilting will not be expert; this takes much experience and the novice cannot hope to acquire speed or perfection on her first quilt.

If you try quilting continuously for several hours your fingers are apt to become very sore. A remedy for this is to dip them in hot alum water which toughens the membrane. Thread pulled across the upper side of the right little finger often causes a blister. One way to avoid this is to wear a rubber stall over your finger, which protects it from blisters and bruises. One can only reach about a foot over the side of the frame. When you have finished some twelve inches roll up the quilt. Another section is then unrolled. This quilting and rolling and unrolling is continued until the quilt is finished.

It is then taken from the frame and usually the edges bound with a bias band of material, either white or of the predominating color used in the quilt. This binding should be cut about an inch or an inch and a half wide. It is usually machine stitched on one side of the quilt then turned over and whipped down with small stitches.



101 Patchwork Patterns

101 Patchwork Patterns
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