Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Quilt Repair: One Man's Opinion

I had some one stop by the store last week with a worn out quilt. They wanted advice on the best way to repair it. So naturally I though it would make a good blog post as it is not an unusual question. The best advice for repairing a worn out quilt actually comes from a Jewish carpenter who made himself a name a few years back gallivanting around with a couple of fishermen.

He said: "No man putteth a piece of new cloth unto an old garment, for that which is put in to fill it up taketh from the garment, and the rent is made worse."

By rent he means tear, not the monthly bill. So I have to second the opinion. If the tears in your quilt are a result of worn fabric I would not advise repair, a worn out binding is a different matter and can be easily replaced. If the tears in the quilt are the result of something like a dog chewing it or a vindictive ex-wife, those can actually be repaired without a problem and the quilt can go on to live a long happy life.

Now I know the next question you are gonna ask is: "What do I do with a worn out quilt?" but before I address that let me tell you how to avoid a worn out quilt. The quilt that inspired this weeks blog was only 15 to 20 years old. It had been well used, but the real source of its demise was the fabric it was made from. I have a 15 year old quilt that I love but can't use because it was made before my mother became a fabric snob. There is a reason decent quilting fabric costs $10+ a yard. Eddie's favorite "blanket" gets washed at least once a month and has more miles on it than my '74 VW. It is going on 10 years old (he stole it from his older sister). That quilt was made post fabric snob. The thing is faded in a few spots and stained in others, but there are no holes worn in it. So remember you get what you pay for.

Now back to the original question. What do I do with it now? Cut it, frame it, and hang it. This works good with worn out quilts, or even your dead aunt's collection of unfinished quilt blocks. Cut your old quilt or half finished inheritance small enough to fit into a picture frame and turn it into art. Make 4 or 5 pieces out of one quilt and artistically arrange them for an even more sophisticated effect. A quilt cut up in a picture frame is still better than collecting dust in the attic. A quilt was made to be used and appreciated, not squandered and forgotten.