Sunday, September 11, 2016

Simpler Times - Photos from My Grandmother's Album

I am happy to report that my crazy quilt featuring photos from 1904 - 1907 is finished and ready to hang in the Herring Run Quilters' Guild show this coming weekend.  This project has truly been a labor of love for me. Though I never met my grandmother, I smile when I see the fun that she had as a young woman at the turn of the last century. The photos in her album were taken in Togus, Maine; Center Harbor, New Hampshire; and the Boston area.  [You my click on the photo to see a larger version.]

Once I had the twelve blocks arranged and stitched together I faced a dilemma. Crazy quilts don't call for regular batting, but rather a false back is applied. Though I have a small library of crazy quilting books, none seemed to address the steps to finishing a crazy quilt.  I was lucky to find just such a tutorial  on Allie Aller's blog Allie's in Stitches.  

At this point, you may or may not wish to continue reading as I want to record the steps that I took for future reference since I didn't exactly follow all of her directions.  The first step was to fuse a light weight stabilizer to the back of the top. (Whenever I did any pressing, I would put the quilt face down on a fluffy towel to prevent flattening out any of the embellishments; for example, the tiny satin ribbon roses.) Step two was to attach a "batting," or in this case a piece of drapery lining. I don't think I purchased the type that she talked about in her post as she mentioned it being "spongy" while the drapery lining I found was more like a thin flannel. Since I didn't want to use pins which might have created tiny holes in the satin pieces on the front, I simple cut long strips of misty fuse to temporarily hold the batting in place. Next, I did do the rows of hand basting all across the piece about an inch or more apart. This took some times, as per her note, it was important to check each individual stitch to be sure it didn't show on the front side. Whew! 

A layer of stabilizer was also applied to the backing piece. Then I sewed six tiny buttons on the back to help hold all the layers together making sure that the stitches were buried in the seams at the intersections on the front.

After sewing on the binding and the sleeve, I stitched a copy of my grandparents' marriage certificate onto the back. I also sewed three tiny enamel buttons from my grandmother's trousseau onto the label.

With all of the stabilizer used, the piece hangs very well, and I'm glad I thought to use the Misty Fuse instead of risking any pinholes on the front.

If you would like to see this piece in person, please come to the Herring Run Quilters' Guild  show this coming weekend, September 17 and 18th at the Norwell Middle School in Norwell, MA. There will be over 200 quilts on display along with a number of vendors.

Please do come; quilter or not,  I know you will enjoy it.


  1. What a beautiful and elegant piece! I hadn't thought about how to finish a crazy quilt so appreciated your notes on that.

  2. The button you used for your label is truly special! Thanks for you the information about how you finished this piece. I was wondering how you were going to manage getting a back on it!--Terry

  3. It is beautiful and it shows how much love you put into it. Wish I could see it in person. I've done a crazy quilt so hadn't even thought about the backing. Thank you for the information on how you did it. It's perfect.