wool quilt

Why do I call this my wool quilt?

it is made of cotton scraps and is a kaleidoscope of many colored scrap stars whirling around a white hexagons framed by red diamonds. The scraps are wonderful bits of history cut from fabrics that date back to the 1920 according to the lady at the quilt store. I love all the old prints and every time I look at this quilt I pick out a new favorite. There is a yellow star with soldier’s camp and airplanes circling printed on it …..

…… bunnies and monkeys marching off to war……

hmm the bunnies look very angry and mean –I wouldn’t want to mess with them or their cannons..

.. check out  the crackerjack sailors heading for the high seas….…..adorable scottie puppies(I bet they don’t resist getting groomed like some dogs I know)…..

all jumbled together with flower prints and what not –– probable left overs from dresses and curtains.

This quilt is amazingly intricate with a keen eye for detail– the lady who made this carefully pieced her stars together by hand with tiny careful stitches.

Plaids and stripes  are sprinkled in among the flowers andare pieced together so that the pattern lines up within the star making a design within the design.

It is a crazy scrappy quilt that has a lot of order to it.I found the quilt at an estate sale. At first glance it didn’t seem to be my kind of sale. It was mostly the remains of a man’s workshop. Jars of nuts and bolt collected over the years. Odd and ends tools mismatched and worn out. A few X-mas decorations and empty bottles that used to hold booze or avon aftershave that were shaped like Elvis Presley or an old car. There was an an old ab machine and one of those wheels you crouch on the floor with to wittle down your waist.

But back to the quilt — it was carefully folded and stuck on a hanger — in between some old work clothes on a rack. I picked it up to look at and the lady running the cash box immediately asked if I was interested. I was non-commital and said ….maybe. The colors were dull and the cloth smelled like motor oil and the red didn’t seem like my style(not that I have much style). Eager to make a sale I was told that we could work on the price. So I laid it on the table for her to save for me and told her I would decide when I finished looking at everything else. I found a couple of old wood ironing board and some old knitting needles that I knew

I could use when I heard a voice in the front telling the sale lady that all she was looking for was quilts and her eye fell on the one that I left by the table but she was told there was only one and  someone else was taking that one.

So I went back and looked one more time and something told me just take it so I took the quilt and didn’t dicker on the price…paid the full $15 and I grabbed the 2 ironing boards, knitting needles and one bowl of nuts and bolts(I wanted the bowl) and my ‘new’ old quilt. A young girl helped me carry my purchases to the car and she told me that they were selling the things because granny was moving into the nursing home. I wished now that I had found out more about the quilt –the girl didn’t know if her granny had made it or if it was an older relative.

As I drove home I wondered what had possessed me to buy this unfinished top .. my car was smelling like motor oil ..and the red really wasn’t my thing. Did I jump into the deal just because someone else looked at it? But then I glanced at the inside seams and saw all the tiny stitches and knew that this quilt wanted to come home with me.  That it some how knew that I would appreciate all the time that had gone into it and that I would sandwich it with batting and a back and use the quilt for what it was intended for.

The first thing I did when a I got home was look the quilt over to make sure there were no spots that needed repair  and then I filled the wash tub with lukewarm water and a mild soap solution. I washed and rinsed it by hand and by washed I mean I soaked it and gently swished it in the water. I was lucky none of the dyes ran. And although the water changed from a dirty brown to nice and clear after several rinses but  the quilt still smelled like machine oil. I washed and rinsed  and added baking soda to the soap solution. Each time drying the quilt on a clothes line under the deck. But I could still smell motor oil. Finally I mixed just a little borax to the mild soap solution and that did the trick. Now when I sniffed at the quilt it smelled clean and fresh like sunshine and the colors were not dingy anymore.

Next I had to decide how to finish my quilt. I took it into a quilt store and they looked it over and suggested muslin for the back and told me it would have to be handquilted not machine quilted because the fabrics would be ruined with a machine. They knew a group that could hand quilt it for me but there was a long waiting list. The second choice was to tie the quilt and that I knew I could do myself. They also told me that they knew a buyer if I wanted to sell. But I was becoming attached to this quilt and took it back home with me. I had  some light brown cotton to use for the back but I  wanted to use a batt that would be appropriate for this old top. When I drove out to the estate sale I drove past farms that raised sheep and decided that a wool batt would be fitting for this top…so finally you find out why I call it a wool quilt…..wool was the perfect choice it makes the quilt nice and fluffy and light and it is so warm on even the coldest night.  I am not a hand quilter so  I stitched the edge with my treadle sewing machine- now I didn’t do a great job at this and someday I might redo the back and the edge but for now it serves the purpose–which is keeping us warm on cold winter nights.

Since finding this vintage hand pieced quilt I have found 2 more- or should I say they have found me–thats what the ladies at the quilt store think. They think these quilts call out to me to find them so they can go to a home where they will be finished  and used and loved. So this is the story of my Wool(cotton) quilt and if you ever come for a visit in the middle of our cold Wisconsin winter you might find  my ‘Wool’ quilt on your bed to snuggle under and keep warm.  I think my quilt was quite a bargain–even after finishing I don’t think I spent $45 and it turns out red and wild is my thing after all.

whew! a long winded post about quilting — I hope you don’t mind. I am knitting away  on a test pattern but will post some pictures of toys I am knitting for fun soon. And Alice and I are still working on 2 patterns. And I have some ideas for a give away in July to go with some charity knitting.


  1. Ashley W said,

    June 23, 2012 at 3:00 am

    This quilt is gorgeous – thanks so much for sharing its story. I’ve always admired quilting (and have a huge pile of blue jeans that I keep meaning to turn into one), but I really don’t think that it’s something I will do for many years. I need space to set up a sewing machine first…

    • whatzitknitz said,

      June 29, 2012 at 12:42 pm

      I hope you find the time and space to set up your sewing machine. A jean quilt would be lovely!

  2. That ninch! said,

    June 26, 2012 at 7:35 pm

    I agree with Ashley W—this quilt is gorgeous. I don’t know if you know, but the design is called Texas Star, and is a wonderful design to hand piece. Go you for rescuing it and bringing it back to life! :- )
    À bi!

    • whatzitknitz said,

      June 29, 2012 at 12:47 pm

      I didn’t know it was called Texas Star. It is a wonderful pattern and I could see where the stars would be quite addictive to stitch — kind of the way I wanted to knit one more hexagon when I was making a blanket out of sock yarn. suddenly I had a 100 little hexes ready to stitch together.

  3. baamekniits said,

    June 28, 2012 at 12:15 am

    Wow what a quilt. Imagine all the hours that went into hand piecing it all and then your extra hours on top of that to finish it off. Its a beautiful quilt!

    • whatzitknitz said,

      June 29, 2012 at 12:50 pm

      It is so beautiful and the tiny stitches on the back were just perfect. It’s funny I can’t imagine sitting down to hand stitch a quilt top but I can sit for hours knitting hundreds of stitches to make a sweater ; )

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