Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Cutter quilts: New life for old quilts beyond repair?

I want to share with you an interesting concept in the world of quilting. It is called a "cutter quilt."

A cutter quilt is a portion, or a "cut" of a quilt that is no longer able to be salvaged, saved, repaired, or restored. In essence, there is nothing else that you can do with the quilt--at least in its current, uncut form. It thus gets cut into pieces, discarding those sections that are irreparable, and keeping the pieces that are still in decent condition. Cutter quilts are commonly portions of antique or vintage quilts that are so badly damaged, they might be in shreds in some portions. Yet, these quilts may have sections that are still in good enough condition to be saved and used and even repurposed. Some cutter quilts find a new life as doll quilts, table toppers, wall hangings, Christmas stockings, just to name a few. You might even be fortunate enough to find an entire quilt that is being sold as a cutter due to threadbare portions of the quilt, leaving you the opportunity to cut the quilt yourself.

Hence the birth of the cutter quilt. A cutter quilt, besides taking a textile that is no longer usable and making it usable, also has an interesting tale about its maker and the materials she had available to her. For example, many cutters of antique quilts have scraps of fabric from ties and feed sacks, for example. Some have wool batting, indicating perhaps a flock of sheep was being kept by the family, or perhaps by a neighbor. Some are fairly heavy, even for a cutter quilt (after all, the quilt would have been used in unheated homes, where the temperature inside the house could easily fall below freezing during the winter).

If you have an interest in acquiring vintage quilts and textiles, perhaps your entry to this world may be through cutter quilts. They do not cost nearly as much as an intact antique quilt, yet they are every bit as beautiful.

Photo source: Primitive Pieces of the Past

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Quilt block study: The Jacob's Ladder quilt block

The Jacob's Ladder quilt block is believed to have been in existence since the late 19th or the early 20th century. It has not always been known by this name; it has also been called Underground Railroad, or Stepping Stones, just to name a couple. Because quilt block pattern books simply did not exist until more recent years, it is difficult to determine just when this block was first pieced. Quilt historian Barbara Brackman does not believe that this block was created before the early 1900s.

Jacob's Ladder is believed to have been named such for the biblical reference to a ladder "resting on the earth, with its top reaching to heaven, and the angels of God were ascending and descending on it" (Genesis 28:12, NIV). It is easy to see how the upward motion of the block symbolizes ascending a ladder. Similarly, the Stepping Stones name is appropriate, as the small blocks are easy to visualize as small stepping stones. Also, the block, with its upward motion, could be used to symbolize the Underground Railroad, and the movement of slaves up to freedom from slavery.

Photo source:

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...