Thursday, 13 January 2011

The life of an Ebay quilt top! Part 1

I originally drafted this post in the summer last year.....

I am always looking for something to practice on.... freemotion quilting that is.......

I have tops that I could quilt, but you know, I think if I leave some of the bigger ones a little longer I will be able to make a better job of them when I have a longarm machine (that's a machine with a bigger throat/quilting space) .....zzzzz......zzzzz.....that's me dreaming again about buying that longarm.......zzzzz.....zzzzz......

So, I think most quilters are probably in the same position, you want something to practice on and show what you are capable of, but at the same time are aware that there is a huge learning curve and you don't want to spoil a top that you have invested alot of time and money in!

So that said, I went on a hunt for cheap quilt tops on Ebay......well, there's another place to waste a bunch of time, there are some beautiful quilt tops on Ebay, even finished quilts..... the better pieced tops can fetch a lot of money!

I watched for a while and bid on a few, but any that I really liked were making way too much money...... I could have made a couple of quick tops but you know I was struggling for motivation.....

Anyway I saw this very simple nine patch/irish chain in blue and cream put a bid on it and got it , did I say it was cheap...sat back and waited for it to arrive.....

It was eventually delivered, I opened it, before I even took it from the package, I knew this wasn't one of my tops, it smelled different, I took it out and looked at it, it was a bit grubby, what was I thinking, Arrrhhhh!!!

I turned it over, it was badly pieced, the first thing I saw was all the frayed threads, then the twisted seams...obviously the piecer didn't posess an iron, the seams were anything from 1/8th to 1/2 an inch!

I threw the top on the bench in my sewing room....the top lay there for a few days, then as I was walking past one day I thought, " You could still do something with that", I picked it up and had another look at it, it's only a simple nine patch, how long could it take to fix, I started doing one block at a time, maybe two blocks a day, maybe a whole row.

It still smelled a bit, I hung it in the fresh air, I felt that if I washed it now it would fray too much, so I carried on. I had to unpick some of the seams to lay the seams straight, snip and re-sew and press the seams in the right direction. I could have made a simple quilt top like this in no time at all.

I don't know how old the top is, I wouldn't say vintage, it wasn't the best of fabrics, but I did do a burn test and it seemed like cotton....those seams had been laying that way for a long time, I used lots of starch to hold them down, it started to smell better!

I've put some time and effort into this top and trimmed a bunch of threads!! It's still just a simple nine patch/irish chain but now with kind of straight seams and borders!

Well, that was last year, 2010, I've had my longarm quilting machine since September, I am quilting up some samples, so this top is now on the frame, pop back later to see how I quilt it!


  1. I've been following your blog for a little while now (as a lurker -- I don't often leave comments). I really enjoy looking at the quilts you make along with the stories of life on a farm.

    I've also considered purchasing quilt tops from eBay to practice my machine quilting. What do you do with the tops after you are finished?

  2. I've got one about like that I bought off Ebay and I too have been holding off quilting it. It's on my UFO list to get done and start using it. God knows with the weather we are having I could use another quilt!!

  3. Funny how something 'simple' can turn into something complicated! I'm looking forward to seeing how you quilt it.


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