Mending an Old Friend

Back when I was in high school, I commandeered a few of our family quilts for my bedroom. Many years have passed of course. I moved out of my folks' home long ago. When I ventured out into the real world at twenty, I left many things behind (the pink boom box, various stuffed animals and the George Michael posters). The quilts however, went with me.

One in particular (an old cotton hand-stitched crazy quilt) has aways been a favorite to curl up with. Under the cover of this old beauty, many books have been read, many cups of coffee enjoyed, and many problems thought through. It's been a comfort over the years - much like an old friend. It's worn and definitely showing the evidence of time. I have no idea how old it is, or which long gone relative carefully pieced it, but I dearly love this old thing. There have been many times when I have looked her over, inspecting the shapes and tiny stitches.... wondered where the fabric originated... a work shirt, a Sunday dress, an old apron. Yes I know I'm silly, but this is the kind of thing that intrigues me.
Recently I began to realize that something really needed to be done, or I might lose it forever. The backing is intact, but some of the patches have disintegrated completely, leaving only a few wispy bits of thread. Other pieces are still there, but are now shredded and frayed. I was faced with a choice... did I retire the old girl that had comforted me through the years? Or did I attempt to fix the damage dealt by time?

Though I have zero experience with mending an aging quilt, the choice was simple for me. How could I ever just stuff this old "friend" into a box? So, over the last week I've started to repair the worst of the pieces. I'm sure I'm going about it all wrong. I am not using vintage fabrics. I'm not necessarily using fabrics that "match" the pieces being replaced either. What I am using is whatever bits and pieces I have on hand from prior projects that I can cut to fit. xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
So maybe I am doing it wrong. But then again, maybe not. If the spirit behind my work counts for anything, I bet I'm doing exactly what the original quilter would have done in my situation. From the look of it, whoever did make this old crazy quilt did so using bits and pieces of her own. The colors and prints are random and varied.... not so much different than the ones I'm using now.

This repair project will take me a little while, as there are at least 45 different pieces that must be replaced (no two the exact same shape or size). Maybe half that many have a seam or two that needs attention. xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
The pic above shows a section that I've been working on. Three of the pieces you see here are "new". When I'm done, I'll share more pictures.
Maybe someday, (assuming my repair job is successful), Will might commandeer this old crazy quilt for himself. Maybe he'll find comfort in it the same way I did. I'm positive that a quilt like this is meant to be loved by many generations. I'm hopeful that it will now be able to do exactly that.

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