One of my most recent favorites! This began as a 100 year old pillow cover. Lovingly embroidered, most likely by a woman from Iowa. Because, only a lover of her state, would spend the time embroidering kernels of corn! OH MY GOSH, I love this piece! It was stunning in it’s original state, but of course, I took it to a whole new level.
These early patterns were color tinted, so the embroiderer could decide what parts they would like to stitch and could choose more or less embroidery. I’ve seen some that are very heavily stitched and some that have only been outline stitched. This is the way I found it, a little wrinkled and a few aging stains. I chose not to soak this one as I really didn’t know what might happen to the floss. I recently had soaked a piece in Retro Clean, which I consider very safe. I had also put Shout, Color Catchers, in the water. I still had bleeding from the brown floss. I sure couldn’t take a chance on this beauty!
When working these old patterns, I also remove this tiny edge with the pattern name and number, then attach it to the back when I’m finished.
Mostly, when I quilt a piece like this, I know what I’m going to do and the designs are free flowing. This one was different and seemed to need a plan. I have a few different methods for auditioning designs. I used Handi Quilter’s Preview Paper. It comes in a roll with a dark black line, so you don’t accidently take your design over the edge and onto your fabric. I use a black sharpie so it’s fast drying, then rubbing alcohol to wipe the slate clean.
I always start a piece like this by outlining the entire design. It stabilizes and sets the boundaries for me to start the background work. I used two layers of batting on this piece, 80/20 Hobbs on the bottom and 100% Hobbs wool on the top. This makes for an easy trapunto look without all the work. I also stitched inside the original embroidery and chose to go around each and every kernel of corn for some fabulous dimension!
And there you have it! Finished piece is 20″ square. All free motion quilted. I always hope the original maker would be thrilled with what I have done with her work. I think she would!