Celeste Saunier and her newly restored quilt border.Where did the month of December go? One moment it’s Thanksgiving and now a brand new year. It was a busy time down at the Born Again Quilts studio as restoration work was completed on certain “gotta have it by Christmas” projects.
Now not all of the “gottas” were vintage quilts to be found under the tree to be treasured anew.

It all started last summer when I was cruising the area antique malls for fabric, tops and quilts. One of my favorite haunts is the Heart of the Lakes Antique Mall in the middle of downtown North Webster. Family-owned and named the “Best Small Business of the Year” by the local Chamber of Commerce the family members all know me and pass my business cards along to “Quilt Parents” in need of my restoration services.

Celeste one of the sisters approaches me with a quilt she wants restored. A Christmas gift from an ex-boyfriend made by his mother’s friend eleven years ago “it was the best thing to come out of the relationship!” exclaims Celeste. It’s a simple quilt made of squares: blues and pink floral prints, a pink gingham and finished with a prairie point edge to keep it all together. Or at least it used to be “all together”. Washing it and sleeping under it took their toll and one blue and pink floral print paid the price. This fabric now only a faded reminder of its original state is in shreds. Together we examine it and Celeste wants me to replace the two worse borders, to choose the replacement fabric and to take my time: seems easy enough.

Back at the studio the borders are examined to determine which two are the worse. It makes sense to replace two which are opposite of each other to balance the piece. The more I look the more dismayed I become. Sadly they are all four in poor condition and replacing two will make the remaining border pieces look even worse. There was only one thing to do…replace them all.
The quilt’s fabrics are typical fabrics from JoAnn Fabrics. Taking the quilt along it becomes evident that the color wheel has turned and the shade of pink in a blue/pink combo is no longer in vogue. One of the border pieces runs along a pink gingham strip. With so much pink, a light blue fabric with tiny white flowers next to it looks great.

Four new border pieces are cut and the work begins. Care must be taken when removing the borders to not disturb the prairie point edge. Sewing one border side is easy-put the two right sides together and hand stitch it down. The other edge is much more tedious as the stitches are hand-blind stitched to hide the raw edge of the prairie points. Celeste calls and is pleased the restoration is in progress.

At the same time the work on the new studio is also underway. A month later the building takes top priority as the grand opening nears. Celeste calls again. This time the news isn’t so bright as time is now spent working on the building before work, lunch hours and after work leaving little time for her quilt.

After the studio opens, it’s back to work on Celeste’s quilt. Two sides complete and the third one underway. Celeste calls and I hear the anxiousness in her voice. How much longer will it be? I promise her it will be done before Christmas. By Thanksgiving the fourth side is underway and the re-quilting from the backside soon follows.

Two weekends before Christmas shortly after the mall opens I surprise Celeste. She is shocked to see me and delighted with her newly restored quilt. I bring her the old border pieces and challenge her to pick out the two worse. She holds them up and laughs!

Celeste tells me how she found another quilt on sale at the North Webster Dixie Days to use while her quilt was being restored, but it just wasn’t the same. The restored quilt is of such a weight she uses it all year long: not too hot in the summer and she doesn’t need an additional blanket when using it in the winter. The fabric colors are soothing. Now I understand why she was so anxious to get it back as she blissfully hibernates the winter away under the quilt she loves so well.

For information on Heart of the Lakes Antique Mall to go:

Lois Eubank is the owner of Born Again Quilts restoration studio and quilt gallery. She can be reached through the Waynedale News.