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  • WarmQuilts

An Unfinished Quilt Top

Robin of Nestlings By Robin Blog is a Quilt Designer by day and a Heritage Architect by night. From her website, her work has grown to "teaching, lecturing, and the fulfillment of quilt heritage projects through custom hand quilting" . . . She has "the honor of finishing these and completing the quilting heritage for future generations." Her story has an interesting and rewarding niche - journeys of a traveling quilt designer and fiber artist.

As I read through Robin's blog, I was reminded of a package a friend presented to me . . .

Years ago, when I first began quilting, a friend gave me an unfinished quilt top that was paper-pieced by her Auntie. I showed the precious pieces to every quilt shop and quilter I could find. I was on a quest to find more of the light apricot sashing fabric, and ideas to complete the quilt top.

I felt like a writer with a stack of rejection letters; everyone I encountered said I'd never find fabric to match, More often than not, I was told that the piece was not worth finishing. I understood that the blocks might be too threadbare to use in a quilt, and that the apricot color was not en vogue. Maybe the squares could become a wall hanging, or something else. I ended up keeping all of the pieces together and putting them on a shelf. I just couldn't part with them, but as a beginning quilter, I didn't know how to proceed.

The quilt top measures 40" x 90" with one row of sashing un-sewn. There are several quilt squares in a separate bag and most of the paper has been removed from the backs. The stitches are not knotted and some of the fabric is quite thin.

But, it is a sweet sampling of fabrics - all possibly from "Auntie's" stash . . .

It's a good start - more finished than not . . .

Several of my quilts are being quilted so I will spend some time working on this unfinished quilt top. I will measure to see if reconfiguring the layout will allow the sashing to stretch farther. This will be my rainy day project - a tribute to complete the quilt top started so many years ago by a friend's Auntie.


Jenny Kae, at Jenny Kae Quilts, considers herself a "Professional Fabric Enabler". Read about the grief she felt as she unpacked a woman’s legacy of un-quilted dreams in her "Leave Quilts, Not Fabric" blog post.

Do you have an heirloom piece sitting on the shelf and you don't know what to do with it? This year, let's transform those unfinished projects into completed masterpieces.


No, that top is too precious to NOT finish! I would just find a fabric that was close in colour and add that to the sashings you need. It is a scrappy quilt and why not add in a bit more scrappy. You will be glad to have it finally finished for Auntie. Rosemarie C. 2.13.2019

Thank you for your creative suggestion, Rosemarie. If I have enough extra paper pieced squares, I may keep it scrappy and introduce another color for sashing. With more experience now than when I initially received the package of blocks, I am confident in my abilities to complete the quilt top.


I admire your persistence! And I'm rather horrified that quilt shops said 'not worth finishing' presumably each piece of fabric in aunties quilt meant something and could tell a story! So good for you, carry on with your rainy day project! Sarah 2.3.2019

It has been a rainy weekend with lots of activity in my studio. My plan is to use as much of the existing fabric as possible. Quilting will be a very tight pattern to save as much of the hand-stitching as possible. I will post updates as I make slow but steady progress. Thanks for your encouragement, Sarah.

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