Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Double-Knit Quilt: "Maude's Double-Knit Extravaganza"

This quilt was hand-pieced by my paternal grandmother, Maude Tucker.
Oddly enough, she then had it long-arm quilted.  The batting is thick, and the backing is (gulp) dacron.
The quilt is between and full and queen size.


Oh! My grandmother loved double-knit!  She made me so many double-knit pant suits when I was in high school.  I was more the "Espirit de Corps" cotton shirt & jeans sort of girl, so these pant suits went unappreciated.  Too bad my second daughter wasn't around to receive these gifts.  She spent quite a bit of her high school era collecting and wearing double-knit from vintage and thrift shops.  She looked a LOT better in it than I did.  The jewel in the crown of my grandmother's double knit experiments, clothing-wise, was a floor length swizzle skirt (remember those?) made from alternating panels of orange print and black.  Oh my.  I would give a lot to have that thing back.
Unbeknownst to the family, my grandmother was piecing this amazing quilt from leftover cloth of her clothing projects.  We found it after her death, wadded up in a storage closet.  The quilt was unbound and very distorted.  I claimed it, took it home, and tried to figure out how to wrestle it into submission.
My original idea to bind it with more double-knit was quickly cast aside when I tried to figure out how to control it.  I'm not experienced with taming knits.  Let's just say it wasn't a pretty sight.  I settled for creating the binding from a piece of hand-dyed cotton broadcloth.
I can find a number of blocks that contain leftover pieces of my old pantsuits.  I absolutely treasure this old quilt.  I like to think that my grandmother would be pleased that I own it.


  1. That's terrific! I bet it weighs a ton! I well remember PD. I even made a tennis dress or two out of it. Looked good, but not very cool.

  2. I lived in Texas from the mid 80's to early 90's. Around 1992 I went to a small, local quilt show somewhere near the hill country. To my astonishment, there were *numerous* quilts in the show made from polyester double knits! Most of them seemed to be made by the same lady, who was quite prolific. I'll never forget that show.

    I think your grandmother had a good eye for color.

  3. That is an amazing quilt Leslie.
    When Jesica was trying on my Polyester double knits for my blog posts this weekend I thought about Natalie as I do remember you talking about her and vintage clothing.

    I'm still washing the "vintage" finds from my attic for another style show next time a granddaughter is available to model!

  4. I still have some polyester double knit in my cellar, and lots of acrylic double knit - nice and soft in comparison. In the 1970's I worked as a double knit fabric designer. My husband would love it if I tossed them, but I put too much sweat into designing those patterns years ago, before computers, on very fine graph paper! I've always wanted to make a double knit quilt, but wondered about the weight and how it would quilt. Thanks for sharing this, it turned out very nicely!

  5. what a treasure!! I think I see my shocking pink double knit dress in there...

  6. I machine quilt for customers. I have never seen a double knit quilt top until last week. I received FOUR of them to quilt!!! I found your post because I searched for double knit quilts. Do you have any advice about quilting them? I actually am now curious about how to bind them (if I do them in the traditional cotton-fabric way). I don’t have any double knit to use for binding. Any suggestions???

  7. I am Mama Joan! Please send your reply to my email address.

  8. Hello Mama Joan, I wondered if you ever found a solution to the double knit binding dilemma? I am repairing an old double knit quilt for a friend and it really needs to be bound. If you came up with an idea, would you send me an email to barbew57@gmail.com.


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