It’s important to look at the whole quilt. This lovely pink and green appliqué quilt looks like it has some fabric toning and perhaps some wear. However, if we turn it over we can see considerable water damage and stains:
These stains are difficult, if not impossible, to remove and will affect the quilt’s value. Frequently, condition issues, such as staining, holes, or wear, are easier to see on the back of a quilt.
It is also easier to see the quilting on the back of the quilt–like the concentric circles and echo lines. We can also see the quality of the quilting stitch, especially when the backing is a solid.
I love to look at the front of a quilt closely–the small stitches, the seams that match, the workmanship and artistry which go into the small things. However, if a quilt is only looked at closely the visual impact of the quilt is not truly seen.
The pictures above are close-ups of a blue and white quilt. The block above is called Fly Foot. It looks fairly simple to construct–a half square triangle pinwheel and some bars. Blue and white is one of the most popular color combinations in quilts. From the closeup photos of this quilt it could be difficult to date–indigo solids have been produced for centuries. Now look below at the whole quilt:
Wow! No longer is it just another blue and white quilt. The movement and pattern of the blue lines give the quilt energy and make the eye move around the quilt. So many blue and white quilts are tranquil and serene–not this one!!