Yesterday at an estate sale I bought a handmade quilt. It was very dirty. I always feel it is incumbent upon me to honor and preserve these early examples of Americana and handwork.
So first thing I did was put it in the bathtub in coolish water. Then I drained that water out, stepping thoroughly on the quilt to squeeze as much water out as possible.
Filled tub with hot water and detergent. Soaked for a couple of hours and used an implement to sort of swish the quilt and water. Same draining stepping routine.
Repeated with two rinses. One overnight.
Tried draping it on the hammock (wonderful for such projects) but it rained so hard that it is now draped (elevated) on the protected d.r. table with two fans directed at it.
Is this the way you would wash such a quilt?
Ask the quilters on the Quilting and Needlework board.
Your quilt is red and white. That complicates things because red often runs.
That is the recommended way. You shouldn't have soaked it overnight in case the red fabric was not colorfast but evidently you didn't have a problem with that. It is recommended to lay it flat on a sheet(s) on the ground but if an animal walls on it you get to clean it again. You might put a layer of towels under it between the quilt and table...however I don't think I have that many towels either.
The red did not run at all. I had to protect the table with a tarp (just the look you want for your d.r. table LOL, but at least it is white and clean)
Then I put some big bowls and such around the table to keep the quilt kind of elevated and put chairs so the backs could also hold up the quilt edges. It is very wet as you can imagine.
When it dries more but is still dampish I will put in the drier to fluff up a little.
Its amazing what a good drying rack a hammock is.
But not in the rain!
I spin dry mine in the washer and never wash in hot water. I dry in dryer about ten min then spread on a bed and turn the ceiling fan on.
I think you did it right. When I have colors I'm not sure of I use a Shout Color Catcher sheet. They really work. Your efforts to restore it are a labor of love. You are the new owner of a quilter's pride and joy. Lucky you.
Be sure to share a photo when you get it dried!
I have a couple of cots covered with a mesh type fabric that are perfect for drying sweaters and other items you are supposed to lay flat to dry. In the winter I can even set one up at the end of the hall where it is out of the way. The hammock is a good idea, if I had one.
Thank you S&S, that is exactly the way I feel. It is owed the quilter to honor her work.
It is raining cats and dogs now. The quilt was almost dry when I put it in the dryer this morning for 20 min.
The pic was taken when I brought it home. Four different fabrics used. Hand pieced, hand quilted.
That is a gorgeous quilt! You got it cleaned up really nicely.
Life isn't about how to survive the storm, but how to dance in the rain.
You did a great job, and very brave of you to wash a quilt with so much red in it!
Do you know the name of the pattern? I don't recognize it and would love to know more about it.
Anon, I am so glad you chipped in! I don't know the name of it. Tomorrow I will look at it more closely so I can describe the way it is pieced.
There is sort of a clump of discoloration, stiffness right in the middle, going thru the quilt. I have a feeling it might be spilled nail polish. Do you think I should try to remove this with acetone?
To me it is worth it to wash a quilt, otherwise it is not worth keeping (that is if it is really dirty) what I love about this one is that you can see it is real cotton filling. . . not batting.
It's very pretty!!! Do you actually use it on a bed or couch or is it for display purposes only? My aunt once bought me a gorgeous hand-made quilt. I really admire the 'quilters' out there! I couldn't make a quilt if my life depended on it....
What a find! That's a beautiful quilt. I wasn't worried about the colors running because you thought it had age...and surely it had been through a washing/two.
I noticed the change in the design, but you explained you thought it was fingernail polish. Can the fabric be matched and repieced? Do quilters do this when something like this happens? Is there the same RED fabric on the backside border to piece over the polish? Acetone is such a strong substance...and possibly won't remove the aged polish. ORRRRRRRRRR.....maybe some appliques can be added to hide the imperfection and making it appear purposeful? I think I like the second option I just mentioned.
It really is an amazing quilt! Congrats on finding it.
Fabriclink.com shows this method to remove nail polish from washable fabric:
Always read and follow the care instructions and any warnings on the garment label. And, follow the General Rules for stain removal.
•For stains from nail polish, apply nail polish remover to the back of the stain while laying the fabric on white absorbent towels. Replace towels frequently.
Then rinse and launder.
•Never use nail polish remover on acetate, triacetate or modacrylic, as they will dissolve. Take these fabrics to the dry cleaner.
Love you treasure. IMHO, I would live with the problem area. Acetone is so hard on fabrics and might remove the color leaving a bigger area. DD once spilled nail polish on her shirt and hid it for a month or so. It never came out completely and some of it got smooshed around to leave a halo.
Vintage fabrics can become fragile that is why laying a white sheet on the tub first is suggested. Use the sheet to pick up the quilt so there isn't as much strain on the wet fibers. I wonder how old the quilt is. Cheddar yellow was used in the 1800's.
Thank you all for your informative and helpful replies.
Waverider, I just got this on Sat. so have not used it at all, but will store it folded till I have a yard sale or such.
Trish I would not attempt to even try to repair this as the fabrics are so old and actually unless you touch the "nail polish" area it is not as visible as it is tactile. I did check at the hardware store and they too cautioned about the acetone.
Pinecone, that is a good idea about the sheet and I had not thought of it. However if I tried to lift the sheet in its sodden condition it would be too heavy for me to maneuver so I had to walk on it to squeeze out all of the water. Thanks for the cheddar yellow infer. I do not know those kinds of things (btw do you know anything about linsey/woolsey?)
I could not own the quilt if I could not wash it. IMHO dirty fabrics in a household lend to an unpleasant household odor which I want to avoid.
If I keep this quilt I will use it as a wall hanging. I think it makes a great graphics impact!
LOS, I almost missed this post! My grandchildren are here for the next few weeks and my computer time is severely limited these days. If I'm here at all it's very brief.
I was at a talk by a quilt conservator and historian years ago, and her advice to someone wanting to wash an old quilt was "lie down till the feeling passes", lol!
Like you, I can't live with a dirty quilt. Unless it's very valuable, I use my washing machine on gentle cycle. I have an older machine that I can manipulate the settings. I fill, agitate slowly for 1 minute, soak, spin gently, repeat.
Don't tell...I could get tossed out of the quilt guild.
I am just curious. What makes you think this quilt is very old?
I ask because both the design and colors do not seem that old to me. Not more than 40 years old or so.
Annon, I'm like you. In my old machine, I used the soak and spin cycle many times with older quilts. Especially found or saved quilts that were purchased for a little of nothing.
However, I do have two quilts that I will not wash. One is the only existing quilt left from my DGM. It is actually an older quilt covered with a "new" top and back. The backing was the cotton drapes in my GGFs home (her FIL). The newer (or less) old top and backing were tacked over the old quilt. Some of the tacking has come loose as well as some of the stitching so I can see a bit of the original quilt.
I also have the only surviving quilt from one of my first DHs GMs. That quilt is in fairly decent shape but does have wear at the applique points of the red fabric which is a predominate color.
Those two quilts are just too fragile and too nostalgic to risk.
Of course I do not actually know the date of this quilt. But it is stuffed with raw cotton (as opposed to quilt batting) so that is one clue. another is the fragility of the quilt, pin holes etc (that is how I see the batting)
It is also hand pieced (as opposed to machine pieced which even "real" quilters do)
Fabrics also are printed in patterns that change and have popularity over time.
Could you hand piece, hand quilt a quilt today using maybe 100 year old fabric and raw cotton?
Of course you could but even if possible would it show the same wear as an authentically old quilt?
Just as an example of the fabric designs. Not too long ago in my family an old picture of my mother was found. It was taken when she was a young woman in the 20's. She said about that pic that the fabric in her dress was printed all in Egyptian designs with hieroglyphics etc.
Fabrics like these and other things too were all the rage a/c the recent excavation of King Tuts tomb. Fabrics like this are not being printed now. So if one was found in a quilt it could be pretty accurately dated to at least not before the 1920's.
I am not an expert in fabrics or quilts. However I spent a lot of time at auctions looking at them and have bought a fair number over time. It is like anything else one is interested in, you just get a "feel" for things after time.
Anon, when something is as dirty as this quilt, I could not chance the washing machine. esp since it is in fairly good shape (all pieces there) but I agree, if it were a question of storing a dirty quilt or chancing ruining it, I would wash it.This message has been edited. Last edited by: lady of shallot,
What a find!
I told my hub about your situation. He said to just enjoy the quilt. He agreed how beautiful it is. If someone wants to comment on the nail polish, he said it's their loss to not appreciate it for what it still is.
Thanks Trish, it's nice when we can involve our husbands in our pleasure in finds and those of others!
Thanks for the closeup picture. I can see that the center color is not Cheddar yellow but the white with small pattern reminds me of shirting fabrics from the late 1800s to the early 1900's. There are quilt appraisers that can advise you, just google for them and include your state. I had some of my quilts done and the plain ole calico was worth more that the fancy velvet/satin crazy quilts. That is becazuse the fancy ones were for show and not used so many more of them survive. IMHO, a yard sale will not fetch the price that this should command. That being said, my mother's 12 Waterford crystal wine goblets went for $10 at the local auction place!!
There is a patch of yellow in the center where the red and white fabrics converge. It is a cheddar yellow. I thought that is what you meant Piney.
More than the quilt I wish I knew someone who could tell me if my blanket thing is linsey woolsey. I have some interesting but not a huge collection of textiles. Have a hand loomed rug/bed covering made in Canada. Two widths sewn together. Also five or six other quilts.
In the picture showing the whole quilt, the centers remind me of cheddar yellow but on my monitor (which might be color challenged) the center of the close up looks more brown/dark tan. Cheddar looks close to mustard yellow.
Linsey woolsey is hard to describe but when I Googled it, many pictures popped up. Have you tried that? I think the appraisers also do textiles, some quilt shows try to have one there but usually need an appointment. One of my quilts is backed in an ugly canned pea green fabric but the appraiser (Pam Worthen-Weeks) went gaga over it. You just never know. Good luck and keep us posted.
In the closeup picture I think the blocks look like one called "Papa's Delight" first published by Clara Stone in 1906. That doesn't tell anything about the age of the quilt - just gives a possible name for the block.This message has been edited. Last edited by: Bozie,
Here's an EQ drawing of a quilt made from them.
That is an amazing similarity. The blocks are the same but appear to be making a different pattern. Think I will cut some out of paper and try to arrange in the pattern of "Papa's Delight"
The colors could not be closer! What does EQ stand for?
Thanks a lot Bozie!
EQ stands for Electric Quilt. It's a quilting design software. Bozie is a whiz at using it.
Life isn't about how to survive the storm, but how to dance in the rain.
Oh so does that mean that Bozies quilt is not an actual quilt?
Is Bozie a quilt maker? I know she has sophisticated programs for sewing but do not know what kind of sewing she does.
My quilt picture is computer generated, not an actual quilt. The fabrics I chose to color the pieces are just some of the default ones that came with the program Florida Farm Girl mentioned. I chose those because they are similar, but not exactly the same, as the ones in your quilt.
I did notice that the secondary circular design is not as prominent in the real quilt picture as in the computer drawing. That could be because of a variety of things. The block I used may be a slightly different block. There may be some inaccuracies in the piecing (there usually are!). The computer generated drawing is perfectly flat while the quilt is not.
Oh, yes I do make quilts of various sizes. Mostly just small ones in the past few years.This message has been edited. Last edited by: Bozie,
Another thought. The design looks a bit different depending upon how many blocks are included. As an example here's a drawing of the same blocks in a 10 X 10 layout. Same blocks just more of them so details are less obvious.
and I have one stored in the cedar chest which is a no no, but just don't have the space to do like Martha stewart...hers are rolled on clean old carpet tubes then covered with clean sheeting....I felt a bit guilty last week as we slept under one dh's dad's quilts...it has been washed in a machine and the fabric has tiny holes and fraying...but felt it might be the last time as things are being divided as fil is in nursing home now...it's naold typical wedding ring pattern, as is the one I have...
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