A Stitch in Time: A Quilt from the pastJanuary 21, 2013
I am very excited about this next project. It will cover a multitude of blog posts, so here I will give you the back story, my knowledge thus far, and the steps I hope to take. I can’t wait for you to join me on this adventure. So here we go into the story.
My sister in law is pregnant with, what I am sure is going to be, a beautiful baby girl! She will be our first niece and we are thrilled. When my mother-in-law’s cousin found out about this new addition, she offered a family quilt that had been once very loved and since stored for years for this new baby’s room. The quilt was originally sewn by David and his sister’s maternal great grandmother and great great grandmother. It is a traditional Suebonnet Sue quilt pattern using fabrics from the clothing of the family members. It represents three generations of this beautiful family and is being passed down to another. After receiving the quilt and examining the state it was in, my sister-in-law and mother-in-law decided to ask me to look at it and come up with a plan of action. I decided, after consulting with a few co-workers and the very helpful Lonnie of www.fixquilts.com, to mend the quilt myself and give it extra love and attention. (Lonnie is very helpful, knowledgeable, and talented based on what I’ve seen.)
As I mentioned previously, the quilt was once very loved. It has a significant amount of damage including a hole in the middle of the quilt where it must have been folded for years. A few of the girls’ dresses have tears or holes and the binding is almost completely destroyed. There are stains and discolorations all over the quilt and when it first was taken out of storage, it had a smell to it. I have since laid the quilt out in the open air to breathe and relax.
I have already learned so much about how to store, clean, and handle an antique quilt, some of which I knew and others I had no idea about!
- Never store fabric in plastic. It can’t breathe and will intensify any smells lingering. Layer the quilt with a clean sheet (washed without fabric softener or scents) and keep it out of direct sunlight.
- Fold and re-fold the quilt every few months as to not cause any damage from pressure on one specific crease.
- Never hang an antique quilt. The weight of the quilt will put stress on the stitching and fabric and potentially cause more damage.
- Sometimes a stain is better than what damage washing a quilt could cause. There are ways to wash a damaged, old quilt, but you have to weigh the possibilities before starting that process.
- Some quilts are beyond repair. You must decide how much preservation or conservation you want for your specific quilt.
I hope you’re as excited about this journey as I am. I feel so honored, and nervous, to make this quilt even more beautiful and be part of it’s history. I hope to blog about each step along the way to help you understand the process and also to document the history of this sweet quilt.