Posts Tagged ‘conservation’

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A Stitch in Time: The details

January 31, 2013

Hello everyone,

I hope you’re doing well on this beautiful day. I have been working so hard on crafts, I almost hate going to work I want to stay home and craft the days away. This blog posts brings us back to the beautiful family quilt I am working on. I recently saw the following quote and it really stood out to me regarding this quilt and so many other parts of life:

A family stitched together with love seldom unravels.

I think it’s such a beautiful statement tying love, families, and traditions together. This quilt is a piece of a family and tells it’s unique story unlike any other quilt. I have learned more about my in-laws since I received the quilt to fix and continue to learn as this process continues.

In this post I want to outline the details of the quilt before me. There are, sadly, lots of pieces that need repair. I am including a few close up photos as well as descriptions of the damage. I’ll explain my game plan and then we’ll see how true to that I stay in my actual repairs.

Quilt close up

Quilt close up

This image is a close up of some of the Sueboonet Sue girls. These are in better condition than some of the others, but you can see the tattered edge of the quilt. I plan to trim the binding off the whole quilt and replace it with a new, similar binding. This makes me very nervous, but in order for the quilt to maintain it’s durability and integrity.

Quilt damage SueBonnet Sue

Quilt damage Sue Bonnet Sue

SueBonnet Sue Close up

SueBonnet Sue Close up

These little girls are a little more tattered and torn than some of the others. You can see slits in their dresses or tears and holes. I hope to not be forced to remove any of the little girls from their squares. I do not want to loose the beauty of the hand applique created by the wonderful quilters who made this quilt. My goal is to buy fusible interfacing to slip under the dresses and then iron them in place. I know this may not be the perfect solution because it could potentially lead to discoloration down the line, but since the quilt is going to be laid on a bed and kept for memories, I think it’s better to keep the fabric already used and try to conserve it as much as possible.

Quilt damage

   Quilt damage

Quilt damage

Quilt damage

The hole in the middle of the quilt is my biggest (literally and figuratively) problem to fix. It appears to be a pretty straight set of tears, which I assume came from years of being folded in the same shape. I think my strategy is going to be to also use fusible interfacing here. I may need to patch the back of the quilt through the batting with a muslin patch just over the hole along with the fusible interfacing. I am not sure what the quilt will look like with just this done so there is a chance I want to replace the pink between the squares in the space that is torn. This will reinforce the joints between the little girls.

Quilt Back

Quilt Back

Quilt damage

Quilt damage

As for the back of this quilt, I think I have decided against washing and drying it. Since laying it out, the smell has dissipated and I do not want to cause any additional damage. I will buy a piece of fabric large enough (or piece together) to cover the back of the quilt, with the new binding. I will attach this fabric to the quilt without disturbing the face of the quilt and original stitches. This step is really to keep up durability of the quilt and help it last just that much longer.

I’ll have to reassess at that point what other steps I need to take, but I think that covers the bulk of the repairs I believe I need to make. I do think I will need to patch any hand stitched applique that may no longer be in place.

I can’t wait to see what it looks like after all these steps are completed!

Happy Quilt Repairing!
-Amanda

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A Stitch in Time: A Quilt from the past

January 21, 2013

Hello friends!

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.

Quilt front

Quilt front

Quilt Back

Quilt Back

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!

Tips:

  1. 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.
  2. Fold and re-fold the quilt every few months as to not cause any damage from pressure on one specific crease.
  3. Never hang an antique quilt.  The weight of the quilt will put stress on the stitching and fabric and potentially cause more damage.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.

Quilt close up

Quilt close up

Happy Quilting,
Amanda