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    Need help with old quilt

    I have become the lucky recipient of a 40 or 50 year old quilt top. There isn't very much damage other than some stains. How do I clean something this? Will I do more damage by putting it in the washing machine? The quilt was found in a closet of our church. Because I am one of the few that quilt at the church and because I am the pastor's wife, I have the honor of doing something with it. Also, it was rolled up in a bed sheet and the whole thing smells kind of musty. Would cleaning it get rid of the smell?

    Can I finish it with any type of backing?

    Thanks so much for any help with this.

    #2
    Re: Need help with old quilt

    It would really help if you can post a picture of the quilt top. Don't attempt to wash it until it's quilted. It will be much more stable then. Is it hand or machine pieced? How are the seams holding together? More information would really help here. The odor can be dealt with and maybe the stains, depending on how large they are and what caused the stains.

    Please help with more information.
    sigpicwww.whisperofrose.blogspot.com


    Scottie Mom Barb

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      #3
      Re: Need help with old quilt

      I just tried to take a few pictures for you Bubby! Now I have to figure out how to attach them. 073.jpg074.jpg076.jpg077.jpg

      Hopefully they will appear here somehow. All hand stitched. Upon further investigation it looks like they tied threads through to bottom sheet (literally some kind of bed sheet). Hopefully you can see it in the pictures.
      Mindy

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        #4
        Re: Need help with old quilt

        I had some fabric square from the 1800's that had been passed down. They were cream colored and had yellow stains from age. I soaked mine in a weak solution of lemon juice and warm water. (I did test a small piece first to make sure it wouldn't damange it). After the soak, I rinsed them well in cold water and hung them on the clothesline outside in full sun. The stains came right out and the fabric survived to be made into a quilt that is still being used.

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          #5
          Re: Need help with old quilt

          I can see that it is tied. Is there binding around the sides? If so, there is a product you can buy at quilt shops that is made specifically for this, however, I don't know the name of it. I know a person in one of my classes that used it on one of her quilts and you can't tell there was ever anything wrong with it. It comes in a box and is a powder and I know it involved the bathtub!!

          Good luck.
          pat.

          No rain....no rainbows!


          sigpic

          If you can't be nice.....BE QUIET!

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            #6
            Re: Need help with old quilt

            That is so pretty! I wonder why it was never finished. I agree, don't wash it before it's quilted!

            I'm a believer in leaving an antique quilt top just the way it is - unquilted. Hang it over a quilt rack and enjoy it as a top.

            It looks to me like some of the brown triangles are pieced with three different pieces of fabric. How cool is that? She used up what she had and made something beautiful. You're lucky to have it whether you finish it or leave it as she left it, unquilted.
            Cyndi


            “Have courage for the great sorrows of life and patience for the small ones; and when you have laboriously accomplished your daily task, go to sleep in peace. God is awake.” - Victor Hugo

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              #7
              Re: Need help with old quilt

              I worked in a laundry for three years during high school and became the stain specialist. I think Mommadeb is pretty much right on. I'm somewhat leery of putting some of the newer commercial stain removers or pre-treaters.

              My aunt's used to make quilts and tie them to the backing with yarn. They called them tie-quilts.

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                #8
                Re: Need help with old quilt

                It is interesting....the ties are just the tiny pieces of thread. There are only a few, almost like the person didn't know quite what to do with project. It has no batting. The sheet on the back says Montgomery Wards percale so it is really a bed sheet. If I don't wash it, how will I get the musty smell out?

                Thank you all so much..I want to do all of the work justice. It looks like clothes were cut up to make all the squares.

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                  #9
                  Re: Need help with old quilt

                  If this quilt was mine and if it wasn't one of my family 'heirloom' pieces, I would remove the threads that were used to tie the quilt to the sheet and remove the sheet. Check the seams of the quilt to see if any need mending and take the time to mend them. Make sure the seams on the edges are secure. At that point I would have it hand quilted. Do you have a quilting group at your church that could do this? The quilt would have to be attached to a quilting frame. I would ask the quilter(s) about whether or not you would need to baste some strips of fabric around the outside edges so they won't fray when the quilt is attached to the frame and rolled.

                  After the quilt is quilted and bound, I would wash it in cold water on Delicate and put 3-4 Color Catcher sheets in the wash water to catch any dye that might migrate. Once the quilt is washed, lay it out flat to dry. If the quilt top makes it through this process in good condition then you could address the stains at a later time. Since this is not a family quilt you will have to make the decision about how much money/time you want to invest in it. It sounds like leaving the quilt as it is would be unacceptable due to the odor. Quilts should not be dry cleaned because the chemicals are damaging to the fabric. An exception to this would be a quilt made of all velvets, silks and satins - maybe like a crazy quilt.

                  An alternate plan would be to do the above but rather than having the top quilted take the time to tie it properly. You could use a lightweight cotton batting or just tie the top and backing together and then bind it. Once again, it's the time/money/effort decision you would have to make.
                  Last edited by Bubby; February 17, 2014, 02:57 PM.
                  sigpicwww.whisperofrose.blogspot.com


                  Scottie Mom Barb

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                    #10
                    Re: Need help with old quilt

                    Thank you for all the information! I am it for quilting group at church but I think that I will take your advice and get rid of the sheet and forge on. You all have been very helpful! Good thing I am not on a timeline on this project!

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                      #11
                      Re: Need help with old quilt

                      Hanging it out in the fresh air for a few days, should get rid of the smell. Or you could try putting it in a brown bag with an open box of baking soda, for a while.
                      Blankets wrap you in warmth, quilts wrap you in love

                      Marilyn......
                      sigpic

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