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Thread: I need advise on old quilt

  1. #1
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    I need advise on old quilt

    My mother in law passed away a few months ago and my husband and I have been cleaning out her house. I found an old quilt top done up in the crazy quilt pattern. Embroidered on it is the year 1914-15. It is made with wools, cottons and some other fabric not sure what it is. What I need help in is what do I do for a border on it, and for backing? From what I can tell it is all hand stitched.

  2. #2
    Super Member ptquilts's Avatar
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    How big is it? Could you use it for a lap quilt or throw? That is what crazy quilt were usually used for, although some were bed size.
    I would put a neutral backing on it, tack it unobtrusively, and use it as a throw, somewhere where it is not going to get a lot of wear.

  3. #3
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    What a wonderful find. Size is important to know. I would make a wall hanging out of it ,if it is small enough, with maybe her picture beside it with some brief history. Just me, I like to save memories.

  4. #4
    Super Member Daylesewblessed's Avatar
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    It would be wonderful to see a picture. This is truly a treasure! Depending on the weight and drape, you made need only a thin batting, perhaps flannel. If you trying to go for authenticity, you might like to do some research on vintage crazy quilts to see how the borders looked. I think in many cases, they didn't have borders at all. If using it as a wallhanging, a medium to small border just to frame it might look great.

    Congratulations! I hope some family research turns up information about its original for you. You are lucky to have the date embroidered on it.

    Dayle

  5. #5
    Super Member Jan in VA's Avatar
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    Many crazy quilts did not ever have a border.

    Jan in VA
    Jan in VA
    Living in the foothills
    peacefully colors my world.

  6. #6
    Power Poster BellaBoo's Avatar
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    If you want to keep the vintage value, do not add anything or finish the quilt. It will decrease the value. If it is a quilt you want to use and not keep as a heirloom then add a backing and binding. The vintage crazy quilts I've seen have an unquilted velvet or silk backing, no batting, and usually no borders.
    Got fabric?

  7. #7
    Super Member luvstoquilt's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BellaBoo View Post
    If you want to keep the vintage value, do not add anything or finish the quilt. It will decrease the value. If it is a quilt you want to use and not keep as a heirloom then add a backing and binding. The vintage crazy quilts I've seen have an unquilted velvet or silk backing, no batting, and usually no borders.
    I agree and also all I have seen have either silk or velvet on the back...no borders. I am no expert but do a lot of antique searching and investigating.
    "You must do the thing you think you cannot do"....E. Roosevelt

    Sharon
    Yorkville, IL

  8. #8
    RST
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    Senior Member RST's Avatar
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    For a quilt of that age, I would be inclined to use it as a wall hanging or a decorative table topper -- something that won't need to be washed. Crazy quilts sometimes don't hold up to a lot of wear -- those lovely fabrics are often pretty fragile. Depending on the size, you could consider having it mounted on a stretch canvas or placed in a shadow box type frame.

    RST

  9. #9
    Super Member MacThayer's Avatar
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    I have been restoring quilt tops my Great Grandmother made and let me tell you how fragile the fabric is on those. Two were made in the 1950's, and I've got fabric that bleeds in cold water, thread wearing out and coming apart, and patches worn through. The "daintiest" cold water wash with soap especially made for heirloom quilts caused color bleeding that will require me to repair more patches than I had planned to do. The third quilt is a Postage Stamp quilt that she started somewhere in the 1930's, I'm guessing, or possibly even earlier. Some of that fabric is literally falling to bits. It crumbles when I touch it. I intend to take the best parts and make a wall hanging. The other quilts will be for "display only" for my sisters. I cannot imagine taking a quilt from an earlier period and actually using it in daily life, and I reached that conclusion by taking the quilt tops to an expert in textile restoration. She flat out told me that if I restored and then actually used in daily life the two quilts made in the 1950's, they wouldn't last 5 years, if that. I'm not doing all this work, most of which has to be done by hand, just to watch the quilts be destroyed! They didn't look that fragile to me either, until I started working on the first one. Then I'd go to repair a patch, and the whole seam would just fall apart. I will have to re-stitch every seam in the quilt, because the thread is old, and it wasn't the best quality thread when my Great Grandmother bought it in the 1950's.

    So please, before you even think about using it, find out what kind of shape it's really in, and if it can take the wear and tear of every day use. I'm betting it can't, but would work well as a lovely wall hanging, if hung properly. I'm sure the quilt is your treasure, as mine are to me, which is why I'm working so hard to preserve them.

    Best of luck to you and your treasure!
    MacThayer

  10. #10
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    can you frame it?

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