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Thread: Looking for some "how-to" help.

  1. #1

    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Houston, Texas
    Hello folks,
    I am not a quilter, but my mom was. She passed away in August, and I have been going through her things to decide what to do with them. During the 80's and early 90's mom quilted daily. She did all of her work by hand, she thought machine stitching was a sacrilege. Currently I have found 6 full size quilts and one wall hanging. They are all in need of cleaning. Should I dry clean these items, or is washing the appropriate thing to do?

    If anyone is interested, I have posted some pics or her work on my website, http://www.genealogy.jowestcorp.com . The first two pictures are from the Jasper County Fair in Texas from 1991 I think. Mom took home every ribbon in the quilting department, including the "Viewer's Choice" , the first picture. The third picture is a wallhanging that mom did after my dad passed away. Mom took all of dad's neckties and kindof freelanced the design.

    Thank you for any help on the cleaning question.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    lost in fabric & I'm not coming out until Secret Quilt Angel is over.
    wash in cold water and tumble dry they should be fine. I am sorry for the loss of your mom. The quilts are just BEAUTIFUL what a family treasure.

  3. #3
    Moderator sharon b's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Northern Indiana
    Blog Entries
    Those are BEAUTIFUL :mrgreen: Do you still have them ? Any that Mom left will be family treasures .

    So sorry for the loss of your mom
    Welcome to the board

  4. #4

    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Central California
    Let me add my "Beautiful!" too. I like them all but I especially like the wall hanging.


  5. #5
    Power Poster Prism99's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Western Wisconsin
    Blog Entries
    Oh, my. Those are just beautiful!

    I'm not sure if the tie quilt should be washed or dry-cleaned. Do you know if your mother pre-washed the ties? If she didn't, or if you don't know, I would do more investigating before deciding how to clean it. It's because the ties are probably make of both silks and blends.

    For the other quilts, machine washing and drying are the way to go. A front-loading washer is best because it is easy on a quilt. Laundromats have front-loaders, but to be safe it's a good idea to run a cycle on the front-loader with plain water first to make sure everybody else's soaps, etc., have rinsed away. Then I would use cold water and Synthrapol to wash one quilt at a time.

    If you have a top-loading washing machine, be aware that the machine agitation is hard on a quilt. You can still use a top-loader, but stop at the agitation cycle and just agitate by hand, pushing the quilt down into the washing water for a few minutes to work the soap and water through. Drain the machine, add rinse water, and do the same for the rinse cycle -- skipping the agitation and just pushing the quilt under by hand. Drain and do a second rinse cycle, then spin dry. Spinning is not hard on a quilt; it's just agitation from a top-loading machine that is hard on it.

    Whatever machine you use, you need to watch the quilt and remove it as soon as the wash cycle is done so wet fabric is not laying against wet fabric (which can result in color bleeding). I recommend Synthrapol because, if there is any unset dye in one of the fabrics, Synthrapol will keep the unset dye suspended in water so color does not settle in another fabric. Synthrapol is widely available in quilt shops or online and is not expensive.

    What kind of dryer do you have? Mine is a very small front-loader and I would not want to stuff a large quilt into it. You may be better off with a laundromat dryer. You do not want to dry completely. It's best to take the quilt out while still somewhat damp and then "block" it to finish drying. To block, you lay the quilt on top of a sheet on top of carpet, square the sides and corners and pin them in place, then place a fan nearby to finish drying. If the quilt is completely dry, you can spray it with water to dampen it enough to be blocked. Blocking makes sure that the quilt ends up perfectly square, the way it started. You can also skip the dryer and just block the quilt and let it dry under the fan; however, this can take a long time and the quilt needs to be turned over.

    Never expose a quilt to sunlight if you can help it. Sunlight can fade a quilt very quickly. Also never hang a wet quilt over clotheslines; the weight of the wet fabric can break stitching lines. If you ever do want to dry a quilt outside, lay it out on top of a large sheet and then cover it with a couple of sheets to keep sunlight off it (not to mention bird mistakes).

    Good luck!

  6. #6
    thismomquilts's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    here! :)
    I saw a tie quilt just like this one - has it ever been in Dunnedin, FL? She did great work!!

  7. #7
    Power Poster Ninnie's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Athens Ga
    Beautiful work
    I always wash mine on gentle cycle, and dry on low

  8. #8
    Super Member Chele's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Belle Isle, Florida
    What wonderful treasures your mom left you! Washing on a gentle cycle usually works fine. Be careful with the tie quilt though. A lot of men's ties are silk and don't wash well. I'd dry clean that one.

    I hope you will consider taking up the craft. Your mom would be so proud. This is a lovely group of quilters that will guide you along the way.

  9. #9
    Super Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    West Virginia
    Blog Entries
    Wow those are beautiful so sorry for your loss she was a beautiful lady and done such awesome work

  10. #10
    Super Member Moonpi's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Central FL
    The regular quilts could be gently washed, but those ties could be made of anything. I'd take that one in to the dry cleaner for an opinion.

    You are lucky to have them.

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