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Thread: Newbie question - very old quilt (Very long)

  1. #1

    Join Date
    Feb 2011
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    Texas
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    New quilter here. I have an antique quilt that my great grandmother made (or great-great - not sure and my mother doesn't remember). It was falling apart and I wanted to preserve what I could.

    Layer one is hand quilted. Some of the stitching has broken but most of the blocks are in amazingly good shape - just a handful of blocks need repairs. The sashing fabric used was obviously lessor quality or perhaps from a different time period because it is much thinner than the block fabric and it just shreds when you touch it (no saving it). This whole layer was machine stitched to the other layers. I carefully removed the machine stitching (for a month I might add) so I could separate this layer. Most of the blocks ended up being separate b/c of the disintegration of the sashing material. I am happy that the blocks are mostly in good shape. What might I do with those? After repairs, should I use them into another quilt project? I question that b/c their age but would like to display them in some way, not in a drawer. They are very special to me.

    Layer two Ė I actually didnít realize there was a second quilted layer. This layer was machine quilted and in great shape. Just a few places on the edges need repairs. This layer was sandwiched between the hand quilted layer and layer three. There was some additional machine quilting of this layer to the backing layer (looks like this was a completed quilt that the other top was attached to and binded). Again, removed machine quilting. Fabric is in good shape so Iím thinking it might be younger. However, backing fabric is very old so Iím not sure if this fabric was just in good shape b/c it was sandwiched and not exposed. I think I could easily repair the edges and put this on batting/backing for a lap quilt, but what do you think?

    The backing layer is one piece of material with roses on it, very antique/aged looking and is also shredding as was the batting between this layers. I was able to separate most of it and some of it is in larger pieces but due to the fragility and the machine stitching to layer 2 and batting, it mostly fell apart. I have saved the larger pieces but Iím not sure they can be used b/c of its condition. Any ideas?

    Sorry so long, but Iíd love to hear your ideas.

  2. #2

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    Again sorry so long.

  3. #3
    Moderator kathy's Avatar
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    I think I would just pick out a block or 2 and put into a shadow box and discard the rest and I know it will be hard but when time has destroyed it there's no saving, it will continue to deteriate.

  4. #4

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    Thanks, that's a great idea. I definitely could do that with the perfect blocks. Maybe decorate my sewing room with these!

    The fabric in the blocks are actually in good shape, except where the hand stitching broke. It was the sashing and the backing fabrics that were disintigrating.

  5. #5

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    Feb 2011
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    Saw your avatar info - where are you at on the Texas coast? I'm in Houston. Thanks so much for your thoughts.

    I haven't parted with the disintegrating fabrics yet. I was thinking about putting that in my scrap basket for filling for the dog shelter pillows I'm making.

  6. #6
    Super Member mom-6's Avatar
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    Feb 2010
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    I like the suggestion of framing the intact blocks and decorating your sewing area with them. That will preserve them as well as allow you to enjoy looking at them all the time.

  7. #7
    Senior Member wichypoo's Avatar
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    Or, you could put the best ones under a sheet of glass on the dresser or buffet or coffee table. Good luck, hun. :D

  8. #8
    Senior Member quilting memaw's Avatar
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    I would show them off to in your sewing room. The re duplicate it so that you can pass it on. Make note on the label of it telling where the original came from.

  9. #9
    Senior Member NDQuilts's Avatar
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    If the blocks are still intact and have integrity there is no reason that they cannot be reused in another top. I'd pitch the fabrics that are falling apart perhaps taking a picture or saving a scrap. They will only continue to disintegrate and you will have to replace them shortly. Historically older quilts were repurposed as batting for the next quilt. Even though the under top appears to be in better shape it may be older and just protected from wear. Interesting story and I'd be interested in photos if you were able to share them.

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