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Thread: Wow! What an assignment!

  1. #1
    Senior Member MarthaT's Avatar
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    On Saturday I was quilting with my mother at a "pioneer settlement" as one of their demonstrations of the way we used to do things. (But we still do it that way!) A local dentist and his wife came along and asked us to finish three of her late mother's quilt tops they had brought with them. They are old! One was foundation pieced on newspaper and some of the newspaper is still attached. We found 1923 and 1925 dates on several of the pieces. I asked her if she really wanted the paper removed and have it quilted, but she insists she does. I'm open to any advice on finishing these quilts. She wants borders added to the other two to make them bed sized. I hand quilt, so that will be in keeping with the time period. Do you think the other two are '30 prints?

    Diamond shaped pieces, set on-point Trip Around the World style.
    Name:  Attachment-272748.jpe
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    On-point squares scrappy Trip Around the World.
    Name:  Attachment-272749.jpe
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    Very old foundation pieced 1923-25 quilt top
    Name:  Attachment-272750.jpe
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Size:  83.9 KB

    Paper is still attached on part of the back. My sister and I spent several hours realding some interesting tidbits from these. How can I remove them and still preserve them?
    Name:  Attachment-272751.jpe
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  2. #2
    Super Member Peckish's Avatar
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    Hmmm I don't know, the dentist might want to consult a quilt historian, these quilts might be more valuable if left in their current state. That is - if that's important to him. He may just want to have them quilted so they can use/display them as family treasures. (If it were me, I'd have them appraised!)

    I'd be reading those newspaper bits for hours! lol

  3. #3
    Senior Member MarthaT's Avatar
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    I tried to talk the lady into checking with professionals to see what was the best way to preserve especially the oldest one, but she has her heart set on having them finished so she can put them on a bed or a quilt rack. I don't think the money value as an antique is as important to her as having something that belonged to her mother finished so she can enjoy it as a quilt.

  4. #4
    Super Member Crqltr's Avatar
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    I agree..I would bet a quilt museum would love to have these. A shame to tear all the paper out. They should talk to a expert first.

  5. #5
    Moderator QuiltnNan's Avatar
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    if the newspaper is removed, maybe you can save some of the pieces with the date and put them in sealed plastic. then put an envelope on the back for them. that would show some of the history.

  6. #6
    Power Poster dkabasketlady's Avatar
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    I still use newspaper as a foundation to make my scrappy quilts! I just tear it out and throw it away, but on this old quilt I'd definitely keep the pieces of newspaper and put them in a bag for safekeeping. What an undertaking and also an Honor to be able to do this for them. Also contact our own board member Eddie as he's finished some antique quilts before.

  7. #7
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    I totally agree on getting these appraised first. May be best to leave as it!

  8. #8
    Super Member valleyquiltermo's Avatar
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    You have advised them and they have their hearts set on getting them done, So do them and they will be happy.
    I'd just write up a disclaimer, saying advised them to have them appraised, but they just wanted you to quilt them, have them sign it and notarize it.

  9. #9
    Super Member Jan in VA's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Crqltr
    I agree..I would bet a quilt museum would love to have these. A shame to tear all the paper out. They should talk to a expert first.
    Actually, and sadly, I disagree. Yes, the quilts would have more "value" if left as is. But not as much as we present day quilters would wish. There are many, many quilts like this, and even more in much better condition and style, in museums. In this case, intrinsic value is more important to the current owner and should be honored.

    Don't worry about saving the papers, they are likely on microfilm somewhere anyway, if the owner isn't interested. It will be difficult to remove them due to age, so the easiest way is to wet them -- with wet q-tips around the seams or with a very wet towel, blotting as you go and picking up any paper pulp that you can. If you're able to get whole pieces of paper you could just let them dry to the side and use them as others here have suggested.

    If you lay the tops out on a surface covered with something white/natural you will also be able to tell at this time if something is going to bleed. [Be sure to wash your backing fabric before using it!!] It looks like you probably won't have much bleeding as most of these fabrics appear to be fabrics from clothing, etc.

    I think it's precious she wants to remember the past by having these quilted and used. :-D It's kind of you to offer to help her do so.

    Jan in VA

  10. #10
    Senior Member 1000projects's Avatar
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    I am with Jan on this one. Just make a label with the name of the original quilter (and your name too) and it is all good. Quilts are meant to be used. These are lovely quilts but they are not priceless treasures like the jane stickel quilt or an original Baltimore album quilt.

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