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Keeping quilt in great shape for a long long long time.....

Keeping quilt in great shape for a long long long time.....

Old 07-11-2011, 08:19 AM
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I'm a new quilter. I've seen on the QB and other quilting sites that there are people who have made quilts wayyyy back in the early 1900's and they are still in great shape and that, at auction, people are paying extreme prices for them, if they can be found. My question is: How do you keep a quilt in that great condition for soooo long? Do you not use them, or only use them as show. I've seen where quilts have been made for daily use on a persons bed and it didn't last but 10, maybe 15 years. I'm making an English Paper Piece Hexagon hand stitched quilt and I'd like it to last until I'm older and grayer, lol and then pass it onto my son or grandchildren. What can I do to preserve my treasure for a long time? Thanks so much......Patti
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Old 07-11-2011, 08:26 AM
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Hi Patti!!
First of all welcome to the board :D
You raise a very good point. The only way I know to keep quilts in really good condition is to not use them :(
I've bought antique quilts that are in wonderful condition but it's b/c they were stored away and not used.
It's a hard one b/c we all love using them or seeing them used and loved by those we gift them to.
I do mostly hand quilting too and that takes a long time. I'm embarking on machine quilting so that I can finish more in this lifetime lol
If you decide to store a quilt it should be stored inside acid-free tissue and in an acid-free box away from the elements. A pillowcase works also but be sure to keep it clean and out of the sun. You should also re-fold it now and then so it doesn't get fold lines.
I hope you show us what you're working on!
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Old 07-11-2011, 08:35 AM
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Hi Susan, Thank you so much for responding. Yeah, I thought that was probably the case. I can't see them lasting forever if you're going to use them. But, then again, as lovely as these quilts are, I sort of think it's a shame to make something so beautiful and then store it away. I'm not criticizing anyone, and I am probably going to do the same thing with my hexagon quilt but I want my son to have it one day. What about washing them? I just started an applique class with Mimi Dietrich and she suggested we wash, dry and press all of out fabric before we start a project, for obvious reasons, shrinkage etc. Are you supposed to wash them when they are complete. I see many people do not. I'm so glad I found the QB. I don't know anyone else in my area who quilts and I have sooooo many questions. Everyone her is so great when it comes to offering help and answering questions. Sue, thank you so much. I'll ask my husband to take a few pictures of my quilt, it's not finished but I'll send what I have...Chat later, Patti
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Old 07-11-2011, 09:00 AM
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Welcome Patti! I have found that the reason each quilt is made helps me decide how it is taken care of. I have one that took many hours of hand quilting, and we only put that on our bed for special occasions (and keep the dogs off it!) Some others are everyday quilts on the beds, and quilts for babies I machine quilt, expecting them to be well loved and dragged on the floor. My grandmothers quilts are wrapped in tissue and sheltered for their sentimental value, others are hanging on the walls (out of the sun) as artwork. So as long as you anticipate how it will be enjoyed, you can relax over how it agesand enjoy the process. You will no doubt get all yor questions answered on this board! And we love pictures!
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Old 07-11-2011, 09:48 AM
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I am thinking about getting a trunk or hope chest type piece to store my quilts in. Is this a good place to store them? Thanks
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Old 07-11-2011, 10:49 AM
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Originally Posted by Patti Mahoney
I'm a new quilter. I've seen on the QB and other quilting sites that there are people who have made quilts wayyyy back in the early 1900's and they are still in great shape and that, at auction, people are paying extreme prices for them, if they can be found. My question is: How do you keep a quilt in that great condition for soooo long? Do you not use them, or only use them as show. I've seen where quilts have been made for daily use on a persons bed and it didn't last but 10, maybe 15 years. I'm making an English Paper Piece Hexagon hand stitched quilt and I'd like it to last until I'm older and grayer, lol and then pass it onto my son or grandchildren. What can I do to preserve my treasure for a long time? Thanks so much......Patti
First off, the reason people might pay a HIGH price on a vintage quilt has nothing to do with it being in great shape...
It has more to do with the history of the quilt! What era it was made, what fabrics were used, what techinique even the person who made it can effect the value of the quilt. you must realize that quilts made prior to 1850 were usually made with fabrics imported from England, so they have significant historical value. Quilts made from 1850-1970 the fabrics were primarily made in the USA...after 1970, the fabrics came from US, Japan, Tiawan and Indonesia.
Since 2000 most fabrics come from CHina and other Asian areas.
SInce 2007 NO fabrics are made in the US.

So you see..that alone, in reference to textile history plays a role in the value of the quilt.
Now, up until 1900 nearly all quilts made were made completely by hand. Even up til 1970 you could still find that most rural area quilter's were doing it ALL by hand. Then quilting sort of died off...replaced with cheaper things like spreads, comforters, and industry made quilts.
Until the around 1990...then it started to show up again with more vigor and NEW ways to cutting, piecing, etc. This was also due in part to a serge in the general CRAFT industry. ALL crafts saw a great upserge when TV programs really came along with more DIY crafting shows!

SO many variable in determining the value of a quilt!

Also today we do tend launder things more than they did back then. The more you launder an item the quicker you kill it!

We also tend to use CHEMICALS in our quilts that were never around back the old days...spray basting, glues, even our dyes today are made with different chemicals...chemicals themselves will eat away the fabrics.

Heavily quilting will wear out fabric faster than fabric that has less quilting, as the more you quilt it, the more stress/holes you are putting into the fibers of the fabric. Breaking it down faster.
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Old 07-11-2011, 10:52 AM
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Originally Posted by Patti Mahoney
I am thinking about getting a trunk or hope chest type piece to store my quilts in. Is this a good place to store them? Thanks
ONLY if you keep the quilts in their own pillow cases...or line the trunk/chest with heavy fabric..DO not glue it it...DO not paint or seal the wood with urethane! Simply staple or use decortive tacks to line it with something like a heavy duck cloth or make a liner out of recycled denim...it is there to protect your quilts from getting yellowed due to the gas/oils the wood leaches out!
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Old 07-11-2011, 11:29 AM
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Hi again, Patti!
I agree with you about making them and not using them! It does seem a shame.
Personally mine get used, even though I told you most are hand quilted. I don't want to die and have my kids find tons of quilts (I'm exaggerating a bit here haha) that never saw the light of day.
But special quilts can be put away I guess. Just make sure you enjoy some of them :)
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Old 07-11-2011, 11:31 AM
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Oh- Jacquie's post is a very good one! Lots of info :)
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Old 07-11-2011, 11:53 AM
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Originally Posted by jaciqltznok
Until the around 1990...then it started to show up again with more vigor and NEW ways to cutting, piecing, etc. This was also due in part to a serge in the general CRAFT industry. ALL crafts saw a great upserge when TV programs really came along with more DIY crafting shows!
.
NOBODY noticed in that in this post that I used the word "SERGE" instead of SURGE..hehehe
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