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Thread: 100 year old signature blocks

  1. #1
    Super Member Toto's Mom's Avatar
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    I need some help deciding what to do with 23 signature blocks that were hand pieced and signed in 1911, before my paternal grandparents were married.
    I suspect this was for a wedding quilt, but don't know. There are blocks signed by my great-aunt, both Great-grandmothers, and one by an 88 year old lady ( in 1911), and numerous others of old New England heritage, from that small NH town.
    Now....... I am debating whether I should use repro cottons, and hand assemble this into a quilt, or whether I should just leave them as a stack of blocks? I can and would do this by hand, as they are deserving of that much respect.
    My Grandmother had them safely stored for many years, and then my Mom kept them safe when she inherited them from Dad's side of the family.
    I know they are probably not of any real monetary value, but they are a part of my heritage that some day, I might pass to my daughter or grandson, if they develop any interest in family heritage.
    I need some ideas, and recommendations as to what would be the best thing to do with these.
    Would you assemble them into a small quilt?
    Would you leave them as blocks and donate them to a museum in that area?
    They are done from odds and ends, so there is no color scheme, but just what scraps of fabrics they had on hand, although the blocks are all done in the same pattern, except for one.
    Thanks for taking the time to read this, and for any advice.
    Nancy

  2. #2
    Super Member Vicki W's Avatar
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    Could you post some photos please? I would want to do something with them too.

  3. #3
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    small quilt and then put it in a glass frame to protect it. What wonderful treasures you have there.

  4. #4
    Moderator littlehud's Avatar
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    What a wonderful piece of your family history. I would make a quilt and keep it.

  5. #5
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    If they are in good shape, I would make a small quilt and keep it as part of your family heritage, unless your children show absolutely no interest. Then enjoy it for a while, and tell them what you would like done with it later.

  6. #6
    Power Poster sueisallaboutquilts's Avatar
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    I would make a quilt out of them. Without seeing them I'm thinking to piece the blocks together maybe??
    I wouldn't use repros with them, that just doesn't sit well with me (but they aren't mine, just my opinion) :D
    PLEEEEEEESE post pics!!

  7. #7
    Power Poster amma's Avatar
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    I would finish them into a quilt so they can be more safely passed down :D:D:D

  8. #8
    Super Member AngieS's Avatar
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    That is awesome that you have those. I would put them together in a quilt. :) Can't wait to see.

  9. #9
    Super Member sewcrafty's Avatar
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    I also would finish them. Just think of what you'll then be passing down in the family. Truly priceless.

  10. #10
    Super Member Toto's Mom's Avatar
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    Sorry it took me a bit to get the photos. My computer is nearly a 1911 vintage, too, and about as lively.
    Has some age related difficulties.
    Hope these pictures come through.

    single signature block
    Name:  Attachment-157024.jpe
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Size:  66.4 KB
    Attached Images Attached Images




  11. #11
    Super Member yolanda's Avatar
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    I get such a feeling of wonder and honor when I see vintage quilts or blocks. I just finished making a quilt from vintage blocks and found it very reqarding to finish something that a quilter in the past was not able to.

  12. #12
    Super Member OneMoreQuilt's Avatar
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    Wow! What fantastic family heirloom pieces.

  13. #13
    Ginger's Avatar
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    What if you framed the blocks and hung them up to enjoy in a craft room or down the hall or stairwell. Some place out of direct sun light. It would be a shame not to enjoy them.

  14. #14
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    from working with the historical society I can tell you that you do NOT want to make a quilt out of them now. Even if they were stored well and not in a cedar chest or cardboard box, the dyes/fabrics used back then can not handle A-being handled and B- being washed in today's water/detergents!
    Any exposure now will change them rapidly. The more handling the more damage!
    You could make them into an album! Stitch a very nice thick cotton muslin cover like a binder and hand stitch them all into it like a book! You could make a cover page that gives the history of them. Then store that in wrapped in acid free tissue paper in an archival box!
    Remember, cotton is always alive..it is a living fiber. It breathes the air you breathe and absorbs oils, odors, etc..
    if you frame them make sure you have a professional do it so the air is not cut of from them and they dry rot!

    Many historians are now saying not to even quilt vintage tops! Especially if they are of great quality and have signatures!

    See if you have local museum that can assist you in finding the best way to display if you must!

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by frugalfabrics
    small quilt and then put it in a glass frame to protect it. What wonderful treasures you have there.
    This is a very good idea.

  16. #16
    Senior Member Sew Krazy Girl's Avatar
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    The album idea above appeals to me. You may even do some genealogical research to see if any others are related to you. You never know! Write up a little page on each piece you can identify. Of course it would take you away from your quilt - but maybe another family member can help you. Just a suggestion. I'm excited for you.

  17. #17
    Super Member Toto's Mom's Avatar
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    I appreciate all the suggestions. I, too, am thinking they are probably too old and fragile to assemble at this point in their lives.
    I like the album suggestion, as I already have an entire completed Pine Tree quilt dated 1910, from my Grandmother.
    I just wanted to protect these things, and was not sure what to do with them.
    Thanks for all the input.
    Nancy

  18. #18
    Senior Member AndiR's Avatar
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    What a treasure you have, Nancy! (And a cute pup too!!)

    I would contact a quilt appraiser, historian, museum, etc. to get expert advice on the best way to preserve your blocks. Here is one website that may be able to point you to someone who can help:

    http://www.quilthistory.com/restoration.htm

  19. #19
    Super Member Toto's Mom's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AndiR
    What a treasure you have, Nancy! (And a cute pup too!!)

    I would contact a quilt appraiser, historian, museum, etc. to get expert advice on the best way to preserve your blocks. Here is one website that may be able to point you to someone who can help:

    http://www.quilthistory.com/restoration.htm
    Thank you for this link. There are many sources to check out listed here. This should keep me busy for a while!
    And Toto thanks you, too. He thinks he is FAR better looking than the cats! :D

  20. #20

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    These are wonderful. I would make a quilt and hang it on a wall. It is a part of your family you can never get back. My mama's mother was born in 1910.

  21. #21
    Super Member Luv Quilts and Cats's Avatar
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    I would put them in a quilt, use reproduction fabrics, and put a label on the back with all the information you have about them. Keep it in the family. Even if no one wants it now, some one down the line might.

  22. #22
    Super Member 117becca's Avatar
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    Are there family members that would appreciate the history behind these blocks? If there are, then you might consider having them professionally framed. I just priced 10 inch square frames at "my framer guy" and it would run me about $40 each ~ w/ the fabric square laying on mat board..

    If not, then, I gotta admit that i would be heading to a quilt store looking for some fabrics to add sashes between the squares and then putting it into a quilt.

    I probably wouldn't wash it after completing it though.....

    I also find it a tremendous honor to finish a quilt top/blocks that someone so lovingly put together, but for whatever reason wasn't able to finish the project.

  23. #23
    Senior Member trueimage's Avatar
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    I wonder why one block is different? I hope you are able to preserve them for a long time coming!

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by trueimage
    I wonder why one block is different? I hope you are able to preserve them for a long time coming!
    There is always one who cant follow.directions.

    These blocks are of a vintage that most likely will not hold up to the quilting process. Even if you guilted it by hand, these old fabrics tend to split along the quilting lines.
    I love the album idea.

  25. #25
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    Not only would I hand stitch them together, I would transfer some photos onto blocks of folks that made and signed the blocks. That is assuming you have some photos. What a treasure to have. Please post finished results.
    Donna

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