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Thread: Antique quilt

  1. #1
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    Antique quilt

    Hi there. My church has an antique quilt, made in 1887 - 1888 made by a member or members. It was sold in a raffle to raise money for a new church building.

    We are wanting to display it, so the congregation can enjoy it.

    It is in very good condition...though the material has brown stains throughout. There are no worn places. There is beautiful embroidery in each block of the quilt. And in the spaces in between the embroidery are the names (embroidered in red) of the members of the church at that time.

    We need to know how to clean up the quilt and then display it in an encased frame that can be hung on the wall.

    It is the size of a lap quilt, though more square in shape.

    If there are any experts, or if you know of any experts, we would love to hear from you. We are very aware that there are proper ways to handle this quilt. Thank you for any help. Susan Deer

  2. #2
    Power Poster ckcowl's Avatar
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    visit the website for the National Quilt Museum in Nebraska---they have advice and instruction for cleaning/preserving/displaying/storing antique quilts. you could also check to see if you have a local quilt guild - there may be a historian or certified quilt appraiser as a member- or they may know of a local one you can contact
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  3. #3
    Super Member Daylesewblessed's Avatar
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    What a wonderful piece of your congregation's history! Best wishes in your efforts.

  4. #4
    Power Poster QuiltE's Avatar
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    How nice that you have this piece of history for your church.

    Our church has one that is just the quilt top with the names embroidered in 5 point stars, one name per side. It is only brought out periodically, and is always fun to see the names that are still part of the church. Also, for some of the older ones, to share stories from the past.

    Another suggestion would be to contact a local museum for assistance.
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  5. #5
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    Be sure and make a list of the names. So people will be able to read them. Also if the church has any record of when person joined or was bsptized or any other info add to the info.

  6. #6
    Super Member CookyIN's Avatar
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    If you're anywhere near Asheville, NC there's a quilt displayed this way in the Grove Park Inn lobby. Perhaps they could direct you to who did that for them.

  7. #7
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    You could try Retro-Clean to remove the brown spots.

  8. #8
    Power Poster twinkie's Avatar
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    What a wonderful piece of history. Good luck

  9. #9
    Power Poster solstice3's Avatar
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    what a treasure! would love to see it when you get it cleaned.

  10. #10
    Super Member BettyGee's Avatar
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    How wonderful! I have no idea how to clean it and so won't throw out any half baked ideas, but I wish you well in preserving a piece of history and beauty.
    BettyGee, quilter on a Rocky Mountain High

  11. #11
    Super Member quiltingshorttimer's Avatar
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    Your church is so fortunate! What a wonderful piece of history.

    I inherited a couple of old quilts (although much newer than yours) and had to do some cleaning. Be very careful--especially that the red embroider floss doesn't bleed! The National Quilt Musuem site has information and you can google other info. The apprasier that checked out my quilts pointed out that the brown "spots" were actually the tiny husks of the cotton boll and seeds as the batting used at that time was not like ours now. So in other words, she told me to quit trying to get them out!(I had been using a toothbrush and soap thinking they were mildew spots !) If that's the case with your quilt, you could put up some note about the making of the quilt and mention that.
    Also, she really emphasized that the quilt, if it is displayed continually, needs to be encased in a glass that does not let the light (even just regular lights, much less sunlight) deteriorate the fabric and dyes. That is expensive, but doable--even then I'd take a page from museums and not put it in an area with any sunlight.
    Of course you know only wash in a bathtub--I put mine in a plastic laundry basket so there would be no tugging on seams or fabric once it got wet. And used a commercial quilt soap (very gentle). then I laid it on a clean sheet IN THE SHADE outside to dry--flat on the lawn. Need to keep checking this and make sure it stays in the shade, etc. I switched out the sheet a couple of times so that it dried faster. Was very pleased with results. I don't display it regularly and even then only in a bedroom that has no use/sunlight!

  12. #12
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    Great project for a good cause....Good Luck...

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by ckcowl View Post
    visit the website for the National Quilt Museum in Nebraska---they have advice and instruction for cleaning/preserving/displaying/storing antique quilts. you could also check to see if you have a local quilt guild - there may be a historian or certified quilt appraiser as a member- or they may know of a local one you can contact
    That sounds like good information. Also, we have a similar family quilt that has been given to the American Folk Art Museum in New York City. They might be able to supply additional information. Good luck with it.
    Connie

  14. #14
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    The Smithsonian Textile Museum should be able to help you. They also just completed restoration of the Star Spangled Banner, so they may be able to help you with the type of glass to use and whether the quilt should be stored under something like nitrogen to maximize preservation. I have also seen quilts in a museum in Colonial Williamsburg. Perhaps they also have info.

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