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Thread: Antique quilts

  1. #1
    Senior Member QuiltingCrazie's Avatar
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    Antique quilts

    I'm probably going to get blasted for this topic but I have a question. Members of my guild already did that lol. I won an antique quilt through a raffle at our guild auction. It's beautiful, made in the 1930's by someones Gran and and three sisters got together and hand quilted it last year then donated it for raffle. The pattern is spiderweb they are huge made from cottons. My question is can I wash it? It's a huge quilt, queen size. I believe quilts should be used, why make them if they are not intended for use? I don't want to wear it out at all, there is no applique just pieced. It's displayed in my house right now. Please tell me what the "rules" are for a quilt this old, it has never been washed or used. My intention is to enjoy it not ruin it! I dont want to wash it and risk the top falling apart. It looks very well made. Thanks!
    *Rachel*

  2. #2
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    I would wash it, I was given and antique Sun Bonnett Sue quilt top and i washed it in my washing machine because it was stained. It came out very nice then I hand quilted it. There was a lot of applique on it and nother came apart. Use you gentle cycle if you do this

  3. #3
    Super Member Pat625's Avatar
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    I don't blame you for wanting to use it!! If you are afraid to wash it, could you send it for dry cleaning? Personally, tho, I think if you use the Gentle cycle it should wash just fine

  4. #4
    Super Member DogHouseMom's Avatar
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    I would wash it in a front load machine only ... I wouldn't agitate it in a top loader. Dry on no more than half heat setting ... or wait until the summer when you can line dry it.
    May your stitches always be straight, your seams always lie flat, and your grain never be biased against you.

    Sue

  5. #5
    Super Member Daylesewblessed's Avatar
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    I also would wash it, but very gently. My preference for washing vintage quilts is to use the bathtub, avoiding agitation and wringing. Before getting it wet, you might want to test for colorfastness.

    It sounds like a wonderful quilt, and I can see why you would want to have it completely clean before using it in your home.

  6. #6
    Senior Member BeckyB's Avatar
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    I too would want to use it. I think that is what a quilt is intended for....to use. Like the others have said I would use a gentle cycle.
    It is easier to be wise for others than for ourselves.

  7. #7
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    Moisten a piece of white cloth and gently rub on the colours you suspect might run. If there is colour transfer then you can decide if you want to chance it. I would hand agitate in a bathtub and let out the water and let it rest in the tub until most of the water has seeped out. I would prefer to let it dry laying out on a white sheet outside rather then in the dryer.

  8. #8
    Power Poster PaperPrincess's Avatar
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    I would also use a bath tub, with a mild detergent. I would also put a sheet on the bottom of the tub. When done washing, drain the tub and gently squeeze the water out, then use the sheet to lift the quilt out so there is no strain on the fabric.
    "I do not understand how anyone can live without one small place of enchantment to turn to."
    Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings

  9. #9
    Senior Member liont's Avatar
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    Why would we blast you? We just want to see a picture.
    Pretty please..?

  10. #10
    Super Member GrannieAnnie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by QuiltingCrazie View Post
    I'm probably going to get blasted for this topic but I have a question. Members of my guild already did that lol. I won an antique quilt through a raffle at our guild auction. It's beautiful, made in the 1930's by someones Gran and and three sisters got together and hand quilted it last year then donated it for raffle. The pattern is spiderweb they are huge made from cottons. My question is can I wash it? It's a huge quilt, queen size. I believe quilts should be used, why make them if they are not intended for use? I don't want to wear it out at all, there is no applique just pieced. It's displayed in my house right now. Please tell me what the "rules" are for a quilt this old, it has never been washed or used. My intention is to enjoy it not ruin it! I dont want to wash it and risk the top falling apart. It looks very well made. Thanks!

    If you use Oxy-clean or something of that type, you can put the quilt in the tub, let it soak, agitate it by hand, rinse good and let it drain. Find something to hang it over in the tub, maybe a plastic chair. Be careful picking up a wet quilt so you don't tear it, keep it bunched up. After it's drained real well, hang it outside, still folded in 4ths, then bring it in to the dryer.
    Bad Spellers of the World
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  11. #11
    Super Member GrannieAnnie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PaperPrincess View Post
    I would also use a bath tub, with a mild detergent. I would also put a sheet on the bottom of the tub. When done washing, drain the tub and gently squeeze the water out, then use the sheet to lift the quilt out so there is no strain on the fabric.

    Great idea with the sheet under to support the quilt.
    Bad Spellers of the World
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  12. #12
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    I purchased an antique sun bonnet sue quilt top, 49 blocks, with sashing and corner stones. I custom quilted it on my longarm. It had stains and I wanted to show it in the fair. I took it to a commercial washing center, used a large front loading washer, added 4 color catchers, washed on gentle and prayed. Came out fine, lots of color on the catchers but no fading on the quilt. Then I machine dried it in the large dryers. It came out so pretty and soft and clean. I did take second prize at the fair on it in the antique quilt section.

  13. #13
    Super Member irishrose's Avatar
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    I wash two quilts from the 50s all the time. Fill the washer with your detergent in it. Put in the quilt and let it soak a few minutes, then agitate, spin and rinse on gentle for the short wash cycle. I switch my washer to the regular cycle for the last spin to remove as much water as possible to cut down on dryer time. Dry in a large dryer until almost dry and spread it out to dry - a sheet protecting the back of the couch works for me. One of the quilts looks new and the one I used heavily looks used, but not from washing.

  14. #14
    Super Member Lori S's Avatar
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    It is a personal belief of mine that using a quilt is honoring a quilt. I would machine wash gentle.

  15. #15
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    I would either have it dry cleaned or take it to a laundrymat and use one of the big washers...then take it home and line dry it. I hang my things out on the line all the way up to freezing weather. If the sun shines, my sheets are on the line! But seriously, dry cleaning would be the best way to go, I think.
    Pam Riggs

  16. #16
    Super Member AliKat's Avatar
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    I asked a well known quilt historian/restorer this question.

    She suggested using Synthropol and my bathtub so there wouldn't be damage from agitation.

    ali
    Have fun quilting! If it isn't fun, you will miss a lot.
    ali

  17. #17
    Super Member Lisa_wanna_b_quilter's Avatar
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    I'd wash it. What use is a quilt you can't wash? If you can never wash it, even just hanging up it is going to get awfully dusty some day.

  18. #18
    Super Member Greenheron's Avatar
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    Listen to the 'bathtub advocates'. (Hadn't heard of the sheet beneath for lifting...great idea.)

  19. #19
    Senior Member TinkerQuilts's Avatar
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    I would recommend not dry cleaning. As many board members have said, the chemicals used in that process can destroy a quilt. I advised my MIL not to dry clean a quilt I gave to her and Dad. She gave it back to me five years later to repair, and said that I told her it must be dry cleaned. She was confused I guess, but it was too far gone for repairs.

  20. #20
    Senior Member QuiltingCrazie's Avatar
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    Thanks for all your advise and help!! Here are the pics of the quilt. Thanks again!
    Attached Images Attached Images


    *Rachel*

  21. #21
    Super Member ptquilts's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Daylesewblessed View Post
    I also would wash it, but very gently. My preference for washing vintage quilts is to use the bathtub, avoiding agitation and wringing. Before getting it wet, you might want to test for colorfastness.

    It sounds like a wonderful quilt, and I can see why you would want to have it completely clean before using it in your home.
    I agree, I have washed many antique quilts in the tub. Never did one in a machine. Be sure you rinse thoroughly, and line dry, or spread on a blanket in the sun.

    ETA - just saw the pics, HOLY COW what a quilt!! Lucky you!!

  22. #22
    Senior Member omaluvs2quilt's Avatar
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    I just received an old quilt from my husbands Aunt and it was badly stained. I don't know how old it is, guessing maybe 1930's, but I first tried the buttermilk/lemon soak in the bathtub overnight (didn't work very well). Then I tried oxy & dawn and the water became instantly brown. After a few short soakings, rinsing and gentle squishing, most of the staining came out and the quilt looks awesome! I spun it gently in my frontloader and layed it on a sheet in my entryway to dry.

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  23. #23
    Senior Member batikmystique's Avatar
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    I would wash in a front loading machine, warm water, gentle cycle and use a product called Synthrapol. If there are any dyes that come out in the washing cycle the Synthrapol will suspend them in the water and they will be eliminated when the wash water is drained. For the rinse cycle I would suggest cold water. I would recommend drying in the dryer on low heat until completely dry and not putting it out in the sun to dry. I would not want to risk the possibility of the sun bleaching out any colors over time using this drying method. However, if you can dry it in a consistently shaded area, then that would be absolutely fine.
    Creative clutter is better than idle neatness.

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