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Buying old/antique quilts

Buying old/antique quilts

Old 05-26-2012, 06:01 AM
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Default Buying old/antique quilts

I was looking through craigslist and chanced upon old/antique quilts for sale.
Anyone has experience in collecting older quilts in fairs/flea markets/craigslist?
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Old 05-26-2012, 06:04 AM
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I've gotten older quilts at auctions and a couple from family members. What is it that you want to know?
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Old 05-26-2012, 06:08 AM
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I've bought some for VERY reasonable prices ($25 max for a well-finished quilt, but usually $10 or less) at garage sales, estate sales, auctions and thrift stores ... and from craigslist. My only advice is to shop carefully, bargains are out there but so are ripoffs. One auctioneer sold 2 used quilts, a cutter quilt, a baby quilt, some feed sacks and bed linens as a box of rags - all for $10 ... that's been my best deal yet ... and it was at the end of a long day. I don't get that lucky very often; most of the time I walk away with nothing ... or at least, my money in my pocket.
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Old 05-26-2012, 06:11 AM
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I am looking at the care aspects. Do you wash them?
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Old 05-26-2012, 06:16 AM
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Since I buy quilts to be used (in one way or another), I wash them in my machine on cold water as I do regular laundry. If it doesn't hold up, it gets to be a cutter quilt. If you are collecting for heirloom quality, some people hand wash gently to preserve the quality of the quilt. It depends upon your goals in purchasing old quilts.
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Old 05-26-2012, 06:22 AM
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Thanks Marymo. I am more looking at collecting them for display, not so much for use. I am just a little wary about what old qults have been through, if I should be washing them first, and if I wash them, I will spoil them.
But I really love the look and feel of old quilts.
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Old 05-26-2012, 06:25 AM
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I also wash them in my washer with some white vinegar in the wash cycle. Often times you will have to repair a seam or two.... I had to replace fabric on one quilt. The same fabric just frayed away in all the blocks. You have to remember that years ago people often quilted for utility, not beauty. They used fabrics from old clothes that might have been worn out and sometimes the fabrics weren't all cotton. Even if they were, they might have a dye that weakens them over time. And, bleeding colors is another problem. The colors weren't always fast back years ago. That's why I add the white vinegar.
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Old 05-26-2012, 06:30 AM
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Great tip, nanna-up-north.
So, just to be clear to newbie me, do you wash with detergent, or just vinegar?
Thanks

Last edited by liont; 05-26-2012 at 06:45 AM.
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Old 05-26-2012, 07:32 AM
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Reasons to NOT wash vintage/antique quilts:
1. AQS certified appraisers say it will downwardly affect the appraisal value.
2. Many "old" fabrics will begin to disintegrate when wet, either from undetected dry rot or from the 'rust' of iron mordant dyes.
3. Fading may be more noticeable after washing.
4. Bleeding of the colors is possible in older fabrics.
5. If the quilt has never been washed, shrinking may be sporadic and affect the design and flatness of the quilt.

Reasons FOR washing a vintage/antique quilt:
1. Who knows where this quilt has been!
2. There may be molds, pollens, animal danders on the quilt that will affect the new owner.
3. Some stains left on a quilt surface will cause damage to fabrics.
4. You don't plan to use the quilt for it's museum/monetary value.
5. You will be placing the quilt on your bed or other furniture -- see #1.
6. Your baby/toddler will claim it as his own -- see #1.
7. You plan to share it with your guild which has many members -- see #2. (My guild, for instance, has a strict no perfume/scents/odors policy)
8. You don't know the 'real' value of the quilt and don't plan to pay for an appraisal ever.

I generally wash, for all the above reasons, but collect only quilts that have been 'loved' and have 'history'. I don't expect to ever have another museum quality quilt that I have to protect with such care I can hardly enjoy it. (other than my family quilt from ca. 1780 that is now in the textile museum in Colonial Williamsburg.)

Jan in VA

Last edited by Jan in VA; 05-26-2012 at 07:34 AM.
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Old 05-26-2012, 07:43 AM
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Thanks Jan in VA. That is a comprehensive list
Wow, you have some history there. Amazing.
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