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Thread: Question to older quilters?

  1. #1
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    Question to older quilters?

    I have not been quilting long and never had anyone in the family
    quilt so i have self taught myself
    my question is?
    A dear friend was talking about old quilts she can remember as a child
    how they were great to lay on the ground to play on
    she said she remember hearing them say how hard they were to pull the
    (batting) not sure what they were using it would have been from the
    50's early 60"s
    does anyone have any idea what they are talking about
    i would to be able to help her

  2. #2
    Super Member feline fanatic's Avatar
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    They could have been referring to "carding". It is a process done on many fibers to prepare them for use from the raw form.

    Here is a link that explains it. At the bottom of the first page continued on to the second.

    http://www.villagequiltworks.com/ima...ttingChart.pdf


    The physical act of carding is kind of like pulling. They lay the fibers on a brush that looks like a big curry brush used in animal grooming. Then another brush is pulled over the first one. It aligns the fibers and removes vegetable matter. Very common in much older quilts then the 50s and 60s though. However the process is still done today so maybe if your friend was brought up in an agricultural community it could have been carding.

    Edited to add, it is my understanding carding was hard tedious work.

  3. #3
    Power Poster Jingle's Avatar
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    I started quilting in the mid 60s and have no clue what she means.
    Another Phyllis
    This life is the only one you get - enjoy it before you lose it.

  4. #4
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    Yes. Years ago quilters did not have available what we do today and batting was not bought on a roll. It was bought in bulk hunks, cotton or wool.. Before layering it, it had o be "pulled" apart evenly and spread over the backing. As you can imagine, this was difficult and time consuming. Often quilters re-used quilts or blankets in place of batting, to save all this work. When you see old quilts with lumpy batting it was because there was not enough actual quilting, or the quilts were tied. Aren't we lucky today??

  5. #5
    Super Member charsuewilson's Avatar
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    Sounds like one of two things.

    1. Trying to straighten out the batting after washing the quilt.

    2. The birthing process. Trying to pull the whole quilt through the little hole left after sewing the whole thing together. And trying to get the batting to lie flat after birthing so you can quilt it.

    For #1, the only thing I can think of would be to use a fork that will go through the fabric so you can move the batting around.

    For #2, leave a larger hole for birthing. You could use spray adhesive to hold the batting to the backing. Then it will be easier to straighten out the top. OR you could use spray adhesive the hold the whole sandwich together and then quilt it and then put binding on.

    Sue

  6. #6
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    I remember my grandmother talking about doing the "carding". She would tell us how they bought or made their own batting in bulk bags and used combs like things to flatten and connect the pieces together to make a sheet of batting like felting wool I suppose.

  7. #7
    Super Member sak658's Avatar
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    Just so happen to have a pair of carders...My mother used them in the 40's and 50's..she took cotton that was just picked and carded them to take out the seeds...they are now on display in my sewing room...love vintage things like that...they still have bits of cotton in them......that is short wire bristles on the paddles...Name:  Carders used for carding 001.JPG
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Size:  124.3 KBName:  Carders used for carding 003.JPG
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Size:  111.1 KB

  8. #8
    Super Member sak658's Avatar
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    For the ones not knowing what carders were...

    Name:  Carders used for carding 001.JPG
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Size:  124.3 KBName:  Carders used for carding 003.JPG
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Size:  111.1 KB These belonged to my mother...she used them in the 40's and 50's to card the cotton...(that she picked) to take out the seeds..so she could use the cotton in her quilts...Hard work...I have these on display in my sewing room...they are priceless...I remember her doing this...

  9. #9
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    This is interesting. I have some carders. I'm wondering, how did she use the cotton in her quilting?

    Just FYI you can still get these from a few companies that sell spinning fiber. (In case anyone was interested)

  10. #10
    Super Member sak658's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mooshie View Post
    This is interesting. I have some carders. I'm wondering, how did she use the cotton in her quilting?

    Just FYI you can still get these from a few companies that sell spinning fiber. (In case anyone was interested)
    I don't remember that part...I just remember sitting and watching her card the cotton...I should have ask her I guess...but she's gone now..I lost her in Feb 2004 at the age of 93...quilted all her adult life..and then I started quilting with her..in later years...I have her featherweight ...and my wonderful memories...

  11. #11
    Super Member feline fanatic's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mooshie View Post
    I'm wondering, how did she use the cotton in her quilting?

    Just FYI you can still get these from a few companies that sell spinning fiber. (In case anyone was interested)
    Common practice was to use it as batting. This is why so many older quilts had to be so closely quilted as the cotton was simply carded so migrated easily if not quilted densely. Some still use hand carded wool for batting as well.

  12. #12
    Power Poster twinkie's Avatar
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    I am not sure but am going to read the answers to find out.

  13. #13
    Super Member Grace MooreLinker's Avatar
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    I remember my Mom carding cotton to make the batting for quilts. This was to remove seeds/other matters and to smooth it out in a flat matted form of batting. this was in the 40's.
    Freedom is costly and quilting keeps us busy...

  14. #14
    Super Member nanna-up-north's Avatar
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    My husband's aunt showed me once how they carded the cotton. She was from Arkansas and had a lot of raw cotton growing in nearby fields. Wads of cotton bolls we placed along the long edge of one card and then they combed the cotton by pulling the 2 cards apart, handles opposite. This was done several times to make the fibers lay straight and parallel with each other. Then, they would comb the cotton off the card by pushing the 2 cards together. The fibers would roll up along the long edge and then the roll would be placed on the quilt. Once enough rolls were laying on the quilt, side by side, they would pat them all together and start quilting.

    I tried it. It's not easy and I can certainly see why they quilted lines so close together. The aunt is gone now.... she was the coolest lady..... but I still have a couple of the quilts she made before WWII. I cherish them. Those ladies worked from sun up to sun down, trying to do things for their families with never a thought of themselves.

  15. #15
    Super Member Daylesewblessed's Avatar
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    Nanna-up-north, your description of the process is wonderful! It is hard to imagine how much work it was from beginning to end of a quilt. It is easy to understand why there are so many vintage quilt tops, since sewing the tops, even if by hand, was the easist part of the process.

    In addition, they ladies in the south grew and picked their own cotton for the batting.

  16. #16
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    Not sure of what you speak, the heading older quilters caught my eye. Then before I looked the next question was how old? Not sure but this age thing and quilting has me thinking. lol I think partly from my memories of photos of older women quilting, they were gray haired little old ladies, which I do not include myself in, yet.....lol Hope you get your answer I know I was no help.

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    My grandma used to card sheep wool, and put that in quilts! I have two that she carded the wool and used as batting and believe me they are warm. So we are talking old probably as early as the 20s and 30s .. !
    llweezie

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    It's been a while since I've seen her but I worked in a beauty salon and we had a client who used to raise llamas and alpacas. She would take them out of town to get them sheared then she kept the wool and she would card it and spin her own wool and local cotton. She made some of the most beautiful quilts.

  19. #19
    Super Member maryb119's Avatar
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    I remember my grandmother had a pair of carders. She told me they were for pulling cotton and that your knuckles would get skinned up and she hated doing the job. Glad we have the pre-made battings available now.

  20. #20
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    I still have two wool batts, one has a cover on it and the other is still in the roll as it came from the woolen mill. This woolen mill was still open in the late 1990's. They would take my old batts that I took out of quilts that needed to be redone (need a new top, or batting had shifted) and wash the wool and recard it. Then I could take this "new" batt and make another quilt. A wool quilt is the best for warmth. The reason they are just sitting there in my closet, is because I am afraid to make a quilt out of them now, as everyone puts their quilts in the washing machine, and you can't do that with wool quilts. I had one dry cleaned a few years ago. Very expensive.
    Mavita - Square dancer and One Room School Teacher

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    Quote Originally Posted by sak658 View Post
    I don't remember that part...I just remember sitting and watching her card the cotton...I should have ask her I guess...but she's gone now..I lost her in Feb 2004 at the age of 93...quilted all her adult life..and then I started quilting with her..in later years...I have her featherweight ...and my wonderful memories...
    Nice story and great memories! How wonderful that you have a part of her life she enjoyed and you have taken quilting. What a tribute!

  22. #22
    Super Member IBQUILTIN's Avatar
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    I remember watching my Grandmother card cotton and pat it ever so carefully over a piece of muslin to use in her quilts. Its one of the reasons I started quilting myself. It just fascinated me. Fortunately, I've never had to card any of my own. It was a long and painstaking task.

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    They used real sheeps wool and used these big brushes to clean and fluff up these chunks of wool. My Mom used to do that when I was little and she would have these piles of nice fluffy see through wool blocks. I still have one of her quilts but don't know how a person would wash that wool. I still have the brushes too. Looking back now that was a lot of work.
    Fran

  24. #24
    Super Member crafty pat's Avatar
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    I remember my grandmother picking the cotton and getting it down on the floor to card it. Remembering how it was done it must have been back breaking work.

  25. #25
    Senior Member GramMER's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sak658 View Post
    I don't remember that part...I just remember sitting and watching her card the cotton...I should have ask her I guess...but she's gone now..I lost her in Feb 2004 at the age of 93...quilted all her adult life..and then I started quilting with her..in later years...I have her featherweight ...and my wonderful memories...
    Hey! I am not that old and I remember watching quilters card the cotton. In fact, when I was in high school Home Economics classes, we had to do that for one of our projects.

    My daddy grew the cotton and we sometimes saved some of it for quilt batting (before it went to the gin). Does anyone remember the gins? Yes, the quilting was much closer then, and there were sometimes "stickers" in the cotton when the carding was insufficient. Little pieces of the boll might be left and show through white fabric. Quilts were heavy when they were wet in the wash, but they lasted. I still have five or six my grandmother and her sisters made stored somewhere... the story of my life! Storage, always storage... (sigh).
    GramMER to eighteen, plus two great-granddaughters and four adopted greats soon we hope!

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