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Thread: Very Old Quilt Blocks

  1. #1
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    I have some "very" old quilt blocks that were my great grandmother's. There are enough for an entire quilt top.

    These blocks are probably close to 100 years old but are in great condition. I would love to make these up into something to preserve them but not sure how they will hold up. The cloth seems to be strong still.

    They are so beautiful and a family heirloom, I don't want to run the risk of losing them. Any suggestions on what to do with them?

  2. #2
    Super Member kwhite's Avatar
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    Pictures would be nice. We will know more then. Plus there was another recient thread about old blocks and how to care for them. You might want to look that up and read through too.

  3. #3
    Super Member Elisabrat's Avatar
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    Truthfully I would put them together and then hang this item behind protected glass.. make it something to look at but not wash and play with. If your family is larger maybe make four wall quilts not one big quilt and share with everyone a framed piece of the past as a gift at Christmas.

  4. #4
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    I have a quilt my mother made over 75 years ago. I just this last week cut all the yarns ties and I am going to take the cotton sutuffing out and insert the cotton batting we have today. Only 3 of the diamond blocks need to be sewn back. It is in really good shape. Your blocks should hold up. Precious is a quilt made from blocks this old. Good Luck!

  5. #5
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    I will get them out of the cedar chest and try taking pictures so I can post them. I will keep searching. I have been trying to find a thread about it this morning.

    NancyA

  6. #6
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    What a great idea.

  7. #7
    Senior Member yourstrulyquilts's Avatar
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    Oh please take them out of the cedar chest!! The interaction of the cotton fabric and wood will cause the fabric to yellow and weaken the threads. Fabric should never be stored in anything made from wood or wood pulp, like boxes or newspaper. Instead, wrap them in acid free paper and put them in a pillowcase, then store them in a plastic box. I'll be looking forward to seeing your mom's blocks. They indeed are precious.

  8. #8
    Super Member PurplePassion's Avatar
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    Just wondering ....if it is so bad to store things in the cedar chest, then what are we suppose to use it for? I have my Mom's cedar chest and have the old quilts and afgans in it . I don't have any where else to store them. Elaine

  9. #9
    Senior Member yourstrulyquilts's Avatar
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    I always wondered that too. I have a cedar chest and I didn't know what to do about the things I had stored there. So I just wrapped them in acid free paper and put the plastic box in the cedar chest. So far, so good..................I probably won't be around to see them turn yellow anyway, but my girls will. LOL I guess I should have said not touching the wood or wood fiber..............

  10. #10
    Super Member Quilt Mom's Avatar
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    Wasn't cedar used originally to keep moths out of winter wollens?

  11. #11
    Super Member jljack's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Quilt Mom
    Wasn't cedar used originally to keep moths out of winter wollens?
    Yes, that was exactly the original intent. We have cedar lined closets in our house that was built in 1940. It's to keep bugs out....silver fish, moths, etc.

  12. #12
    Senior Member yourstrulyquilts's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Quilt Mom
    Wasn't cedar used originally to keep moths out of winter wollens?

  13. #13
    Super Member Lockeb's Avatar
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    For those family souvenirs...those antique blocks - I would personally have them mounted and framed...what a stunnng showcase of artwork they would be!

  14. #14
    Senior Member yourstrulyquilts's Avatar
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    I know what happens to fabric, but don't know how to work the computer very well!! LOL I had it written to post, then lost the answer!. Well, here we go again.
    The heavy scent of cedar is thought to mask the scent of wool, which is the target for egg-laying moths, effectively preventing her from laying her eggs. It doesn't repel them so much as it confuses the scent, in which case lavender, tansy, or rosemary will work as well. There is very little evidence that cedar actually works. The damage to wool is caused by the moth larvae, not the moth itself. The Eastern Red Cedar will kill small larvae over time in an airtight cabinet.

    The real problem with storing fabric directly on the wood in a cedar chest, is that the lignon in the wood is an acid and will weaken the fabric over time and turn it yellow. So it's a very good idea to wrap those precious quilts and blocks in acid-free paper and store them in a plastic box. I'll have to research the effects of the cedar scent on fabric, because I don't know if there is any effect at all.

  15. #15
    Power Poster Ninnie's Avatar
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    The best way to store quilts is on an unused bed. You can place them on the bed, and then cover them with a bedspread, and you will not have fold lines in them. And no light will get to them, but air will

  16. #16
    Power Poster amma's Avatar
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    I like the idea of using them in smaller quilts to be admired. The bigger the quilt, the more stress on the fabrics if it is displayed even carefully.
    I can't wait to see them, and what your decision is :D:D:D

  17. #17
    Senior Member yourstrulyquilts's Avatar
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    This is true, if you have an extra bed. If you do have to fold the quilts, fold them into a long piece, then roll them and tie it with a piece of fabric, and store them in a pillow case or acid-free paper.

  18. #18
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    Honestly, they have been stored in a cedar chest for around 50 years without an detrimental affect. I never heard of this, but the opposite. Cedar was always used by my Grandmother for storing anything fabric. Interesting....

  19. #19
    Power Poster Jingle's Avatar
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    I have stuff - quilt,comforter blankets and such stored in a cedar chest, in heavy laundry bags. Some blankets weren't in the bags and I don't see anything wrong with them. I washed and dried them and are now in use and they seem fine to me. These were in there probably 15 or so years.

  20. #20
    Pineapple Princess's Avatar
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    Is it just cedar? I have a huge maple cradle my dad made for me when I was born that I store my quilts in. Right now, they're all in bags, but I was wondering...

  21. #21

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    I friend of mine just finished a quilt that she had made out of some old blocks her mother-in-law had made. She took some digital pictures of old (sepia) photos of family members, printed them on fabric. She also took pictures of excerpts from her mother-in-laws diary, some of her favorite recipes and other momentos. She alternated these blocks with the quilt blocks. It was very charming and sentimental. She gave the quilt to her sister-in-law for a birthday present. Wish I had a photo to share.

  22. #22
    Super Member oldswimmer's Avatar
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    I had a friend long ago who said that she somehow "sealed" her cedar chest, but now I don't remember how she did it. It seems to me that she put some sort of wood sealer, and sanded and then painted it. I have not heard of this from any other place. Anybody know if that would actually work?

  23. #23
    Senior Member yourstrulyquilts's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pineapple Princess
    Is it just cedar? I have a huge maple cradle my dad made for me when I was born that I store my quilts in. Right now, they're all in bags, but I was wondering...
    No not just cedar; all wood. I've seen a lot of very old quilts that were stored in cedar chests, or other wooden boxes and they had lots of large yellow spots on them. It's so hard to get out.There are a couple of products that will remove some of it.
    However, most chests were not sealed in any way back then. So it may be different if the wood is sealed. I'll have to talk to my guru and get back to you............

  24. #24
    Senior Member flikkem's Avatar
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    My former mother in law gave me some Sunbonnet Sue blocks many years ago. The fabric was all there so I finished the blocks and added some soft turquoise sashing to make a quilt for my daughter's first big bed. It was later passed on to our granddaughter.

  25. #25
    Senior Member flikkem's Avatar
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    Forget to send you a picture of the Sunbonnet Sue quilt. It is attached.
    Attached Images Attached Images

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