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Thread: What should I do with old quilts?

  1. #1
    Super Member raptureready's Avatar
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    Yesterday I was "gifted" with a huge box of goodies. There was lace, felt, patterns, velour, leather, flannel and several old cutter quilts. There was a wool comforter which I'm going to try to find a new home for since I'm allergic to it, an old crazy quilt in sad condition--really sad; three others that I'd like to restore and a double nine patch top that some idiot has cut the centers out of all the small nines. Can these be washed before being restored? Most have old cotton batting a few have blankets or heavy muslin, one doesn't have batting, it's just backed with heavy feed sacks--it's the smallest and will be the easiest to restore. What would be the best way to get them to smell better and feel cleaner before trying to work with them?

  2. #2
    Power Poster sueisallaboutquilts's Avatar
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    I've done a lot of work with old quilts and fabrics.
    From what you wrote and not seeing pics I would soak as many things as I could by hand and tumble dry on low or air-dry (my favorite way). If the quilts are all together I have washed them ( I usually pre-soak quilts in the machine first) and dry on low or again, air dry. I don't like working with anything unless it's cleaned first! Can you post some pics???
    Hope this helps! :D

  3. #3
    Super Member raptureready's Avatar
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    I'll try. I usually quilts out on a bed to take pix and that's just not going to happen with these. I know where they came from and where she got them but I don't know where that lady got them. Maybe I can hang them over the porch railing. It may be a situation where I just have to throw them away but that would be a last resort.

  4. #4
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    sometime quilt restorers like to have the old quilts for their restoration work. Even tho some of the fabric is tattered and torn parts may be usable. Also after cleaning you might consider taking the quilts apart and using or selling the blocks. I have seen large chunks of older fabric in antique stores. How old are the quilts

  5. #5
    Super Member raptureready's Avatar
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    I don't know how old they are. One lady had them but they weren't from family or anything, I'm not sure where or how she came by them. She gave them to a friend of mine that kept 3 to make Christmas stockings from. The rest she gave to me. I just took some pix so hopefully I'll be able to post them.

  6. #6
    Super Member thequilterslink's Avatar
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    at a recent craft show i was at, the woman had made heart shaped ornaments out of cutter quilts, they were really cute, she also made cards out of some of them, cutting shapes and putting on cards, button hole stitched around the shape. really cute

  7. #7
    Senior Member ncsewer's Avatar
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    I have seen old quilts have the good blocks cut and those framed. Great decorations for a sewing room.

  8. #8

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    When I air out my quilts,I put a flat sheet on the ground,then the quilt, and place another flat sheet on top. You can leave it all day and not worry about the sun fading it. On a porch rail,this will eventually break or fray old fabric. A friend of mine gave me 3 old quilts and wanted one of them to be cut up into pillows for some gifts to his family and I got the other 2 quilts. I cut out the 14 inch blocks then I faded a repro fabric, by washing in the dishwasher,I cut 21/2 strips and sewed them around the pillow and added cotton batting,then I tied the added strips to match the original work. It took a little time but they made perfect pillows for the old rockers and antique chairs. His family love them and I got 5 sets of pillows for my family.

  9. #9
    Super Member raptureready's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by raptureready
    Yesterday I was "gifted" with a huge box of goodies. There was lace, felt, patterns, velour, leather, flannel and several old cutter quilts. There was a wool comforter which I'm going to try to find a new home for since I'm allergic to it, an old crazy quilt in sad condition--really sad; three others that I'd like to restore and a double nine patch top that some idiot has cut the centers out of all the small nines. Can these be washed before being restored? Most have old cotton batting a few have blankets or heavy muslin, one doesn't have batting, it's just backed with heavy feed sacks--it's the smallest and will be the easiest to restore. What would be the best way to get them to smell better and feel cleaner before trying to work with them?
    Possibly my favorite but backing and most of the cotton batting have been removed. MANY of the pieces have shredded
    Name:  Attachment-70380.jpe
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    Okay, this isn't an old quilt it's my daughter and her A+A+ bug collection. She got a A+ for the variety and number of insects and an A+ for arrangment and labeling
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    this one is just a top with centers cut out
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    missing centers. I think this one will be relatively easy to fix
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    This one is small, no batting, backed with heavy feed sacks
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    cotton batting, some holes in top and batting, not too bad, hand quilted with heavy thread
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    Love this one, but sadly pieces are missing
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    batting is an old blanket
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    the best of the bunch, nothing really wrong with this one except a few minor moth holes, but it's wool so it's going back---allergies
    Name:  Attachment-107182.jpe
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  10. #10
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    Don't that just make you sick!!! If people realized how much time and work went into a quilt they might take better care of them......but I doubt it! :evil:

  11. #11
    Super Member raptureready's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by marsye
    Don't that just make you sick!!! If people realized how much time and work went into a quilt they might take better care of them......but I doubt it! :evil:
    It does but perhaps they're worn out because they were so well loved---doubtful, if they'd been loved the little tatters would have been mended when they happened. I've got old quilts that have been used for years and still in good shape.

  12. #12
    Super Member quiltingfan's Avatar
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    I am so glad you posted pics. I have 2 of my grandmothers quilts that were loved to pieces. Literally, I did not think they could be fixed. Will keep reading the post to see how you fix them.

  13. #13
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    I bet those were really beautiful when they were first made! Your daughter is a cutie pie, and congrats to her for a job well done!

  14. #14
    Super Member raptureready's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mygirl66
    I bet those were really beautiful when they were first made! Your daughter is a cutie pie, and congrats to her for a job well done!
    Thanks, she was really proud of her collection. We did have to pull the title off before she took it to school and replace it with Josie's Insects. She said her teacher didn't like them to be called "bugs" and wanted everyone to refer to them as "insects".

  15. #15
    Pam
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    Just so you know what happened to the first quilt, some of the old dyes were almost acidic and they ate the fabric away on the one quilt with the centers all missing! For that one I would think you could go ahead and get a close match on fabric color and applique another square right over the shredded pieces.

    I really like the pink & white friendship star, probably a little girl's quilt, do you think it can be saved? I would give it a try, make honest patches and fix it the best you can.

    As for the 4th one, you can replicate the pattern and applique the repair on top again, and the crazy quilt will be just plain fun to fix up! All in all, a great gift, to be sure!

    Your daughter is darling, but how did she have so many bugs available this time of year? Did she already have her creepy crawlie collection started?

  16. #16
    Super Member raptureready's Avatar
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    Your daughter is darling, but how did she have so many bugs available this time of year? Did she already have her creepy crawlie collection started?[/quote]

    Thank you, she's pretty sweet most of the time.
    We've been collecting them since last summer. I went to the dollar store and bought some plastic cups with sealing lids and we have had a whole shelf in our freezer with bug cups just waiting until they were needed. I know it sounds gross but they were sealed up. I'm so glad it's over that I could do a happy dance. I can't stand bugs--alive or dead! We put on gloves and used some cheap tweezers so that we could throw them away. I also don't agree with killing things just to be killing them(unless, of course, they make the mistake of coming inside my house) but it was required for school.

  17. #17
    Super Member sahm4605's Avatar
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    I am not sure if it is loving wear and tear or if it is just carelessness on the part of the owner. I have a quilt from when I was a baby that looks like it has seen much better days. If I let my kids use it it would be in shreds by now.

  18. #18
    Super Member raptureready's Avatar
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    I think that as soon as I get back from vacation I'm going to try to wash them. It's obvious someone has in the past. Not the top or the crazy quilt. The wool one is going back to the previous owner.

  19. #19
    Power Poster earthwalker's Avatar
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    I am a little late with this....(just call me "tail end Charlie"). I would leave them whole to wash them, then re-assess when they have dried out and you can examine them closely and more comfortably. I think it is a wonderful collection and even those that are a little to shredded for repair could have sections cut out and "re-purposed", I have seen some sweet cushions and bears made from old quilt pieces. Let us know how you get on.

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