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Thread: Cleaning Grandmothers old quilt blocks?

  1. #1
    Senior Member diannemc's Avatar
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    When I was at my mothers cleaning out some of her old fabrics...I ran across some of my Grandmothers old blocks...How do I need to clean these..? Thought I would try to put them together somehow and pass them on the my two girls...Any suggestions on how to do this..These are probably 40 years old maybe older!!
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  2. #2
    Senior Member diannemc's Avatar
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    Here are pictures..sorry!
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  3. #3
    Super Member bamamama's Avatar
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    What about putting them together as a sampler quilt and washing after you have finished the quilt?

    Otherwise maybe hand wash gently and hang to dry?

  4. #4
    Senior Member grannyoquilting's Avatar
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    I would wait to wash after also. Some of the fabrics may be fragile so be very careful what ever you do. What a great memory quilt it will be for your girls.

  5. #5
    Power Poster amma's Avatar
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    I have the same dilemma. I have to wash them, so that they can be pressed. I am afraid if I don't, I will press in the stains and they will be permanent :(

    I am going to use a little Woolite and gently hand wash them, let them air dry :D:D:D

  6. #6
    Super Member fleurdelisquilts.com's Avatar
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    I'd also wait. Put the quilt top together and quilt densely then hand wash very gently and spread on a sheet to dry. Cover with a second sheet to keep the sun from harming the fabrics. Good luck. You are very lucky to have found these. And smart to want to do something with them.

  7. #7
    Super Member stacey65's Avatar
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    wow how nice is that fined...

  8. #8
    Colorful Quilter's Avatar
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    What a wonderful collection, and memories, I would either hand wash carefully or make the quilt and wash afterwards

  9. #9
    Power Poster CarrieAnne's Avatar
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    They are sure nice!

  10. #10
    Super Member ladyshuffler's Avatar
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    Craftybear had listed something on here, but do you think I could find it NOOOOOOOOO-
    Well anyway here is what it showed:
    A container large enough to hold what you need to clean
    fill with water- did not say at what temp
    1 quart buttermilk
    2 tbs lemon juice
    stir
    you can leave in this solution as long as needed...will not harm the fabric

    wash under running water with mild soap until clear and clean of buttermilk-
    Hope this helps

  11. #11
    Super Member LoisN's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by amma
    I have the same dilemma. I have to wash them, so that they can be pressed. I am afraid if I don't, I will press in the stains and they will be permanent :(

    I am going to use a little Woolite and gently hand wash them, let them air dry :D:D:D
    Good idea. That would be my advise.

  12. #12
    Super Member JJean's Avatar
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    Fabric treasures!

  13. #13
    Super Member Stacey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by amma
    I have the same dilemma. I have to wash them, so that they can be pressed. I am afraid if I don't, I will press in the stains and they will be permanent :(

    I am going to use a little Woolite and gently hand wash them, let them air dry :D:D:D
    Me, too. Was given a 30's top to quilt but have to wash it so I can iron it before quilting. Was thinking of the Woolite solution also.

  14. #14
    Super Member oksewglad's Avatar
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    I just came across some very dirty doll clothes made from old feed sacks. My solution is to soak them in Biz and cold water for a couple of hours-proportions as listed on the box. Then rinse again in cold water. If they still need cleaning do another soak, but now that the dirt has been soaked out it can soak for a longer period of time, ie overnight. After a final rinse in cold water, let them air dry and should be ready to use.

  15. #15
    Power Poster sueisallaboutquilts's Avatar
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    Dianne, what sweet blocks!! I've washed a lot of old blocks and tops.
    I would wash them before using them. That way you can see exactly what condition they are in. I would soak them though, not the washer. Oxyclean is good stuff.
    Let us know what you do!

  16. #16
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    I would hand wash them in a mild detergent and let them dry
    naturally. I would not put them in a washing machine, even on the delicate cycle, nor would I put them in a dryer. Putting a stabilizer or some lining fabric on the back of the block might help to anchor it and make it stronger.

    Good luck with them. (P.S. Something forty years old is not
    old.) LOL

  17. #17
    Super Member oksewglad's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sueisallaboutquilts
    Dianne, what sweet blocks!! I've washed a lot of old blocks and tops.
    I would wash them before using them. That way you can see exactly what condition they are in. I would soak them though, not the washer. Oxyclean is good stuff.
    Let us know what you do!

    Yes I have soaked with Oxyclean as well. Another product to use is Orvus--the gentle soap to wash quilts in. Originally sold as livestock shampoo used for getting ready for exhibitions and fairs. All products mentioned should not harm the fibers of your blocks. Good luck!

  18. #18
    Junior Member mhuskins1's Avatar
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    Wash by hand in sink with gental soap, pushing on them no twisting !!!lay on towel to pat dry, iron on very low heat just to get the wrinkles out and frame them all !!! Wall quilt !!!! Several gifts !!!!

  19. #19
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    Several months ago Martha Pullen spoke about how she cleans those antique clothes she collects. It involved having a bucket that she let them soak in and if I remember correctly she used Biz. As many colors as there seem to be, you will need to consider that some might "run" and separate them. Before sewing together I would soak them to remove the stains and then gently rinse until the water is clear. Then using either either spray starch or sizing I would press them. Remember that the spray starch would need to be washed out after the quilt is finished because moths like starch.

  20. #20
    Super Member ginnie6's Avatar
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    when I found my Grannie's Sunbonnet Sue blocks they HAD to be washed! They're about the same age as yours. I washed them by hand in the sink with ivory soap then rolled them up in a towel to get extra water out. They came amazingly clean and it didn't hurt them. I've put quite a few of them into quilts now and they're holding up well despite their age.

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