Monday, September 17, 2012
Care and Preservation of Fine Quilts
If you own a quilt, consider yourself fortunate! If you know the history of your quilt, consider yourself even more fortunate! Any known fact about the quilt will be a treasure to your loved ones even a century from now. So.....here's how to protect your quilt and document its history. The best place for a quilt is on a bed, under a coverlet. If you hang a quilt on a wall for a decoration, make certain that it does not receive the glare frm the sun or any bright light. If you want to keep the quilt folded and in a closet or drawer, NEVER put it in plastic or zippered cases or cardboard boxes. Never let a quilt come in contact with wood, suach as in a cedar chest! Put the quilt into a pillowcase just as you would a pillow. Remove the quilt often and refold to place the creases in different locations. Quilts will "dry rot" on the creases. "Air" the quilt once in a while just by placing it on a bed. Don't hang it on a clothesline as grandma used to do. They don't like the moisture in the air, nor the bright sunlight or ultraviolet rays on cloudy days. How to clean a soiled quilt: Most quilts will benefit from a light vacuuming to remove dust. Using masking tape, tape the edges down to a large table. Use a hand-held attachment to vacuum the quilt. Remember that most old quilts have a coon batting between the lining and the quilt top, and extreme cleaning will leave the quilt "limp as a dishrag." Washing an all cotton quilt will usually wash out all of the old batting, and leave you with just the quilt top and the lining. YOu must determine the type of fabrics used in the quilt before cleaning if you are not sure that a quilt is all cotton, test a couple of threads of fabric by touching a lighted match to the threads. COTTON burns rapidly and smells like paper. WOOL burns slowly and smells like scorched hair. POLYESTER and RAYON threads melt. Please remember that REDS usually fade. If the quilt is basically red, don't even consider washing it. I don't advise dry-cleaning quilts for any reason, since cellulose is not soluble in drycleaning fluid. If the quilt has a shiny cotton look, it is probably chintz. Do not wash chintz, as it will lose its shiny look. Use care in cleaning mixed fabric quilts, such as silk/wool or cotton/wool. Spot cleaning is preferred. WASHING A QUILT... Once you have determined the fiber content, and decide that it is safe to wash, get Quilt Soap at a quilt shop and follow the directions explicitly. I usually lay a sheet in the bottom of a bathtub, run cold water to cover the quilt and useing the quilt soap, squish the quilt up and down. Remove the water, and rinse thoroughly. Lift the quilt out of the tub by lifting on a sheet. This keeps the threads from breaking from the strain. Don't wring the quilt. Squeeze gently and roll the quilt in beach towels or just lay it out flat on a sheet on the grass out of the sun and let air dry. DON'T put the quilt in the dryer. You won't ahve a quilt left. Don't hang over the clothesline, as it puts too much strainon the threads and the batting will sift to the bottom of the quilt and be lumpy. TUrn the quilt freqently while drying and change to another sheet if possible. A mattress pad is good to put the quilt on to dry. Later I shall tell how to spot clean a quilt and restore a quilt. Stay tuned to this website! HAPPY DAYS!