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Sunday, December 2, 2012

Saving Precious, Old Textile Memories

Janet's mother made this adorable quilt
before Janet was born.

I don't know how old Janet is, but this is precious to her. I don't blame her. I don't have anything my mother made me before I was born. I know she cherishes this memory in front of her. By following one little practice, the blanket will last longer. Some thing are irreplacable.

Can you see the creases horizontally and vertically on this sweet quilt?
One thing I would suggest is to roll this on a tube. However, that will not happen with my things. The next best thing is to take a towel and fold it about four or more times down the middle. Actually, a towel or sheet or any other flat fabric that will not bleed will work.
The reason I will not use a tube is that tubes used previously are of cardboard and will possibly eat through another fabric that I would use to protect my things. So, I will stay away from cardboard tubes. Instead, I will use another fabric, white fabric to store my textiles.
Use the folded fabric to roll/fold the quilt or other textile you wish to save. Fold/wrap the blanket around this piece of bulky fabric. By doing this, you will keep creases from forming. I plan to do that with my doll quilt Mama made me for Christmas when I was six. I noticed small creases were in the doll quilt and knew that in the very near future the fabric, stressed into creases would split. Yes, splits happen in old, folded textiles. Neither Janet or I would be happy if our quilts were damaged due to our mis-handling.
Another thing I would suggest is to handle old fabric with cloth gloves. I don't do this, but I should. An alternate practice would be to wash and handle as little as possible. If you show it to someone who strokes it, the person has deposited oils that will eat the fabric. Quite possibly, stroking the piece, especially if it has ornamentation will ruin the ornamentation or where it is attached. Seeing people thoughtlessly stroke items of mine really stresses me.
Never store fabric in plastic. Store it in a white sheet or cloth with no residue from hands, detergent or fabric softener. I suggest the storage sheet would be rinsed in vinegar.
Then, store the sheet-wrapped textile in an acid-free box or paper, preferably both.

Another thing I practice--carefully washing my baby clothing every year. Maybe the quilts can wait longer than that. Do not wash a quilt of anykind in a washing machine. Do not wash a ancient quilt at all! PLEASE! Just air them. And, do not hang them at all, ever.
Just a little thoughtful care will double the life of your memories in fabric.
Your turn
Do you have something folded that means the world to you? Do you need to take things out to launder or fold differently? 


  1. I hadn't seen your post until you told me to go back and check!

    It is a pretty little quilt isn't it? We use this one when our little grandson is here.

    I have quilts from my mother, grandmother and great grandmother. As you can imagine they can take up a lot of room it you are not using them. Here is what I do. I have mine laid with as few folds as possible between the box springs and the mattress on both of the larger beds in the house. When I change the dust ruffles (maybe once a year) I re arrange them, check for any problems and then back they go. It is true that this is not a convenient storage place if you use the quilts. Stored like this they are in a dark place, protected from light and dust and from damage. It works for me! Several quilts can be stored this way without taking up any cupboard space.

    I'm 62.

  2. Janet,
    The quilt is precious, very pretty.

    Your storage place is a good choice. I would never have though of it. Maybe you can place the little quilt there, too. Thanks for the picture.


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