Jun 9, 2016

caring for my antique quilts

Caring for antique quilts takes some effort. I've been putting off doing it properly, but now I'm totally organized and feel good about how and where my quilts are stored. This one is the star of my collection (so far)! It was made in 1890 by a distant relative! It has some deterioration, but overall its held up very well.
 Here's what I've done. First, I made a simple cotton label using archival ink. Nothing fancy. I loosely attached a label to each quilt and included all the information I know about it. Some of these quilts came to me with index cards that carefully recorded what was known about the quilt, but over time those cards could be lost. I felt it was important to have an actual label sewn to the quilt.
Next I purchased 36 inch boxes so the quilt could lay as flat as possible. These are not archival - I could not afford the $20 - 40 per box price. I lined the box and wrapped the quilts in acid-free archival tissue. I also tied the box on the top (and added grommets for support) so I could easily open it again. And lastly, I labeled the outside of each box.

Most of my antique quilts were given to me by my Aunt Polly. She lives here - in this historic home in Nebraska. The home is a work of art itself! She's been collecting these quilts since the 1950s. This home seems a perfect setting for antique quilts... but a few of them have made the drive home to Texas with the husband and me in the back of that car.
Here's one of my favorites. A brilliant red and white Nine Patch. It needs to be washed - there are many spots that have turned yellow and brown. Do you have experience washing antique quilts? If so, please send me advice!

And this one is a Lone Star made in the 1940s. All hand quilted, of course. And stunning condition.

Lucky me to be surrounded by so many gorgeous quilts. I feel like some of my own quilts are old enough that pretty soon they'll be going in these boxes too! HaHa.

And if I'm really lucky... some day my quilt collection will be stored just like this one!
International Quilt Study Center & Museum, Lincoln, Nebraska.

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