Today is letter C in the A to Z challenge. Which means today, the subject is caring for your quilt.
Taking care of an heirloom, or other special quilt isn’t hard. Here are five tips for taking care your special quilt.
1. Limit sun exposure.
For your quilt, keeping it away from the sun’s rays is important. Not only will the sun cause the fabric to fade, but it will also weaken the fibers making your quilt more likely to tear. Of course, this doesn’t mean you can’t display or even use your quilt, just display it away from direct sunlight.
Limited sun exposure for your much used quilts is also helpful. It will keep it from fraying and wearing out too fast. This doesn’t mean you can’t take it outside and use it for a picnic blanket, or to wrap up in at an outside activity. When it’s not in use, keep it away from the sun’s harmful rays. If you keep it in the car, slip it into a pillowcase, it makes a nice cushion or pillow, and protects the quilt from the sun.
2. Reduce stress. Refold a treasure quilt a couple of times a year to avoid stressing the fibers in the fold. Even better is to roll the quilt and avoid creases. When hanging the quilt for display, use a sleeve that go across the quilt, or evenly spaced clips.
You can avoid stressing your much-used quilts by washing them in a machine that doesn’t use an agitator. Since hanging them on the line, or using a dryer are both stressful, choose the method you prefer.
When using a dryer, add two or three clean dry towels to the load to help dry the quilt quicker and add some cushioning from the tumbling and heat. Remove quilt from the machine as soon as it’s dry.
For line drying, drape the quilt over two or three lines to lessen the stress on the fibers. Hang upside down, with the front side not showing to reduce fading. If possible wash and hang outside on a warm cloudy day, even less sun stress or in the shade.
3. Chemical free quilts. I know, you’re thinking who uses chemicals and quilts? Well, no one, unless they’re storing their treasured quilts in an untreated box. Yes, our grand, and great grand mothers did store their quilts in hope chests, and quilt boxes that often were made of cedar. They did it to protect the quilts.
True, but our grandmothers weren’t thinking about saving our quilts for a hundred years or more, just until next winter or sometimes for the next generation. Also, they had a choice, a box giving off gasses that will weaken the fibers of the quilt, or risk critters getting to the quilt and chewing holes. Besides, our grandmothers didn’t know the gases given off by unsealed wood existed, except in the case of cedar, and they didn’t think about it harming their quilts.
For best results store your quilts inside a pillow case, in your inside (away from an outside wall) linen closest. If you prefer (or need) to store them in a quilt box, use one that has been painted or otherwise sealed.
4. Allow it to breath. Give your quilt air.
A treasured quilt that is stored away needs to breath. Avoid storing it in any type of plastic, not a plastic bag or a sealed plastic box.
A much used quilt might be stuffed into a plastic bag for transport, however remove it from the plastic as soon as possible.
Plastic will suffocate a quilt just as it would a person.
5. Enjoy your quilt. A treasured quilt stored away in a pillowcase, in the dark recesses of the closet brings joy to no one. Bring it out of the closet occasionally for your enjoyment. It can be placed on a spare bed or place it, still folded, in a display cabinet. I have a couple in my china cabinet since I’m not a big china person, and the quilts are special.
A much used quilt has no problems, you have it out and in use.
Most important, enjoy your quilts. Whether they are heirlooms passed down from generations past, or are new this year, they are all special. Quilts meant to be further passed down the generational line, and those meant to be used and loved now will all last a little longer with some loving care.