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Caring for Quilts

Caring for ... Joyce Moseley ... many years my mother worked in sales and lived outof a suitcase as she traveled the country, but that didn't stop her from doing some of the most ...

Caring for Quilts
By: Joyce Moseley Pierce

For many years my mother worked in sales and lived out
of a suitcase as she traveled the country, but that
didn't stop her from doing some of the most beautiful
needlepoint and cross-stitch work I've ever seen.
When she retired, she quickly filled up the walls of
her home and kept the local frame shop in business.
After she had given favorites to her children and
filled every white space in her home, she decided to
start making quilts, but instead of just sewing the
pieces of fabric together, she cross-stitched or
needlepointed squares that would be sewn together by
the town's quilting expert.

I was the recipient of one of these beautiful quilts
but because my children were small, I didn't want to
leave it out on a bed where it might get smeared with
peanut butter and jelly, or even worse, colored with
crayons or a permanent marker. Instead, I folded it
up and put it in my closet inside a plastic zippered
bag that my bedspread had come in.

Well, when Mom came to visit the next time, she went
looking for that quilt. I assured her that it was
packed away and that nothing could harm it. After all,
it was sealed in plastic. Nothing could get to it.
Boy, was I wrong!

I learned a lesson from Mom about how to store quilts:

1. Don't ever store them in plastic of any kind! It
doesn't matter that your bedspread came in it. It's
not the same.

2. Don't store them in humid or hot climates. If the
temperature feels good to you, then it's okay for your
quilt. If you live in Houston you shouldn't even own
a quilt!

3. Don't store quilts in attics or garages. It makes
a comfy bed for rodents and insects.

Instead, you should:

1. Store your quilt in a pillowcase or sheet, or
roll it onto a muslin-covered tube.

2. Place a piece of fabric between the pillowcase or
sheet and your quilt to protect it from the acids
in the wood.

3. Twice a year, when the humidity is low and the
air is blowing, air your quilt outside, out of direct
sunlight.

4. Mark your calendar to refold your quilt every 3-4
months so you won't make a permanent crease in
it. Crumple up some acid-free tissue paper to help
eliminate fold lines.

If you feel comfortable in displaying or actually
using your quilts (and isn't that why we make them?),
you'll want to follow these guidelines to make your
quilt last longer and help retain its beauty.

1. Keep your quilts away from direct light. The sun
will make them fade and will age the fabric.

2. If you notice any tears, repair them as soon as
possible. Remember that "a stitch in time saves nine,"
and will help lengthen the life of your quilt.

3. Clean up any accidents immediately. Washable quilts
can be cleaned with cold water. My quilt, with the
delicate cross-stitching fabric and thread, would need
to be dry cleaned by an expert.

4. Before you wash, test the fabric to see if the
colors are going to run. Use a white towel and cold
water to test each color.

5. Do not put quilts in the dryer or hang them over
a clothesline. They should lay flat between two sheets
placed on the grass in the shade.

When I was a young, married woman I discovered a box
of fabric in my grandmother's closet along with the
pattern for a quilt that had been published by the
Kansas City Star in the 1920s. Grandma told me she
had bought the fabric when my dad was born and had
just never made the quilt. She told me if I wanted
to make it, she would pay to have it quilted for me.
I accepted the challenge, and without knowing anything
about quilts (or anything else!), I cut and assembled
all of the pieces. It was beautiful, and I remember the
pride I felt in knowing that I had sewn every stitch,
but even as I laid it across my daughter's
twin-sized bed, I could see how thin and worn the
fabric had become. I wish now I would have used the
pattern and bought newer, more sturdy fabric, that
would have lengthened the life of the quilt, but that
was just one of life's lessons I had to learn.

Going through the process of piecing that quilt helped
me to have a deep appreciation for all of the time
and love that goes into each stitch. As I worked on
it, I tried to imagine my grandmother as a young mother
and wondered what life was like for her. Was motherhood
as challenging for her as it was for me? Did she ever
imagine that she would have a granddaughter who would
treasure this old fabric and the bond it gave to
both of them?

Buying a bedspread is fast and fairly inexpensive
because they are mass produced, but you can't expect
it to give you you the same warm feeling as when you
run your hands over the stitches of a quilt that was
made by you or someone you love. When your hands
caress the fabric and stitches of the quilt you have
painstakingly created, the memories of the past are
guaranteed to rush into your heart. If that quilt was
made by someone who loved you, you will feel a
connection that seems oblivious to time.

Copyright 2002 Joyce Moseley Pierce
http://www.emersonpublications.com
Joyce is a freelance writer and owner of Emerson Publications.She is the creator of "All They'll Need
to Know," a workbook to help families record personal and financial information. She is also the editor of
The Family First NewsletterFeature Articles, an ezine for families with young children.


Source: Free Articles from ArticlesFactory.com

ABOUT THE AUTHOR


Joyce is a freelance writer and owner of Emerson Publications.She is the creator of "All They'll Need
to Know," a workbook to help families record personal and financial information. She is also the editor of
The Family First Newsletter, an ezine for families with young children. http://www.emersonpublications.com



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