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4 Key Tips to Heirloom Quilt Preservation

Summary

We discuss four key considerations for heirloom quilt preservation and if it is realistic to make and give an heirloom quilt to your family?

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4 Key Tips to Heirloom Quilt Preservation

Have you ever decided to make an "heirloom legacy quilt" – one that you will pass on to your family to appreciate for decades to come that took you years to make and hand quilt?

4 Key Tips To Heirloom Quilt Preservation

 

You lovingly purchase only the very best supplies and wash them in the "approved" cleaners, wash your hands prior to working on it each time, store the project in a cotton pillowcase to keep it Ph neutral, etc. Well, there are some people out there doing this! We all want our quilts to outlast us and have people enjoy them, but what lengths are we, and eventually our loved ones, willing to take to keep that quilt preserved properly?

Heirloom Quilt Preservation

 

Will your family wash the quilt properly?

Will they know that there are special cleaners on the market just for quilts? Do they know what temperature to wash and/or dry the quilt? Do they know not to use an industrial washing machine and dryer? Do they know whether the quilt must be dry cleaned because it contains wool or silk batting? If you are going to make an heirloom, these are things that you should consider putting on your quilt label, or at the very least on the pillowcase that the quilt is presented to the recipient in. This will help them to care for the quilt properly so that it may continue to look its best.

Industrial Washer

 

Where should the quilt be kept?

Does your family know that quilts should be kept out of direct sunlight? Will they only keep it in an area where it is properly exposed to air (not in a plastic container) and not have it touching wood that can leach acid into the fabric causing yellowing? If they decide to "put it away" do they know that the quilt should not be stored on a bare wooden shelf, in a cedar chest, in a plastic bin, in an unconditioned space or touching paper or a cardboard box? All of these items can contribute to the untimely demise of the beautiful quilt. Even acid-free tissue paper becomes acidic over time so that it needs replacing every 3 years or so. Take the time to educate your family about the needs of an heirloom so that they will be able to properly care for it and help your legacy quilt to enjoy many years of admiration.

No Cedar Chest

 

Do they know who made the quilt and when?

Have you placed a label onto the quilt that gives the history of the quilt? It will be more valuable to future generations if they know which family member made the quilt, what the pattern was called, what year it was made, and any other fun facts that you can share. Too many times quilts are found that have no provenance and can’t even be traced back to the state where they were made, much less the quilter. Take the time to either make a special label for your heirloom or commission someone to make one for you. Make it special so that someone will want to read what is on it and won’t just overlook it.

quilt label

 

Choose the recipient carefully

Think hard before you gift that special heirloom quilt to a friend or family member, will the "care" required make the quilt more of a burden to them than a joy? If so, then perhaps the quilt will have a better home elsewhere. Maybe this particular friend enjoys a "quickie" quilt to use daily and appreciate rather than an heirloom that they would consider work to take care of. With a bit of consideration for the quilt type and the recipient, you can make the best possible "partner" for your special quilt.

Remember, make the quilts that make you happy and bring enjoyment to you and your friends, they don’t all have to be heirlooms, just something that makes us smile!

Gift Quilt

 

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Glossary

Label
Information some people attach to a quilt that may contain the your name, name of the quilt, town, year and pattern used.
Author
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