Monday, February 23, 2009

The Tragic Tale of the Beautiful Quilt

When we were in Kansas a couple of weeks ago, there was an antique show at a small community center on the weekend. I stopped in on Sunday afternoon while I was out picking up some things for The Mister. There were about 20 or so vendors and not really many "bargains". Perhaps the Saturday shoppers had snapped up most of the "deals".

I did get a few things, though. I got a couple of vintage coloring books - not all the pages were intact, but there are some fun pages that will make good embroidery motifs - and a Tom Lamb child's hankie featuring an elephant in a red skirt dancing to a mouse band.

And this quilt.

It is a large beautifully hand pieced and hand quilted heirloom that I believe was never used. That is the tragedy!

The tiny cat wishes to draw your eye to the perfect quilting!

I am thinking that it may be from the 40's with the chrome yellow border. The fabric seems to have the original smooth finish of yard goods purchased for a particular project. (Most of the heritage quilts in my family are made scrappy from sewing leftovers, or feed sacks.)
The points are all precision placed!

If it had been used and laundered, it might not have ended up with these brown areas....

Or these.

Only the white areas appear to be soiled, right up to the edge of the colored border. I am thinking that something may have soiled the fabric as it was being made that has become more obvious over the years as it darkened. The back is perfectly clean as are the colored fabrics.

I am trying to decide if I should try to soak the stains out (and forever lose the wonderful finish of the fabric) or just display it with the reverse on top! (Just kidding, the star is too beautiful not to enjoy.)

The vendor suggested that I could cut it up! Honestly, I am glad that she thought that was all it was good for, otherwise she would have priced it out of my range. Still, the lack of appreciation for the wonderful skill and time that was put into creating this beautiful piece is the second tragedy.

Dearest sister is trying to convince me to give it a soak. Originally that is what I planned, but every time I look at it, I think about how bad I will feel if I make it worse!

Maybe I can use it on the bed and just use strategically placed cats to cover up the stains!


Anonymous said...

It is indeed beautiful. I think that a gentle soak would be the ticket. The lovely finish of the fabrics is overshadowed by the stains. And if the stains go, the handwork can really shine. Love, WS

Iron Needles said...

See. Two votes for soaking. If you are too fearful, give it to me, and I will soak it.

(Really whatever you choose to do, you should give it to me...)

Martha said...

What a gorgeous quilt! I would soak it, but I also like the strategically placed cat idea.

Anonymous said...

Hi Jan - I have a great recipe for getting stains out of things! It might be too harsh - but it might be ok too. I can email it to you.