Sunday, March 22, 2015

"It can't be that old"

The Willow Tree Quilt, c. 1815, United States
The Willow Tree Quilt was one of the favorites in my exhibit at the "Airing of the Quilts" on Friday and Saturday. I hadn't really guessed it would stand out, but the quilt was displayed on the main level to the left of the stage, and people could see it up close. Some folks couldn't resist the urge to touch it. One of the comments I heard most often was, "it can't be that old," and I got a big kick out of that.

Yes, it's that old. It's just been washed. How? Very carefully!! Most of the process involved soaking, very light agitation and multiple rinses, but I also used a little Dawn dish detergent, and later, some sodium perborate while soaking.

Lulu supervised. The quilt was dried flat on large plastic tables upstairs, and by the time it was dry, most of the stains had disappeared. 

So, that's why the quilt looked like it was in such fine condition. There is a second Willow Tree Quilt, which was actually the first of the two I acquired. I believe they share origins, they certainly share the important motifs.
the other Willow Tree Quilt, before washing - this one has fringe!
Whitework is a little tricky to photograph, and I have not yet taken an "after" washing picture of the quilt with the fringe, but I have photos of both quilts lit from behind - a great way to see the detail of the stuffed work.

If you would like to read more about the the one with the fringe, check out my guest blog at Why Quilts Matter, History, Art & Politics. Click here.

1 comment:

  1. Sorry I missed seeing you at the show on Saturday, Bill. You were speaking elsewhere when I stopped by. Your quilts were beautifully displayed!