Saturday, October 19, 2013

another act of bravery

It's getting easier washing very old whitework quilts and bedcovers, but it's still an act of bravery any time you immerse an antique textile in water. Fortunately, I had some practice with the candlewick spread and the other Willow Tree quilt.

candlewick spread after washing and drying

In case you missed the story, there are two Willow Tree quilts, which share many design elements such as the large willow tree in the center of both quilts. They came from the same estate in Massachusetts, from a collector who bought them both from the same dealers in New Jersey, but the quilts were auctioned at separate times by the same auction house, Skinner, several months apart. I was the lucky winner both times. OK, well maybe it wasn't luck, as much as it was the routine of watching the internet like a hawk.
before washing - the first Willow Tree quilt came to me last fall
The first Willow Tree quilt is the one I'm washing today. A few weeks ago I washed the other quilt, which was easier because it was in much better shape. The one I'm washing today has fringe around three edges, some damage, and it was a lot more soiled than the other one.

before washing - the second Willow Tree quilt (no fringe)
after washing - the second Willow Tree quilt (no fringe) 
The thing I worried most about was getting the fringe all tangled and twisted, but I had a plan: I folded the quilt with the fringe on the inside, and kept it folded while soaking in the tub. Since it was filthy, I soaked it in the mild sodium perborate solution, 1T per gallon of water, for 24 hours rather than 12. The water was yellow after that, and the quilt was looking a lot better. It's on the second rinse and soak right now. Can't wait to see it when it's dry. I wonder how closely the white will match the other quilt...

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