Folding day

As the curator of a vintage quilt collection, I have a responsibility to care for my quilts. 

Ha!  Them's big words for I inherited a bunch of quilts and take good care of 'em.

Anyway, once a year, we have "folding day".  That means I pull out all the quilts and refold them along different lines.  When you fold a quilt, you stretch the fabric on the fold lines.  And, you scrunch other fabric up inside the fold lines.  Refolding releases the stretch and the scrunch and moves them to a different part of the quilt.  This helps the quilt wear more evenly. 

I have a lot of quilts.

This is just some of them.  I had a nice collection going before I got the family quilts.  It took Sydney and I a couple hours to refold them all. 
I'm working on my storage.  I've exceeded my space, and that's with more than a dozen of my own hanging on the wall at any given time.  And, I'd like to roll as many of my quilts as I can to relieve the stretch of folding them.  I store them in a wooden armoire.  I know that is bad...really, really bad.  But, honestly, most of the family quilts were stored the exact same way before they came to my Mom, and they aren't stained and worn...I know, cumulative long term effect.  Anyway, I'm changing how they are stored.  I'm making bags for them to keep dust off and to protect them from the wood.  And, I'm working on rolling some and putting them in sleeves.  You can see my efforts in the direction on the left. 
When we finished refolding, I looked at the stack and decided to make some bags.  And, I had a bunch of table cloths that don't fit my table that I had made over the years.  And, I have a serger.  And, about an hour later, I had about 8 new large clean bags to store quilts in.  There are yellow, white, and flowery new bags.  Different sizes and shapes.  I need to work on a labeling system, but I have to be careful.  Just because a quilt fit in a bag this time doesn't mean it will when it's refolded next year.  So, the labeling needs to be easily movable. 
Okay, so for those of you wondering how many ways you can fold a quilt, these folds result in a nice shape for storage.  Some result in a long pillow shape and some end up almost square. 
fold in half, in half again, then fold in thirds
or third, third, half
or half, third, third
Anyway, I always get to enjoy all the quilts on folding day.  This year, this tie quilt was my favorite. 
I love this quilt.  And, I have plans for it.  We got it in a St Vincent de Paul in Arkansas for $30.  I think it got donated because the blue quilting lines have become permanent.  Anyway, I'd like to try to remove them and if I can't, I'm thinking about re-quilting it with blue thread and adding a lot more quilting to hide the blue marks.  I don't know what I'd ever use it for.  Maybe I'd never use it.  But, I'd like to try to do something with it so that when it leaves my hands, it's better than it was when it came into them...or at least no worse. 
I've bought lots of vintage quilts and tops to finish.  I get a real kick out of taking someone else's unfinished work and turning it into something beautiful.  I'm a firm believer that sometimes, a disaster just needs a new set of eyes.  We get so bogged down in our vision of what a quilt will be that we lose interest when it goes in an unexpected direction.  A new set of eyes starts in whatever direction that is, and takes it from there. 
Everybody have a great Wednesday.  Anybody else thinking about Barbara Brackman's 2016 mystery?  The first block comes out today. 


Michelle W. said...

I read this blog post today about vintage quilts. It was a new idea to me.


I met a lady a few years ago that only did needle turn appliqué. She had lots of quilt tops with no intention of ever "finishing" them. As I recall the discussion, She felt very strongly that her tops would not be quilted by her. And extrapolating from there, her quilt tops should never be turned into a finished quilt.

I have always wondered what I would I do if those quilt tops ever came into my possession. (As likely as winning the lottery, but still, one wonders). Contrast her feeling (never, not my tops) with the idea that a finished quilt is better than just a top, I still haven't figured out how I feel. I just find it interesting the differing opinions and ideas

quiltfool said...

What an interesting discussion about finishing quilt tops. My thought is 'if you don't want it finished, better take it to heaven with you. Cuz an un quilted top is just waste fabric that will never do anything better than sit on a shelf. Anything I do to them is better than that.' But that's just me.

Michelle W. said...

Well, I like that idea a lot too. I have a cathedral window from my grandma that I want to wash. But before that I think I should resew seams to help stabilize it, which I am veeeeerrry slowly working on. After reading the article this morning I thought I should stop sewing on it and never wash it. But you're right too. Do I want to use it or just own it? It may not matter anyway, I'm barely working on it so nothing is happening on it, therefore it's a moot point. Thanks for another perspective.

Barb H said...

Interesting discussion going on here, so I have to put in my one or two cents as well. It's never occurred to me that an unfinished quilt top was good enough. I agree with you, Lane, it's just a waste of fabric. (Forget the fact that I have about 10 tops hanging in my closet waiting to be quilted up!) As for the Brackman BOM, I'm excited to begin working on the first block. This is going to be such a wonderful quilt! And I can use up more of my stash of "civil war" fabrics! Win, Win!

lw said...

That's my attitude, too.

lw said...

Stabilize it and hand wash it in Orvis and line dry it. If I pass with unfinished quilts, I'd be happy up in Heaven watching someone keep them from being wasted.

Anonymous said...

I absolutely love your attitude of "curating". I often feel that way in my linen closet and kitchen. As for the ink marks on that lovely quilt, have you ever tried Folex? You spray it on and let the enzymes work. It takes out almost every thing. I have a lot of stains etc to deal with in my house I have used it on everything.

Vesuviusmama said...

Thanks for the info on the Barbara Brackman quilt! I'll be working on the first block today. I love all the history and links she provides in her posts.

Passports: the Art DIversity Project said...

Lane, I love to keep track of you and even you in my blogs from time to time. Here's a sample from today. http://www.quilterscandy.blogspot.com/