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Quilters Find a way to care



Date: Fri, 5 Oct 2001 19:15:40 -0700
From: "nms" <nms@jps.net>
To: 

Hi all, for those that don't know, there is a machine that re-hydrates
fabric. It is used in conservation labs, and those that attended the Quilt
Restoration Conference a few years ago may have seen the one in the Ford
Center.
Nance Searle
International Society of Appraisers

------------------------------

Date: Sat, 06 Oct 2001 12:24:41 -0400
From: Newbie Richardson <pastcrafts@erols.com>
To: 

Ok, OK, so fabric isn't exactly like human skin! As humans we can
apply moisturizers that help block the pores and keep moisture in. Skin
can rejuvinate to a certain extent - as it is living tissue.
You can re-hydrate fabrics even more low tech that using a freezer.
Lay out the textile (or leather) in an amimal and kid proof location.
Place some upright objects (I use candlesticks)around the object and
drape a heavy plastic sheet over it - an old , clean shower curtain,
garbage bag cut open, or plastic painter's tarp.. Then place several
shallow containers ( I use "glad ware") of water under the tarp. Leave
alone for one or two days. The water will evaportate and be absorbed by
the fibers. Of course, those of us living in the humid South can
probably just leave off the AC for a few days and achieve the same
result!
I have used this many times and have, as a result, been able to make a
100 year old pair of boots that were "frozen" in a bent shape, loosen up
enough for me to straighten them up and stuff the uppers.
Now, many times, in the case of quilt tops and unfinished clothing
projects, you may still have the original finish left on the fabric, ie:
it has not yet been washed. This finish is a chemical compound which
contributes to the descication of the fabrics over time. I do not know
what the finishes were off hand. But today formaldehyde is still
prevalent. (Ever had friends tear up in a fabric store? the fabrics are
off gassing.) The quandry is: do you gently wet clean the tops - risking
the dyes - in order to both remove the chemical and re-hydrate...? Each
case if different. Sorry, there is no one right answer here.
Judy is right, I am usually opposed to quilting old tops. But I am in
the business of preservation (that means more than one generation). I am
also a Libertarian: it is yours, do as you feel best! God Knows there is
plenty of "stuff" out there - not everything is "Old Glory" or Gen.
Washington's uniform! If we do not use the objects of the past, then
how will our children learn to love and appreciate these things? I take
the moderate approach: "use with care." I tell my brides to wear the
family veil - just take it off before getting mauled in the recieving
line! Put the baby in the antique Christening gown - but put her in
another dress for the party afterward when she is being passed around
from relation to relation. Display the veil or antique dress for all to
admire. Life is a series of trade offs, folks!
Newbie
PS-Judy's method of quilting on the seamlines for a "summer" spread is a
great one!

------------------------------

Date: Sat, 06 Oct 2001 10:38:50 -0700
From: Denise Clausen <nadyne@oregoncoast.com>
To: 

Hi Patricia
Regarding your reference to inscribed silk Quaker quilts, what was the
technique used? embroidered, inked, or ? I am a calligrapher and quilter
researching inscription techniques and have found that lettering with
ink on satin weave causes the ink to bleed badly. So I am very curious
about the inscriptions that you mentioned.
Thank you for your input on this discussion.
Denise

------------------------------

Date: Sat, 06 Oct 2001 16:21:32 -0600
From: Xenia Cord <xecord@netusa1.net>
To: 

 

Frost-free! Ahhh, there's the rub. My freezer is about 25 years old
and I still have to unload it, pull the plug, and mop up the melt.

I have had good luck making silk sewing thread more supple by putting it
in the freezer - it breaks less readily. And I have "moth-proofed" wool
coverlets this way.

Xenia

Date: Sat, 6 Oct 2001 22:40:46 -0400
From: "Phyllis Twigg" <ptwigg@radix.net>
To: 

 

Members of the "Fran's Vintage Friends" quilt study group are pleased to
announce the first FVF Textile Seminar to be held at the Bird-In-Hand Family
Inn, Route 340, Bird-In- Hand, Pennsylvania the weekend of March 15-16-17,
2002. Bird-In-Hand is in the heart of the Amish country in Lancaster
County.

Several FVF members will be making presentations as follows:
Cinda Cawley “Plain People, Fancy Quilts”
Fran Fitz “Effie of Ellerton”
Mary Perini “Lace and Linens”
Peggy and John Armstrong “Treasures from Granny’s Sewing Basket”
Ellie Bennett “What Quilts Tell Us About the Quiltmaker”
Phyllis Twigg “Blue & White and Red & White: Dyes for Classic Quilts”
Judi Gunter “Antique Doll Quilts: A Mirror of Their Times”

The final event will be a “Plenary Session” moderated by Mary Perini.

Additional information including costs and the proposed weekend schedule can
be found on Phyllis Twigg’s website at
www.quilt-appraiser.com (click on Textile Seminar).
You may also contact Phyllis at ptwigg@radix.net or Peggy Armstrong at
pegarm@innernet.net.
More information about Bird-In-Hand can be found at www.bird-in-hand.com
(click on Bird-In-Hand Family Inn).
The event is limited to 40 participants. All interested persons are most
welcome to attend.

------------------------------

Date: Sun, 07 Oct 2001 07:22:56 -0400
From: Patricia Keller <berrett@UDel.Edu>
To: 

Denise,

I answered you privately but realized my thoughts were incomplete. The inscription on Hannah
Callender's quilt was done in stitching. Other inscribed Quaker quilts I've studied were
stamped, marked, or had names written in what appears to be an ink. On numerous blocks bearing
inscribed names/dates, etc., there is evidence of the area having been treated with some kind
of fixative to prevent the inscription from bleeding. This is especially, though not always,
visible on silks. Recipes for these fixatives were available in the period, and were used to
help avoid the very problem you write about.

Regards,
Patricia

------------------------------

Date: Sun, 7 Oct 2001 14:26:56 -0400
From: "J. G. Row" <Judygrow@rcn.com>
To: 

 

Would this evidence consist of slight discoloration on and surrounding the
area of the inscription? I am looking at a NJ cotton signature quilt dated
1843 showing an oval or circular discoloration around many but not all of
the 25 signatures and inscriptions, and not discoloring the entire signature
patch.

Perhaps this fixative wasn't needed for all inks, because not one of the
inked signatures shows any evidence of bleeding, fixed or not. To err on
the side of caution I imagine some folks just fixed everything first,
without testing.

Where were the recipes for the fixatives published? Can you give us a
sample recipe?
I wonder, were the inks heat set, as we are instructed to do today with
Pigma pens?

Judy in Ringoes, NJ
judygrow@rcn.com


Date: Sun, 07 Oct 2001 19:27:46 -0700
From: Denise Clausen <nadyne@oregoncoast.com>
To: 

Hi Patricia
Thanks for the reply. There is a local quilt here that is in pristine
condition, dated 1847, both hand lettered and stamped. There is slight
discoloration in an oblong shape behind the letters. Since then I have
been experimenting with that idea. Wax was a massive failure. Tests
with egg whites have been inconsistant. Spray starch doesn't help.
Having been raised after the era of liquid starch, I don't really know
where to start with that. (Do you use the same starch that you use to
make gravy?)
I have found that lettering with a goose quill works better on fabric
than a copperplate pen. The ink seems to flow more slowly off the former
than the latter, which makes the india ink less likely to bleed. Now
that I've discovered the merits of the quill I need to go back to
signatures and see which they were done with. I have always assumed a
copperplate pen, so never looked that closely.
If anyone knows of a fixatif recipe, I would be most pleased to test
it!
Happy lettering
Denise

------------------------------

Date: Mon, 08 Oct 2001 09:35:23 -0400
From: Beth Donaldson <quilts@museum.msu.edu>
To: 

Dear Gay,

I think you should keep the kits intact. If you want to drag some quilts
around to shows and for exhibits, I'd make new ones using the kits as the
patterns and fabric choices. This would also be a way to test the market
for re-issuing the kits. You can keep track of the cost of production,
fabric, time etc. and get an idea of whether or not it makes sense from a
business stand point.

Beth
Beth Donaldson
------------------------------

Date: Mon, 08 Oct 2001 14:56:07 -0400
From: Patricia Keller <berrett@UDel.Edu>
To: 

Judy and Denise have asked about visual evidence on signature quilts indicating some sort of fixative
or mordant may have been used to prepare fabrics to receive inked signatures, drawings, etc. Their
description of a discolored area behind the signature fits with what I have seen on some silk and
cotton quilts with inscriptions and/or drawings, calligraphy, etc. Some of these discolored areas
are barely visible; others are grossly discolored and make the signature nearly impossible to read.
These discolored areas are not universally present with inscriptions, drawings, calligraphy, etc. My
impression (and it is only an impression) is that some individuals followed published household
formulas in newspapers, household manuals, farm papers or published books of trade "secrets" to ready
fabrics to receive inks, others may have worked from an experimental basis with sometimes
less-than-successful results. One recipe calls for moistening the fabric to be written upon with a
mixture of sodium carbonate, gum arabic and water, and to rub with a warm iron until dry; then write
upon it with an ink. Another receipt calls for the cloth to be written on to be mostened with a
mixture of oxalic acid, water, and gum, let to dry, then written upon, and when dry, pressed with a
hot iron. Just as all formulae for preparing fabrics were not the same, so too were there
significant differences among ink formulae. Inks were available commercially in the nineteenth
century, but were still made at home at the same time, and either might contain various amounts of
mucilages/gums depending on the intended use as well as coloring agents and/or developers. Perhaps
inks with appropriate proportions of mucilage in their formulations did not "wick" but laid more
obediently where they were inscribed (a conjecture). I hope this is not as confusing as it might be
helpful!

Patricia Keller

------------------------------

Date: Mon, 08 Oct 2001 12:35:55 -0700
From: Laura Robins-Morris <lrobins@fhcrc.org>
To: 

This list gives me way too many ideas. Now I'm going to have to read some Hawthorne and
Melville to see what I missed and/or forgot.
:-)
Laura in Seattle
------------------------------

Date: Mon, 8 Oct 2001 21:55:11 -0400
From: "Cinda Cawley" <lrcawley@dmv.com>
To: "
As a preview to AQSG in Williamsburg FVF met on Oct. 6. Undeterred by
the overturning, at the exit leading to Fran's house, of a truck loaded with
missiles (the accident closed the interstate highway which crosses Maryland
all day and late into Friday night) Fran's intrepid friends arrived on her
doorstep Saturday morning. Neither rain , nor sleet nor wayward missiles
will keep Fran's Vintage Friends from congregating at the appointed hour.
As always, treasures were produced from pillowcases and bags of every
description. The Trash Quilt (literally rescued from a garbage can twenty
years ago by a boy who knew his Mom loved quilts) was the most surprising.
even though it is in tatters, it is a thing of beauty: composed of four
patches with intricately pieced sashing around a central chintz medallion
with wide chintz borders AND some of the pieces are a toile featuring
Nelson's funeral!
We saw Phyllis Twigg's hussif. It is amazing! There's a little note
that says "Mother's 1830." The fabric is a wonderful gold and red stripe.
There was an 1848 album quilt with blocks variously inscribed with
locations in Chester Co., PA and Cecil Co., Md., appliqued initials of the
recipient of the gift on top and IOOD (International Order of Odd Fellows)
with the interlocking chain and a beautifully inked inscription on the
bottom. This is not a Baltimore Album; it's the simpler version found along
the MD-PA border. There are some blocks we had never seen before.
A four-block Whig Rose variation had a period repair on which is
stitched "Mary Bly 12 years," the S is backwards. One of the Friends is
collecting mid-19th century red and green blocks. Another brought an Amish
Crib quilt from Mifflin Co., PA. The quilts from the Big Valley are very
different from Lancaster's. Also from PA was a pristine Square-Within-A-
Square with a delightful brown and pink setting fabric a strippy back.
An 8-Pointed Star had fabulous stuffed quilting in the plain blocks and
the stars themselves alternated points made from four diamonds with points
made from 2 triangles. It gave the block a whole new look.
We had great fun hearing about Fran's trip to England and seeing the
friendship blocks the BQHLers gave her.
I hope some of you will come to the FVF Seminar in Bird-In-Hand in March.
It's going to be great fun; we are really good at having fun.
Cinda on the Eastern Shore really excited about Williamsburg and seeing the
Textile Lab at the Restoration and meeting everybody for breakfast on
Sunday.

Date: Sat, 6 Oct 2001 22:40:46 -0400
From: "Phyllis Twigg" <ptwigg@radix.net>
To: 

Members of the "Fran's Vintage Friends" quilt study group are pleased 
to
announce the first FVF Textile Seminar to be held at the Bird-In-Hand 
Family
Inn, Route 340, Bird-In- Hand, Pennsylvania the weekend of March 
15-16-17,
2002. Bird-In-Hand is in the heart of the Amish country in Lancaster
County.

Several FVF members will be making presentations as follows:
Cinda Cawley – “Plain People, Fancy Quilts”
Fran Fitz – “Effie of Ellerton”
Mary Perini –“Lace and Linens”
Peggy and John Armstrong – “Treasures from Granny’s Sewing Basket”
Ellie Bennett – “What Quilts Tell Us About the Quiltmaker”
Phyllis Twigg – “Blue & White and Red & White: Dyes for Classic 
Quilts”
Judi Gunter – “Antique Doll Quilts: A Mirror of Their Times”

The final event will be a “Plenary Session” moderated by Mary Perini.

Additional information including costs and the proposed weekend 
schedule can
be found on Phyllis Twigg’s website at
www.quilt-appraiser.com (click on Textile Seminar).
You may also contact Phyllis at ptwigg@radix.net or Peggy Armstrong 
at
pegarm@innernet.net.
More information about Bird-In-Hand can be found at 
www.bird-in-hand.com
(click on Bird-In-Hand Family Inn).
The event is limited to 40 participants. All interested persons are 
most
welcome to attend.

------------------------------

Date: Sun, 07 Oct 2001 07:22:56 -0400
From: Patricia Keller <berrett@UDel.Edu>

Denise,

I answered you privately but realized my thoughts were incomplete. 
The inscription on Hannah
Callender's quilt was done in stitching. Other inscribed Quaker 
quilts I've studied were
stamped, marked, or had names written in what appears to be an ink. 
On numerous blocks bearing
inscribed names/dates, etc., there is evidence of the area having 
been treated with some kind
of fixative to prevent the inscription from bleeding. This is 
especially, though not always,
visible on silks. Recipes for these fixatives were available in the 
period, and were used to
help avoid the very problem you write about.

Regards,
Patricia

------------------------------

Date: Sun, 7 Oct 2001 14:26:56 -0400
From: "J. G. Row" <Judygrow@rcn.com>
>From: "Patricia Keller" <berrett@UDel.Edu>
>Subject: QHL: re: fixatives for inscriptions on silk


>....there is evidence of the area having been treated with some kind
> of fixative to prevent the inscription from bleeding.
>This is especially, though not always, visible on silks.
>Recipes for these fixatives were available in the period,
>and were used to help avoid the very problem you write about.

Patricia,

Would this evidence consist of slight discoloration on and 
surrounding the
area of the inscription? I am looking at a NJ cotton signature quilt 
dated
1843 showing an oval or circular discoloration around many but not 
all of
the 25 signatures and inscriptions, and not discoloring the entire 
signature
patch.

Perhaps this fixative wasn't needed for all inks, because not one of 
the
inked signatures shows any evidence of bleeding, fixed or not. To 
err on
the side of caution I imagine some folks just fixed everything first,
without testing.

Where were the recipes for the fixatives published? Can you give us 
a
sample recipe?
I wonder, were the inks heat set, as we are instructed to do today 
with
Pigma pens?

Judy in Ringoes, NJ
judygrow@rcn.com

Date: Sun, 07 Oct 2001 19:27:46 -0700
From: Denise Clausen <nadyne@oregoncoast.com>
To:

Hi Patricia
Thanks for the reply. There is a local quilt here that is in pristine
condition, dated 1847, both hand lettered and stamped. There is slight
discoloration in an oblong shape behind the letters. Since then I have
been experimenting with that idea. Wax was a massive failure. Tests
with egg whites have been inconsistant. Spray starch doesn't help.
Having been raised after the era of liquid starch, I don't really know
where to start with that. (Do you use the same starch that you use to
make gravy?)
I have found that lettering with a goose quill works better on fabric
than a copperplate pen. The ink seems to flow more slowly off the former
than the latter, which makes the india ink less likely to bleed. Now
that I've discovered the merits of the quill I need to go back to
signatures and see which they were done with. I have always assumed a
copperplate pen, so never looked that closely.
If anyone knows of a fixatif recipe, I would be most pleased to test
it!
Happy lettering
Denise

Patricia Keller wrote:
>
> Denise,
>
> I answered you privately but realized my thoughts were incomplete. The
inscription on Hannah
> Callender's quilt was done in stitching. Other inscribed Quaker quilts
I've studied were
> stamped, marked, or had names written in what appears to be an ink. On
numerous blocks bearing
> inscribed names/dates, etc., there is evidence of the area having been
treated with some kind
> of fixative to prevent the inscription from bleeding. This is
especially, though not always,
> visible on silks. Recipes for these fixatives were available in the
period, and were used to
> help avoid the very problem you write about.
>
> Regards,
> Patricia

------------------------------

Date: Mon, 08 Oct 2001 09:35:23 -0400
From: Beth Donaldson <quilts@museum.msu.edu>
To:

Dear Gay,

I think you should keep the kits intact. If you want to drag some quilts
around to shows and for exhibits, I'd make new ones using the kits as the
patterns and fabric choices. This would also be a way to test the market
for re-issuing the kits. You can keep track of the cost of production,
fabric, time etc. and get an idea of whether or not it makes sense from a
business stand point.

Beth
Beth Donaldson

------------------------------

Date: Mon, 08 Oct 2001 14:56:07 -0400
From: Patricia Keller <berrett@UDel.Edu>
To:

Judy and Denise have asked about visual evidence on signature quilts
indicating some sort of fixative
or mordant may have been used to prepare fabrics to receive inked
signatures, drawings, etc. Their
description of a discolored area behind the signature fits with what I have
seen on some silk and
cotton quilts with inscriptions and/or drawings, calligraphy, etc. Some of
these discolored areas
are barely visible; others are grossly discolored and make the signature
nearly impossible to read.
These discolored areas are not universally present with inscriptions,
drawings, calligraphy, etc. My
impression (and it is only an impression) is that some individuals followed
published household
formulas in newspapers, household manuals, farm papers or published books
of trade "secrets" to ready
fabrics to receive inks, others may have worked from an experimental basis
with sometimes
less-than-successful results. One recipe calls for moistening the fabric
to be written upon with a
mixture of sodium carbonate, gum arabic and water, and to rub with a warm
iron until dry; then write
upon it with an ink. Another receipt calls for the cloth to be written on
to be mostened with a
mixture of oxalic acid, water, and gum, let to dry, then written upon, and
when dry, pressed with a
hot iron. Just as all formulae for preparing fabrics were not the same, so
too were there
significant differences among ink formulae. Inks were available
commercially in the nineteenth
century, but were still made at home at the same time, and either might
contain various amounts of
mucilages/gums depending on the intended use as well as coloring agents
and/or developers. Perhaps
inks with appropriate proportions of mucilage in their formulations did not
"wick" but laid more
obediently where they were inscribed (a conjecture). I hope this is not as
confusing as it might be
helpful!

Patricia Keller

------------------------------

Date: Mon, 08 Oct 2001 12:35:55 -0700
From: Laura Robins-Morris <lrobins@fhcrc.org>
To:


This list gives me way too many ideas. Now I'm going to have to read some
Hawthorne and
Melville to see what I missed and/or forgot.
:-)
Laura in Seattle

------------------------------

Date: Mon, 8 Oct 2001 21:55:11 -0400
From: "Cinda Cawley" <lrcawley@dmv.com>
To:

As a preview to AQSG in Williamsburg FVF met on Oct. 6. Undeterred by
the overturning, at the exit leading to Fran's house, of a truck loaded
with
missiles (the accident closed the interstate highway which crosses Maryland
all day and late into Friday night) Fran's intrepid friends arrived on her
doorstep Saturday morning. Neither rain , nor sleet nor wayward missiles
will keep Fran's Vintage Friends from congregating at the appointed hour.
As always, treasures were produced from pillowcases and bags of every
description. The Trash Quilt (literally rescued from a garbage can twenty
years ago by a boy who knew his Mom loved quilts) was the most surprising.
even though it is in tatters, it is a thing of beauty: composed of four
patches with intricately pieced sashing around a central chintz medallion
with wide chintz borders AND some of the pieces are a toile featuring
Nelson's funeral!
We saw Phyllis Twigg's hussif. It is amazing! There's a little note
that says "Mother's 1830." The fabric is a wonderful gold and red stripe.
There was an 1848 album quilt with blocks variously inscribed with
locations in Chester Co., PA and Cecil Co., Md., appliqued initials of the
recipient of the gift on top and IOOD (International Order of Odd Fellows)
with the interlocking chain and a beautifully inked inscription on the
bottom. This is not a Baltimore Album; it's the simpler version found
along
the MD-PA border. There are some blocks we had never seen before.
A four-block Whig Rose variation had a period repair on which is
stitched "Mary Bly 12 years," the S is backwards. One of the Friends is
collecting mid-19th century red and green blocks. Another brought an
Amish
Crib quilt from Mifflin Co., PA. The quilts from the Big Valley are very
different from Lancaster's. Also from PA was a pristine Square-Within-A-
Square with a delightful brown and pink setting fabric a strippy back.
An 8-Pointed Star had fabulous stuffed quilting in the plain blocks and
the stars themselves alternated points made from four diamonds with points
made from 2 triangles. It gave the block a whole new look.
We had great fun hearing about Fran's trip to England and seeing the
friendship blocks the BQHLers gave her.
I hope some of you will come to the FVF Seminar in Bird-In-Hand in March.
It's going to be great fun; we are really good at having fun.
Cinda on the Eastern Shore really excited about Williamsburg and seeing the
Textile Lab at the Restoration and meeting everybody for breakfast on
Sunday.