Saturday, February 11, 2012


Or Double Millwheel according to my two block pattern books. I purchased this quilt at an estate sale yesterday. I was out and about – picking up chalk paint and stopping at thrift stores. I don’t know enough to put a date on the quilt – just that it is old. I’d love to give it a bath. Dare I toss it in my front load washer? I won’t do it before I get an okay from someone with knowledge of old quilts. It just has a slight odor. What bothers me more is the surface dirt. It looks to me like it is hand pieced. Not the finest hand quilting, but not bad and a good amount of it.  Baptist fans are my favorite hand quilting design.

 The binding is the front border rolled over to the back and hand stitched.


  1. That is a great find. I won't try to advise in the bath department, but I hope you get the answer you need. : )

  2. A two fabric quilt. Very nice. I am no expert on quilt care. I washed a very dirty antique quilt once but did it in the bathtub by hand and set it out in the sun to dry.

  3. OOO, La, La!! What a treasure and such a lovely shade of green. And you know that Baptist fans are one of my favorites!! I wouldn't put it in the washer. I would use "Quilt Soak" or it may be called "Vintage Textile Soak" and follow the directions on the package. An article I have on vintage quilts, said to soak in bathtub, then let the water out of the tub, and squeeze the water from quilt by pushing it against the tub, don't twist. Fill the tub again to rinse. "Quilt Soak" isn't a soap, so rinsing just helps get out the dirt. Repeat the draining/squeezing process. Then roll the quilt onto a sheet - try to avoid lifting the quilt itself while it is wet - hold the sheet to support the quilt. In the summer, I will carry the sheet/quilt combo outside and lay over bushes in the shade. The branches support the quilt without hanging and causing "pull" on the quilt. If I can't take it out side, I will lay towels on the floor, under a ceiling fan and lay the combo on the towels. Every few hours, I will roll it up and change the towels, until it is dry.

    I love "Quilt Soak". Our second daughter's wedding dress was one that we had found at an antique store. It was probably made in the 1960's and was extremely yellowed. Go here to see pictures of it. The velvet ribbon that is around the bodice, was really really yellow, but I couldn't find any white velvet ribbon in the width I wanted, so I even used Quilt Soak on it and it came very clean!

    You probably didn't want this long dissertation, but I hope it was helpful! I have done several vintage quilts this way, and have always had great success.


  4. What a beautiful quilt! Lucky you!

  5. I've never been to an estate sale with a striking quilt like this. The sales I attend are usually pretty lame. This is quite a find.

  6. What a great find - love the green fabric! You are making a lot of progress on your machine quilting your quilt - awesome!

  7. That's a lovely design for a two colour quilt. Great find.

  8. Fantastic find!! Purist would say do not put it in the washer, but if you can enjoy it better when it is clean, then why not? Gentle soap, gentle cycle...

  9. What a fabulous find!! I'm so happy you got it. I would have snatched it up - I think it is a wonderful quilt to own.
    Love the baptist fans. Your study group will enjoy seeing it.
    Thanks for sharing!

  10. I love the patterns that design makes. A great find!

  11. It's a delightful quilt, great purchase! I would try and wash in the bath tub with a gentle wool mix liquid laundry soap. I use this when I wash my new quilts in the washing machine on a gentle cycle and luke warm water. You could gently agitate/move it around with your hands and let the water drain from the bath then gently squeeze it against the side of the bath before replacing the plug and filling the tub again with clear tepid water. I'd probably do this twice to make sure that all the liquid soap has been diluted out of the quilt.
    Now that I've read Deniene's comment, she has the same idea as me, LOL!
    This way there would be less likelihood of any fabric tearing or seams coming apart without you knowing about it, rather than find a mess once you take it out of the washing machine!
    Good luck with it, I'm sure it will be fine if you are gentle with it!

  12. I'm a washer. I've washed many antique flea market quilts, but you have to be comfortable with it.
    What a great quilt! I too love, love baptist fans - what a great quilt for St. Patricks Day!

  13. I've heard good things about Quilt Soak, but haven't tried it myself. My mom washed an old quilt that was dirty and smelly in the washer despite the protests of other quilters because she figured no one would be able to use it until it was clean and not stinky. I think she dried it on the lawn laid on a sheet, but otherwise she wasn't as gentle with it as she might have been. It came out great. Maybe she was lucky. I know it's risky, but I guess you have to decide whether it's better to be used and loved or held at arm's length possibly with a clothespin on your nose.

  14. congrats on this great find~!

    it looks to have fairly close quilting all over and that will help with the cleaning of it. all of those tiney stitches are great for keeping things together nicely. in my experience the closer the quilting the less problomatic the cleaning.

    i know that front load washing machines are a bit gentler on whatever happens to be in them to be washed then a top loader. i have a front loader and have washed antique quilts in it. however, if the fabrics are fragile there could be some issues. also the older dyes weren't always very stable so the possiblilty of it looking different after washing is always there. i like the idea of washing it gently in the tub as explained by Merilyn for the first time. doing that is going to give you lots of info about this quilt and you will then feel much more comfortable making further decisions about it's use and care.
    it does need to be clean (and well rinsed)in order for it to be 'preserved' properly not to mention for your enjoyment of it . . .

    i'll be waiting to hear what you decide and how it comes through.
    i think i would get some very close photo's of various parts of it and then you will have them to be able to do comparisons of after the washing.