Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Laundered Millwheel Quilt

I finally washed this old quilt I first wrote about here. I wanted to take it to a meeting of Fran’s Vintage Friends. It’s a group of women who meet 3-4 times a year to share and discuss old quilts and textiles. We meet in Western Maryland and at this last meeting we had members from 4 states – Maryland, Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Virginia. It’s a wonderful group of women. I’ve only gone to 3 meetings and I feel so welcomed. The first meeting I attended was in an old church in the small town of Myersville. In June we met at one of the members homes. She lives in an old mill and we had a picnic by the water. We were lucky to have beautiful weather. It was the perfect setting to share our treasures. This past Monday we went to another home and this one was chock full of antique collections.

This past Sunday I finally tossed this old quilt in my front-load washer on the delicate cycle with some Tide Free. I watched to make sure the colors weren’t running and there was no immediate danger of the thing falling apart and then took my dog for a walk. When I got back my husband said the water coming out of the washer had been really dirty. To tell you the truth, I didn’t even think of staying to watch so I’m glad he noticed. I'm all about multi-tasking. ; c ) I laid the quilt on a sheet to dry in the carport and even though it was a breezy day I also directed a fan on it. My husband then pulled out his industrial fan. Let me tell you, that quilt was good and dry by dinner time. It doesn’t look any cleaner to me, but I’m happy to know it is.

Update 12/12 - I've since laundered another old quilt in my front loader. I don't recommend this. I thought it would be less stress on the quilt than wrestling with it in the bathtub, but both quilts seem a little stiff to me. Not sure what the cause would be - stress, insufficient rinse?

I thought it was interesting how the fan quilting was done from two directions and then diagonal lines were stitched in the center. Remember to click on the photo to enlarge.

It’s so fun to have people ooh and ah over your treasures even when it's a humble quilt like this one. No one at the meeting gave me a hard time about washing it. They said fan quilting often signifies a southern quilt and they thought the backing was tobacco cloth. I looked it up and Merriam-Webster says this about tobacco cloth – “a loose-weave cotton fabric used esp. to shade growing tobacco plants”.

I found out about Fran’s Vintage Friends by joining AmericanQuilt Study Group. I’m sure there are similar gatherings in your area.


  1. I love this quilt even more this time than the first time I saw it!!! I'm so glad that washing it turned out well!!! Sounds like a wonderful group! So glad you got to share your "treasure"!!! I love fan quilting - and this one is so very interesting! I'm thinking about copying that style for my CWR quilt!

    Have a great day!

  2. How wonderful to have this old quilt to be loved and treasured and cared for! I really like the mellow look that it has, too.

  3. Love the quilt - and thanks for sharing the washing project. So nice to have a quilt study group (or two) to meet with. Kindred spirits and all ;-)

  4. That a beautiful quilt, Maureen. I'm so glad it made it through the wash ok! And it's funny about the quilting.....I've seen it both ways; fans done in rows from one side to the other, and fans going round and round the outside to the center (that's how Bonnie Hunter does hers). I've always loved the Baptist Fan design on vintage quilts...... and this one is lovely! I'll bet your group loved seeing it!

  5. i like this one too~!
    classic two color quilt and classic pattern.
    i'm interested in seeing if there are any quilt study groups nearby but i live so rurally that i'm doubting it.

    i'm off to check the link.

  6. beautiful antique quilt, I LOVE It. thanks for sharing.
    I am so glad you found a quilt study group to attend. Isn't it great to have others that share your passion to talk and ooh and ahhh over antique quilts?

  7. I think that 2 colour quilts can be so elegant. You are lucky to have found such a lovely (now clean) quilt.

  8. oh your quilt is so wonderful. That fan quilting is so lovely and makes the quilt drape so beautifully! I would never thinking of making this quilt, but I wish I would.
    How nice that you have a group to meet with!

  9. What a great group to be a member of and your antique two color quilt is glorious! Glad it came out of the wash okay.

  10. I'm glad you took the plunge, even if it doesn't looks cleaner you know it is. The big fan quilting is fantastic!! That is a great quilt!

  11. wonderful quilt love the 2 colors and the quilting-and yeah for clean!

  12. What a wonderful quilt, and loved hearing about your quilting group! SO MUCH FUN to get together with kindred spirits...