Thursday, March 15, 2012

Cleaning a Fire-Damaged Quilt Top....Looking for More Suggestions.....

I'm working on a client quilt top (probably from the 40s or 50s?) that was salvaged from a home fire over a year ago.  It had a lot of soot still in it, and has been packed away for a while:

As you can imagine, the top was very dirty, due to the damage it suffered.

I got much of the soot out by vacuuming both sides very carefully; then I washed it  gently by hand in my big tub with lots of cool running water and "QuiltWash" and removed a great deal of dirt.  Because I was only dealing with a top, and not three layers, it was much easier to handle and I wasn't terribly worried about weight, tension, and tearing issues.  Since it was a warm, dry day today, I dried it outside on several sheets with towels under it and clean sheets on top.  It looks much better than it did.  You can see how the colors are starting to emerge better. still has many stains, some mildew, etc.  It's a pretty, rather scrappy "Sailboat"  top, not a classic at all, but very nicely hand pieced, with minimum stitch damage and almost no rot.

I'm thinking about treating some of the outer edges with an oxygen bleach to see how effective it is in removing some of the staining.  The top is basically intact with only a few loose seams and damage only around the edges; I have some good original feedsack pieces I can replace a few outer units with, since it's basically a scrappy quilt.

I am thinking that if I baste the edges after I repair the outer edge tears so they don't ravel, I might be able to do a gentle wash cycle on it in my front loading machine....which is very gentle.  If I can't do anything with it, there won't be a lot of loss....the owner had pretty much given up on it anyway, but I would love to finish it for her so she can preserve some of her family heritage.

I'm adhering to some of the suggestions I've read about in Camille Cognac's "Quilt Restoration:   A Practical Guide" and Patricia Morris's "Worth Doing Twice".....but, I always apppreciate "real time inputs."    Any ideas?  Send me your thoughts.  The picture below shows the worst of what I'm looking at.  It's mainly the plain muslin in some of the blocks that is "showing" the most effects of soot, water, mildew, etc.

On another thought:    I bit the bullet today and bought EQ7. Do you EQ? What's your favorite thing about it? Do you find it easy to use? Want to share any problems with it?  Give me some feedback, I would love to hear how effective it has been for you. It's coming on Monday and I think I am finally at that path in my quilting journey where I will use it. I bought QuiltPro almost ten years ago, but just didn't pursue it the way I thought I would. I am computer savvy, not afraid to play, etc. Send me some ideas.

Thanks, blogging friends.  Just wandering about the great world of quilters and sharing and looking for your thoughts.



Cherie said...

Hope this is helpful found it online

Washable Fabrics
Follow these steps to remove mildew stains from Acrylic Fabric, Cotton, Linen, Modacrylic, Nylon, Olefin, Polyester and Spandex. Most mildew stains can be removed during regular laundering if they are moistened beforehand.
If a stain remains:
Test fabric for colorfastness.
If color doesn't change, cover stain with a paste of lemon juice and salt.
On cotton and linen, make a paste from an oxygen bleach, water, and a few drops of ammonia.
Let paste cover stain for 15 to 30 minutes.
Flush thoroughly with water and launder again.

Chatty Kathy said...

Thanks, Cherie. That treatment is on my list. I have also contacted a company that markets a product that may do all those things. I'll let you know how it works out. Just keep watching my posts. Thanks for "following me". I'm having fun in my Quilt Journey here. Quilters are a goldmine of information.