Restoring old blocks and quilts

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I’m sure all of you have a favourite or hand me down quilt with a few marks on it. Perhaps there are pen marks, dirt or even worse. Here are a few helpful tips to get your cherished treasure looking as good as new – or as close to new as possible.

To restore old blocks/quilts, try the following recipe:

  • 1 Gallon Water
  • 1 Quart Buttermilk
  • 1 Tablespoon Lemon Juice

Soak quilt in mixture then wash in mild detergent. Your colors will return to their original brillance.

To remove pencil marks, according to the August issue of Lady’s Circle Patchwork Quilts, “Quilt Patch Queries” by Sue Nickels and Pat Holly, suggests the following:

“Make a solution that is one part water, three parts rubbing alcohol, and one or two drops of Palmolive or Joy dishwashing liquid. Do not use Dawn — it may bleach out the fabric. Use a cotton swab to apply and gently scrub with a soft toothbrush. Wipe dry with a cloth. Again, test this before applying to your whole quilt . . . We hope this helps and remember to TEST, TEST, TEST! We also want to let you know that many a priceless, beloved antique quilt still has pencil marks on it.”

Roll left over fabric strips on an empty toilet tissue roll. Gently not to stretch, and you won’t have to re-iron or search for that certain strip. Line them up in a shoe box, mark box as to color.

Before washing your fabric, trim the corners off the selvage edges at a diagonal. This prevents the cut edge from ravelling in the wash, and is a great way to tell at a glance if you’ve prewashed that fabric!

A good tip when washing flannel so that all those loose ends don’t tangle is put it in a pillowcase first. I wash “like” colors together and dry them the same way. No more tangles mess when done!

Another good tip for washing small pieces of flannel is to serge the edges first… time taken is made up in less lost fabric in all the loose threads.

I know at least 10 people who are having babies, and of course they all want quilts. If you don’t have a lot of extra money right now for material, simply start cutting up old receiving blankets to make scrap quilts! They can turn out beautiful! It’s amazing what you can come up with in a pinch! Now I have people bringing me their old blankets too! Pretty cool, huh?

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