There’s a new store in St. John’s Center that specializes in handmade soaps, etc. When I put ‘etc,’ I mean a whole lot more than soaps. Mercy! Did you know that there is something called a “face and beard scrub?” I would never have thought of such a thing, but my grandson was here this past weekend, and just had to have a new jar of that wonderful thing. One whiff of it and I knew why he had to have it. It smelled like coconut.
Soaps for quilts are very important. They can’t be just any soaps. There are quilt shops that carry special soaps for washing quilts that are gentle on the threads and fibers in the quilts. Never put bleach in with a quilt washing. Some of the fabrics are delicate and bleach is much too abrasive for them.
I put labels on the back of all my handmade quilts that say, “Please tumble in dryer with air only instead of washing.” DO NOT USE DRYER SHEETS while doing this as they might leave a residue on the quilt. If there are noticeable soiled spots on quilts that need to be addressed, call a quilt shop or take it in for the quilters to tell you how to clean the spots.
Antique quilts should never be washed in a washing machine. Special care is necessary to clean these quilts. An antique quilt may be washed in a bathtub at home if a bed sheet has been placed in the bottom of the tub first. Use cold water and a recommended quilt soap, press and squeeze, do not wring. Lift the quilt with the bed sheet to avoid putting stress on the old cotton threads. Spread the wet quilt on a sheet on the grass outside on a sunny day but in the shade. Let it drain and dry while spread out flat. Start early in the morning so it will have time to dry before the sun goes down.
A friend of mine had inherited beautiful antique handmade quilts from the early 1800’s. She took them to a dry cleaner to be cleaned, and they were ruined as the chemicals made the old turkey red dyes run. There was no way to undo what the chemicals had done to those quilts. Such a pity. I highly recommend that quilts should not be dry cleaned.
Washing quilt fabrics at home should be done with a mild soap with “color grabbers” sheets thrown in to catch the loose dyes. You’ll be surprised how much color is washed out of the fabrics, especially shades of red. I usually wash red fabrics over and over until the water stays clear and the color grabbers don’t show pink. Dark colors should all be washed together with several color grabber sheets thrown in. Color grabber sheets are usually found on the same shelf with the dryer sheets. I throw several in with most loads of clothes. I wash all of my quilting fabrics before starting a new project.
Some antique quilts have brown spots on them that comes from being in a cedar chest. The cedar oil seeps out onto the quilt. I have not found a way to get this out of the quilts. Quilts should be put into a cotton pillow case, not into a plastic bag. Dry rot or mildew will take place very soon if quilts are placed into a plastic bag.
Visit the Ocean Wave Quilters Guild the second Friday of every month at the The Players Community Center on Landrum Ln., off CR-210 or Palm Valley Rd., behind the Shell station at 10:00 – 12:00. You’ll be so welcome!