Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Quilt care instructions

I usually give the recipients of my quilts a page of care instructions, but I'm guessing those instructions get misplaced or grow legs and walk away, so I'm putting the instructions here, for easy reference.


Quilts, like all textiles, are relatively fragile. They are susceptible to light, stains, mildew and simple old age. Most of my quilts are made of 100% cotton fabrics, with a batting made out of 80/20 cotton/polyester.

To prolong the life of your quilt, here are a few hints:

1. Keep out of direct sun. Even a couple hours can fade the colors and make the fabric more brittle.

2. For wall quilts, I usually attach a sleeve on the back upper edge of the quilt. (If not, you can purchase pre-made sleeves from quilt shops, although you'd need to attach it to the back, using a hem stitch through the backing fabric. They're really the best way to hang a quilt, so that the fabric isn't damaged, and the weight is evenly distributed.)  Insert a dowel or curtain rod in the sleeve and rest the dowel/rod on nails or other wall supports. Do not use push pins; they rust, and because they distribute the quilt’s weight unevenly, they may tear the fabric.

3. Whenever the quilt is stored, it should be wrapped in fabric that has been washed to remove sizing (an old cotton pillowcase is perfect), never in plastic. If stored for a long time, it should first be rolled around a cardboard tube (as long as the shortest side of the quilt) that is covered with fabric, or else refolded every year to avoid permanent creases.

4. The quilt is machine washable and dryable. Do not use bleach (for obvious reasons) or fabric softener (which breaks down the fibers and shortens the life of textiles). Do not dry clean or line dry (the weight of the water can damage the textiles). Use cool water to maintain the brightness of the fabrics, and a medium dryer setting. The quilt will last longer if it’s washed less frequently, so if the quilt is not actually dirty, just dusty, it’s better to run it through a “fluff” (no heat) cycle in the dryer or, for wall quilts, simply vaccuum it with a nozzle covered with an old knee-high nylon or the foot of an old pair of pantihose.

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