Three new (vintage) quilts are being put on the floor for sale today. All three are on consignment and the consignee dates them all as being from the 1890s. The first is a log cabin in the barn raising pattern with a split center, measuring 80” x 80”. The next is a quilt in a herringbone pattern (90” x 86”), and the third is a Goose in the Pond (89” x 92”). These quilts do have some stains and issues with some of the fabrics, which we have tried to show in some of the detail shots.
As an aside, a young gentleman came into the shop recently with a relative who was a quilter, and it was fun to listen to her explanations and descriptions of some of the quilts we had at the time. When we chatted, she said she has some vintage quilts at home which were made by family members and that she worries about giving them to members of the younger generation who are totally unfamiliar with quilts and quilting. We discussed the wisdom of giving them cleaning directions for the newer quilts vs. the older, more fragile quilts, and we talked about the technique of washing quilts in a tub with a sheet placed under the quilt so it could be lifted without straining and possibly breaking fragile stitches. Another idea to preserve these quilts so future generations can enjoy them is to purchase Plexiglas boxes at local craft stores; these boxes are often used to display sports jerseys and other items and are great for displaying fragile or damaged quilts and other textile pieces. These boxes frequently go on sale at such stores. Another suggestion is to have older quilts professionally appraised so the other family members will have a good idea of the monetary value, and document the maker and other information when available to preserve the personal value to the family.
As we finished chatting, the young man was across the room looking at the older quilts for sale. He remarked, “Look at how much money they get for used quilts, even those with stains and worn spots!!” Until his quilting relative can get her treasures appraised, it looks like she has some educating to do!
[Note: The title of this blog entry is a nod to the Lowell Offering, a literary magazine started in 1840 for the Lowell mill girls to showcase their poems, essays and fiction.]
Written by Debbie Janes, Museum Shop and Dottie Macomber, Museum Library Volunteer