Tuesday, October 7, 2014

No, you Can't take it with you!


As quilters, we all have our stash of fabrics, tools, U.F.O'., finished quilts and who knows what else. Including your sewing machines, sergers. Etc.

Have you considered what will happen to all of your treasures when you go 'toes up'? NOT that we want to think about that, but it happens. Preferably in the quilt room.

A group of quilting friends and I made a “Will” years ago, specifying just who got what when we were no longer quilting on earth or of sound mind. (not that a sound mind really figures in this equation) I don't know about you, but my family would have NO clue at that time what to do with all of it. I could just see it all going to Salvation Army or to the curb at trash day. It would be an overwhelming job for anyone even if they knew what they were doing and the value.

Certain fabric of mine when to certain people, machine, etc. Actually, the local friends were to 'come and get it', first come, first serve on certain things.. The sewing machines and tools, gadgets were to go to certain people or organizations as well.

You might give this a thought, look around and see what you have. You'll be surprised if you wonder as a non-quilter might just What to do, even a quilting person would be overwhelmed without the help of our 'last wishes'....

Do you have ideas on this?? Leave a comment! :)

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Our scrappy ladies of the 1800's

On covered wagons, ladies would keep their little baskets of scraps that they traded and collected. They'd use for mending and would Hope that they had enough for some quilt pieces. They HAD to use quilts for their warmth and would piece as the wagons rolled on if they didn't have to walk that day. They'd meet up with other travelers and this was one of the highlights of their poor lives...meeting up with other women with scraps to trade....

Friday, September 5, 2014

Cleaning your Heirloom and New Quilts




When I was a curator for an historical museum, I had a group of girl scouts who needed a project for their badges. They were 12 and 13 years old. We very carefully took the quilt from their displays (all 123 of them) and had a plan.
I used white bed sheets to put on the board room tables, laid out one quilt per table and gave all of the girls a natural bristle, VERY soft, paint brush and an xtra soft toothbrush. Small strokes, 4 girls per quilt. It was amazing what was on the sheets underneath and the fly-away gunk on the floor from those poor quilts. They had been displayed for Years the same way, no cleaning and in a small room facing West, 7 windows on them and brick walls!! YIKES!!!!!!!!!!!!! After they were cleaned this way, we refolded and redisplayed in a better, darker room. It took about 3 months and they had 'history lessons and stories' throughout...I had the Best time with those girls!
Not only did they learn something and got their badges, they brought the whole troop in for a Program on what they did, how and why, etc...along with some of the stories we came up with !

If you're concerned about cleaning the quilts or quilt blocks...check the fabric. If it's a quilt top and not sandwiched and quilted yet, the best and safest way to give it a little clean is to hang it outside in a good stiff breeze, put in the dryer in a pillow case on 'air' only. Otherwise, wait until it's quilted. IF it still absolutely NEEDS to be cleaned, take special pains and time to do it right or you might end up with shreds of its former self.

I've filled the washer with cold water and Orvus (cleaning solution used for quilts) . I don't use chemical detergents on Any quilt, new or old. Put the quilt into the full tub and let it soak for a bit with NO agitation. Now for the hard part....take the quilt out, dripping wet, try to gently wring it out and lay it flat outside, on a porch rail (being careful not to put too much strain on the seams) and let it air dry.

If it's just dusty and/or with a few stains, shake it out, put it on the line for the wind to 'dust' it out and the stains??? Use pantyhose on your vacuum attachment (cut out the toe from pantyhose to fit over the attachment). Sometimes it's just better to leave those stains in. That's the 'curator' in me. The stains add to the character and history of the quilt. If it's one of those OCD things and you HAVE to get those stains out, be Very careful. A tiny dab of Dawn on a q-tip, dabbing (NOT wiping) with a wet cloth, lemon juice. But above all...do NOT take to a dry cleaner. NO! The chemicals are way too harsh for new Or older quilts.

Now, here's a good vid on how to clean a new quilt, lots of good tips in this video;

Tuesday, September 2, 2014





This book is a great tool for your workshops, classes or by yourself! Learn the basics of hand quilting that pieced treasure! This is an updated version of my first book, "Quilt As Desired" from 1998. Thanks in advance

Monday, September 1, 2014

Does Hand Quilting Hold Up?





When I first started hand quilting for a business was in the early '70's and was contracted by a company called Quilt Country out of Kansas City. It was in the garment district and run by 2 men. They had hundreds of quilts and tops they had collected and started their business in repair and sales. They contracted me to repair as in un-quilt the 'old' quilts and replace batting, backing and re-quilt along with tops to quilt. He would send the materials I needed,the batting, backing thread.

One particular quilt that had its own history was a small yellow and white print. I don't remember the pattern but the backing was in bad shape, it had dry-rotted and taking it apart VERY carefully to the batting, there were bug legs, tiny sticks in the cotton batt. It was real cotton bolls that was used by the little lady. I kept working on it and that was my first experience with researching.

I found out that the quilt belonged to a family who found it in the attic and had the notes of the quilt maker. They traveled West and she would piece a little when she could, sharing scraps with their travel-mates in wagons and then, nothing. We didn't know if they were killed on the way, but, there was still some blood on the quilt. Faint but there. To get to the topic...the hand quilting was Still There. The fabric had dry rot in places, but the thread and quilting was Still there.

As an amateur historian, this was a special quilt for me and was able to meet the owners when I was finished. This was before the 'quality fabric, thread, etc'. and we used what we had at the time. After several years, I cringed at the thought that ALL of the quilts I worked on for this company used 100% poly batting.....eeeeeeekkkk....

Now to add to this, there's Nothing wrong with poly-batt! But, you need to use materials that are period correct. If you're working on an antique quilt, be sure to use the materials for that period. In most cases, cotton or wool batting. These make for a nice, flat finish to the quilt as well. Practice with batting samples from your quilt shop to see which 'needles' better for you. There are different weights and density to these and some are a little trickier to work with. 

Do hand quilted quilts hold up as well as machine quilted....of Course they do!!! There are quilts out there 200 years old and are still in tack. sometimes the semas or the fabrics are a little worse for wear, but....the hand quilting is STILL THERE!

Sunday, August 31, 2014

The new "me" for blogging

Just a little blurb while I tweak some new articles. I'm really bad about keeping my blog up to date, but I'll try harder. Since history is my 2nd love...I'm going to be adding stories on the history of quilts, fabrics and techniques. I hope you enjoy the 'other' side of me.
Feel free to add your comments and if you'd like to be included in my links to your blogs, feel free to email me. The blogs have to be quilt related and that's about the only requirement :) 
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There were times that I would put a pillow on my lap and the quilt Without the hoop. The pillow helped to elevate the quilt a little and gave me a soft resting place for my arms. Still in the recliner

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Tired of waiting for a blog ?? Well, come and join us on my Facebook page....I just uploaded LOTS of pix on there: I'll come back to post on the blog later :)
https://www.facebook.com/karenbushquilts