Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Antique Quilt..."to be or not to be...." for that is the question!

I am learning vintage fabrics, and can identify them fairly well from the 1930's through '70's, but I am still getting to know the earlier ones. The lady I purchased this quilt from, stated that it was an Antique...Victorian Bar Quilt. I do see old calicos, the really old feedsack on the back with the printed stamp, and I can tell it is the really old kind of batting. I would appreciate identification of some of the fabrics, dating it to the newest fabric.

I had one reply from Sharon S., of, who pointed out the floral fabric near the edge as being from the 1930's. I have found the black print fabric listed as:
Black with bright textured overlays, 1880 - 1910, on pages 106 & 107, of
Dating Fabrics: A Color Guide 1800 - 1960 by Eileen Jahnke Trestain
(Sharon had recommended this book to me, and I luv it! I want to get the second book!) date a quilt by the newest fabric, not the oldest one, so although my quilt has fabrics that are 100 years old, it is a 1930's quilt. Maybe, that is a decrease in the dollar value of the quilt, but to me it is a great history of 'dating' fabrics!
This quilt is one I am facinated with, so it is a 'keeper'! :O)

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

~Mosaic Artist Mary Garrett~

The mosaic header above our bedroom doorway!

The beautiful mosaic vintage mirror over the fireplace!

A big hearty hello to Mary Garrett, a mosaic artist from Venice, Fl, who is a very talented lady! I hope she will give us a sneak peak of her latest projects, on her website!
I'm a great fan of her work, which has been featured in Cottage Style Magazine, and Country Decorating Ideas Magazine. Her website illustrates the cottage style / romantic decor of her home.
I have quite a few of her pieces, such as a large vintage oval bevelled mirror over our fireplace mantle (it is adorned with fine china pieces, and china flowers...just gorgeous!), a mosaic header that sits over the top of the doorway in our bedroom (which I think, has a very Victorian look), and a mosaic vintage half moon table. I also have a very whimsically decorated shelf, small tray, watering can, trinket box, vintage hand mirror, two foot stools / benches, a heart shaped wall hook, and a bird bath (which is decorated with shells and vintage jewelry)! I may have forgotten something! LOL
Mary has crafted many items, such as mosaic step ladders, bird houses, vintage cake plates, vintage tea sets, candle holders, vintage columns, and beautiful tea carts, to name a few! There are also jewelled photo frames, and belt buckles, among the many items listed on her website.
Her daughter is very artistic too. Take a look at Azuree's Fairy Art, and Vintage Pins, featured on the website. I luv her altered art photo framesl! I have one of her best! LOL
You can drop in and shop at their website! The Vintage Dragonfly
Diane Mc (BlackRain4 on ebay) ( (
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Etsy: A fun site for Collectors of Vintage & Antiques! Another great venue for Sellers!

I have recently started working on my Etsy Shop. I am finding Etsy easy to navigate, and set up 'shop'! I see more vintage and antiques on Etsy, than I did a few months ago. The word is spreading that Etsy is a growing, and seller friendly community!

I enjoy seeing all the handmade items, such as quilts, and crocheted throws, by Bonnie sold me a MWT Vintage Golden Roses Tablecloth, so she has a friend for life! LOL
I looked at jewelry handcrafted using antique / vintage pieces, along with the modern.
And also, there is clothing made from vintage linens, such as for babies and toddlers, by I Antique Online's own Tina, who is Bossy Baby Vintage and Organic Clothing! Her organic baby onesies, and toddlers dresses made with vintage pillowcases, and embelished with laces, hankies, and ribbons, really impressed me! She is so creative! So visit her Etsy Store...Bossy and website

Now, to thoroughly confuse my website is (which my working on, is postponed again! LOL), my ebay ID is BlackRain4 (can you guess where that came from? LOL Any movie buffs out there?)
I was selling a bit on ebay, and now I'm selling on Etsy. So...I named my Etsy site....BlackRain4's Vintage & Antique Shop. I'll be showcasing vintage & antiques...linens & lace, quilts, bedspreads, kitchenware, jewelry, etc., and some things handcrafted from vintage. My 1930's Vintage Photo Frames decorated with Vintage Jewelry, will be my first handcrafted items. I'm just starting up, so please don't be too critical! LOL
Diane Mc (BlackRain4 at
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Etsy: Your place to buy & sell all things handmade

Cleaning Your Vintage Quilt!

This colorful Vintage Lone Star Quilt can be seen at:

I have been told how to clean linens by experts. A lady I know locally, who is a quilt expert, gives appraisals of vintage/antique quilts. I was talking to her about cleaning quilts. Also, I'm a member of the Vintage Tablecloth Lovers Club; I've learned alot from them about cleaning and storing other textiles. (Some of the members have written books about vintage/antique linens.) I've cleaned many tablecloths, blankets, bedspreads, towels, aprons, pillowcases, doilies, lace, vintage clothing, (damask, Quaker Lace, chenille, barkcloth, etc.) I've even cleaned a vintage lampshade with Biz solution.
Please stop putting quilts in your washer with oxyclean, and the dryer, with all that heat and tumbling! You cannot wring or twist the material. Oxyclean will eat holes in alot of vintage/antique fabric. I've seen some sellers online recommend bleach for spot will eat holes and make white areas, removing the dyes! A professional dry cleaning also may harm a quilt. The chemicals and pressing...!!! You are literally "killing the quilts with kindness"!
Textile museums have a quilt bath, like a long trough, that washes and rinses, without twisting, or squeezing the fabric, and then the quilt drains and dries.

Cleaning a vintage/antique quilt:
Clean your bath tub really well, and rinse all the cleaner out with hot water. Lay clean towels on the bottom of the tub, and lay the quilt on the towels. A bed sheet may work better for you. Then fill your tub with warm water. (Don't let the water run directly on the quilt, as the force may cause holes! Don't use hot water in case the colors run...if they do run, immediately put the quilt in cold water.) Let it soak in plain water for a while, for the old soap and alot of dirt to come out. Then empty the bath tub, letting the water drain from the quilt for a while. You gently roll the quilt up in the towels, removing it from the tub. (Have a garbage bag on the floor to sit it in, as it will be soaking wet.)
If you've found the colors to be colorfast, you can try a bit warmer water temperature in the tub. Put Arm & Hammer Detergent in the water, mixing well. (Arm & Hammer has the baking soda to get rid of odors and it really removes stains well! I've used it on many fragile vintage/antique linens.) Unroll the quilt gently, placing it in the tub, still on top of the towels. (Never lift up on the wet quilt itself, as it may tear.) Let the quilt soak for a few hours. (You can move it around a few times inbetween, very gently.) Then drain the water and rinse the quilt well, several times until the water runs clear. Let the quilt drain for awhile, and then roll it up in the towels, remove it from the tub to sit on the floor in the garbage bag again. You could try repeating these steps if the quilt is really dirty.
Then put water in the tub, with as warm a temperature as the quilt will tolerate. Mix in a quilt cleaning mixture that will soak out more stains. (Quilters have mentioned "Restoration" that you can purchase online. I was able to buy a quilt soak powder in town here.) Then unroll the quilt laying it on the towels, in the bath tub again. Let it soak for hours. Then you do the draining, rinsing and draining steps over and over, until the water runs clear. Vintage fabric experts say to lay the wet quilt directly on the grass in the yard in the sun to dry. The natural oxygenation process of the grass (chlorophyl in the grass), and sun will help remove stains also. This is called "sun crofting". (If you have dogs, like I do, you can lay the quilt on towels on a table to dry in the sun. That's the second choice.)
It is alot of work, but the quilt will have minimal damage, unless it has dry rot. You will preserve the quilt, as leaving it dirty, with increasing storage stains, will continue to break down the fabric. If you have rust, it will oxidize and spread over a larger area, literally eating holes in the fabric.
You can then display your quilt on a quilt rack, chair, or bed. In lieu of a window curtain, you could hang your quilt over a curtain rod, with a heavy window shade behind (to keep the sun off the quilt to prevent fading). This will really beautify a room! If you want to store the quilt, wrap it in unbleached muslin, to prevent storage stains. (After you buy the new muslin wash it with Arm & Hammer Detergent in your machine, rinsing the soap out well, before you dry it.)

Per Hart Cottage Quilts online site:

"Please don’t dry-clean a vintage or antique quilt. And keep it away from the dryer!

You can do this to all but the most delicate quilts:
Pick a nice breezy day for this. Buy some fiberglass screen (this is the kind modern window screens are made of). Cut a manageable piece, say 18" square or so, and cover the edges with masking tape so you don’t snag yourself or the quilt. Lay the quilt down on your carpet, put the screen over it, and use your vacuum cleaner’s dusting attachment to suck out dust from the quilt through the screen. You will be amazed at the difference this can make.
Then move the quilt outdoors. Lay it on a sheet in the shade, or (if it’s sturdy) drape it over a sheet-covered rail fence (no pickets!) or a couple of clotheslines spaced a few feet apart so the weight is evenly distributed and the quilt isn’t flapping around, and let it snooze in the fresh air for the day. No Febreze or other "freshening" sprays, please. We don’t yet know their long-term effect on fabrics, especially antique ones."

I have a vintage hand tied quilt that is wool and cotton corduroy, so I would not wash it. Experts say to forget the dry cleaners...they will ruin it! If using it on a bed, make sure a top sheet turns down over the top of the quilt. Do not sit directly on the quilt when sitting on the side of the bed...turn it back and sit on the sheet. Place a smaller blanket, or throw, at the foot of the bed, for your pet cat or dog. (My little dog likes his own towel at the foot, and can still sleep with me!) You may use a lint roller to remove loose lint or hair (the type with the tear off sheets on the handled roller).
I hope you will use this information, and pass it along to others, so more vintage quilts are preserved.
Take care, Diane Mc (BlackRain4 on ebay) ( (
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The Care & Storage of Vintage Linens

This lovely Vintage Pink Roses Huck Towel / Table Runner can be seen at:

Vintage linens need to be washed by hand and line dried, to prevent damage to the fibers. Do not use a washer & dryer, as the agitation of the washing machine will cause holes, and heat from the dryer will cause fiber loss and shrinkage. A front loading washer may be a possibility for sturdier linens.
Use a plastic tub to wash your linens, as metal has an oxidation process which may cause rust. (I found a clear plastic tub with handles, that fits in one of my kitchen sinks, at WalMart.) A clear plastic tub is best, as you can see if colors run, while you are soaking your vintage linens. If color starts to run, immediately rinse the cloth with cold water to remove the solution. Some old things cannot handle hot water.
One of the VTLC members suggested soaking a vintage linen in plain tepid, or lukewarm water, to loosen old dirt, soaps, and stains, that are in the fibers, before you even use a presoak, such as Biz. (There may be alot of old soap, or starch, residue left in the vintage 'cloth.) I did this and saw old soap, and alot of dirt come out! I use Biz now most of the time. It is terrific. I may soak something in a Biz, or Oxyclean solution, first...for about 30 minutes to one hour (or more), and then change the water...putting Ivory Snow, or All Detergent in (depending on the type, age, and content of the vintage linen). There is still quite a bit of the Biz on the 'cloth (as you have not rinsed it) which will continue to work. Biz can be too harsh for very delicate things. For extremely delicate, older things, use plain water presoak, rinse, and soak in Ivory Snow solution. CAUTION: The new Biz has OXY products in it!!! Oxy cleaners may damage rayon or linen blended fabrics, and even make holes in fabrics with metallic threads!
So, put cool water, with Ivory Snow Liquid Detergent, in the plastic basin. Soak your vintage linen 2 hours to 48 hours, depending on how dirty it is. You must move the item around once in a while, to make sure all areas soak properly. Ivory Snow is safe for even the older vintage cloths (30's & 40's, or earlier), embroidery, crochet, and even cloths with metallic threads (as silver & gold metallic threads in some Christmas Tablecloths.) Rinse your cloth with cool water, until the water runs clear. Leaving soap in the cloth can weaken the fibers. Never wring or twist the cloth, just squeeze gently. Then hang to dry outside on a clothes line, or lay flat on towels on a table. Hang the vintage linen part way over the line, as hanging at the corners can stretch it and leave marks. Use plastic clothes pins, as the wooden ones can leave marks.
If you would like to try to remove spots from tablecloths, you could try using "Simple Green" Household spray. After you have wet your cloth in the basin of Ivory Snow solution, you can spray the Simple Green on the spots to soak. This is not an oxygen product, so it is safer for older fabrics. Try it first on an outside area of the cloth to be safe. (Make sure you have good air filtration, as it has quite a strong odor!)
If you are washing a 50's or later tablecloth (for example) you could try soaking it in "Biz" (which quite a few vintage collectors do). I soaked two vintage white damask tablecloth and napkin sets, a print tablecloth, and an embroidered dresser scarf, in biz, with beautiful results. I have tried soaking the 50's & 60's 'cloths in Oxy Magic, with some detergent, such as Ivory Snow Liquid. I have also tried a soak with Ivory Snow Liquid and putting Oxy Clean Liquid on spots, after the cloth is wet. There are other Oxy products as well. Also, I have soaked 50's & 60's 'cloths in Woolite in cold water, sometimes spotting with "Simple Green". Remember not to use the Oxy products, or Woolite, on crochet, embroidery, metallic threads, finer, and/or older cloths, etc. These fabrics cannot take the brighteners! Never use chlorine bleach!!! It will weaken fibers, erase patterns, possibly make holes, and leave white areas. I cringe at the thought of the bleach pens that some people, selling linens on auction, suggest you use to remove stains!
Sun Crofting is using the sun's rays to naturally bleach a cloth. I have placed a vintage tablecloth, that I have soaked, on terry towels on top of a folding table outside in the sun. Some collectors place the tablecloth directly on green grass, to use the oxygen released by the grass's photosynthesis process. (I don't do that as we spray alot of bug sprays, plus we have pets.) I had great results using the table outside, suncrofting to remove extremely bad storage stains, from a Luther Travis Tablecloth. When you do this, make sure you spray cool water on the tablecloth to keep it damp. I used a clean spray bottle on fine spray and cool water. You need to constantly watch your linen in the sun. Don't forget about it...leave it out too long and it could start to fade!
I have tried ddseven spot remover on the white background of a cotton tablecloth, to remove old dye, and grease. This is a strong spot remover, so be careful! It starts to make color run, so don't put it on the colored part! And you need good ventilation! ddseven with lemon juice is great to remove rust stains. Sometimes lemon juice alone (if the rust stain is fairly recent) will work on it's own. (If there is alot of rust stain, when you remove it there may be a hole, as the fibers have been 'eaten' away!
To remove musty odors in linens, VTLC club members have suggested a soak in Arm & Hammer Washing Soda (detergent boost & household cleaner), a soak in pure baking soda and warm water (not too for dye runs!), or vinegar in a rinse. Also, Biz will get out odors, as I had removed musty odor and alot of dirt from vintage crocheted table lace. (Another club member had the same results with vintage lace. This was the 'old' Biz before they added the oxy to it.) If you have tea stained vintage lace, Biz will cause the dye to run! I quickly rinsed my lace with cold water and it was OK.
I have used Fabri-Tac Permanent Adhesive, made by Beacon Adhesives, to close tiny pin holes on tablecloths. I bought it at WalMart. I liked it better than Fray Check, which I found runny. Fabri-Tac is more like a gel. I applied it sparingly using my fingernail and a toothpick, to close the fibers of the cloth. On a linen tablecloth, it looked like a flub in the cloth, when I was done. This has a strong odor also! You need good ventilation! If you resell a tablecloth you have tacked pin holes on, please list it in your auction, or website description. If you are not "excellent" at doing this, maybe it's best to just point out the tiny pin holes in your description.
Another "tablecloth rescue": I purchased a late 1940's? french blue and white colored water lily patterned tablecloth. It was hole free, and a heavy cotton sailcloth material. It had horrid stains, some looking like rust. I soaked it in just water, then in (the pre Oxy)Biz, then in oxyclean with Ivory Snow Liquid, then I spot removed with a paste of Oxy Magic powder placed on each stain. I went over the tablecloth about 3 times! Then it was rinsed, and rinsed, and rinsed, by hand, and hung outside in the sun. It takes a lot of patience and hard work, but it's possible to change a seriously horrid looking tablecloth into a gorgeous one!
I am sharing my experiences with you. Nothing is fool proof when you are learning to clean vintage 'cloths. Even the experts have made take your chances. Make sure a fabric is washable by testing an inconspicuous outside corner, if possible. Some vintage fabrics with silk or rayon, may have to be drycleaned. Sometimes the drycleaners will ruin things! I had great success getting storage stains out of 50's barkcloth curtains, by soaking in Ivory Snow Liquid and spotting with "Simple Green". Hanging on the line in the sun did them good also.
To store vintage fabrics, make sure they are clean. Then wrap them is acid free white tissue paper, or washed unbleached muslin. I think the muslin is great as it won't tear. Every 3-4 months you should refold your tablecloths to prevent fiber damage. Using spray starch on fabrics creates a sugar treat for bugs, so I do not want to use it. If you use it on a tablecloth, you need to completely wash out the spray starch, before you store the tablecloth. If you're storing your items in a closet, put moth/bug repelling sachets in the closet, especially using cedar and lavender. I have a cedar lined chest that I'm using for cloths. Make sure the cloths do not touch the wood, even cedar, as it breaks down the fibers. Being near paper or cardboard hurts too. Plastic bags and containers give off gas vapors. It'll cause storage stains and even holes. I hope this has been helpful.

My favorite vintage linen books are:
Collectors' Guide to Vintage Tablecloths by Pamela Glasell, a Schiffer Book
Collectors' Guide to Vintage Souvenir Tablecloths & Linens by Pamela Glasell, a Schiffer Book
Colorful Tablecloths 1930s - 1960s Threads of the Past by Yvonne Barineau & Erin Henderson
Colorful Vintage Kitchen Towels by Erin Henderson & Yvonne Barineau
Elegant Table Linens From Weil & Durrse including Wilendur with Price Guide by Michelle Hayes
FABULOUS BARKCLOTH Home Decorating Textiles from the 30s, 40s, & 50s by Loretta Smith Fehling
(I need to purchase more books, on antique lace & linens.)

Diane Mc (BlackRain4 on ebay) ( (
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