A quilt is a bedspread or blanket made of two layers of fabric that is filled with a material, such as cotton, wool, feathers, or down, and is stitched together, usually in a decorative design. The quilt fabric can be made of many different types of fabric, such as cotton, wool, flannel, or silk. Cotton is the most traditional and durable quilt fabric.
There are many different types of styles of quilt fabrics available, giving you the ability to express yourself and give your quilt personality. Some examples of different styles commonly found are abstract, floral, solid, tone on tone, and geometric. There are also well known designers of quilt fabrics. Some popular designers are: Free Spirit, Amy Butler, Kaufman, Timeless Treasure, Hoffman, and In the Beginning. There are many different manufacturers making quilt fabrics, making it easier than ever to find the kind of fabric with the type of motif that is just right for your project.
The best example of just how many quilt fabrics are available today is a recent trend in quilting known as millennium quilts. When the year 2000 was approaching, quilters world wide wanted to commemorate the millennium. What better way than with a quilt! Thus was born the pursuit of making a quilt with 2,000 different kinds of quilt fabrics. People traded quilt fabrics with friends and their local Quilting Guild. Groups and e-mail lists were formed on the internet where people could trade different quilt fabrics. The internet abounds with pictures of the different millennium quilts that people made, displaying the beautiful fruits of hard work and creativity.
To care for your quilt and to ensure the maximum life of the quilt fabrics, avoid placing your fabrics in direct light. Light, both sunlight and artificial, can have negative effects on the dyes in your quilt fabrics, especially in older quilt fabrics which were dyed with natural dyes or early forms of synthetic dyes which are not colorfast.
To clean your quilt fabric, first vacuum it by passing a low-suction vacuum over it. The older the quilt, the more careful you should be, using a handheld vacuum on the lowest setting. Newer and stronger quilt fabrics can withstand more. You should also occasionally shampoo your quilt fabrics when you notice dirt build-up. However, there are certain risks in shampooing a quilt. As mentioned, quilt fabrics, especially older ones, are often not dyed with colorfast dyes, which can result in color bleeding or fading if not properly cleaned. Also, if the quilt is made from wool, there is a risk of shrinking the yarns if cleaned incorrectly, for example by over-wetting the fabric. For these reasons, it is a good idea to have an old and valuable quilt cleaned by a professional company which has experience cleaning quilts.
If you do decide to clean your quilt fabrics on your own, make sure to first do a "Color Fastness Test" by shampooing an inconspicuous area of the quilt first and looking for any color bleeding or fading. Shampoo your fabric with cool water and soap or rug shampoo. It is also advisable to fold a clean white towel over this area of the quilt fabric and place it between the inconspicuous area of the quilt mentioned above and a light weight, then looking at the white towel for signs of color transfer. If both of these methods show no signs of color bleeding or transfer, it is safe to proceed and clean the rest of your quilt. Push firmly, but not too strongly with the palm of your hand or with a non-shedding cellulose sponge. Then rinse your quilt well with plain water, squeeze all the water out, and leave it to dry.
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| November 21, 2017
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