Niddy noddy

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Antique Quilt

Every now and then my parents have a clear out and offer various items around the family. They are very generous and many of them are beautiful and/or special. Most - if not all - of them are familiar, things we have grown up with.

But where my mum has kept this quilt for all these years I don't know. Well , in the loft I suppose? I'd never seen it before - and my parents aren't really the kind to keep things they don't need or use. It was in a box labelled, on its various sides, as "Beautiful antique quilt" "Grandma's Quilt" "To be kept". Clearly for my father's benefit.

They had thought that no-one would want it and/or have room for it, so maybe I could sell it on eBay? I was quick to suggest that I'd be happy to give it a home.

Its silk, and beautifully light and soft. It belonged to my great-grandmother - her daugher (my gran) was born at the turn of the century, married in 1921. So this would be late Victorian or Edwardian. The stitching looks machine- rather than hand-done.

The patterned silk has quite an oriental design.

At the moment, this is gracing the spare room, and I regularly visit it.
I'm hoping to keep it there, though probably not for use. Generally it seems to be in really excellent condition - except for the corners.

This picture (below) is quite close up - and you have to look pretty close to spot the wear. However, I'm concerned this might get worse.

The options seem to me to be that I darn it - I'm pretty good at sewing, and could do a fairly neat job I think, but it would clearly show, even if I can get a fairly good colour match. Or I wondered about patching the corners - if I could get silk of a matching shade in the rust, brown or possibly black - and make patches to repeat the scallop pattern of the middle.

I'd be so grateful for any comments/advice on this.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Letty

Gorgeous eiderdown, what a stunning piece :-)

My advice is this:

I think it looks like a 1910's/1920's piece, she could have bought it when her daughter was young(?) It has a lot of influence from that period, oriental florals, colouring etc. I may be wrong and it is hard to tell for sure not seeing it in the flesh.

I would leave the fabric as it is rather than sew it. Eiderdowns are a pain to repair and any repairs can lessen their value. If there is no feather leakage and the inner is intact I would just use it for display purposes only and enjoy looking at it. If you were to sell it it would still be of interest to buyers as long as you describe the wear accurately. I would not recommend laundering this item at all. Any wear can get worse. I have had a few eiderdowns split on me in the machine so I never launder them any more, just spray a light mist of febreze in the general area of and hang out on the line on a warm spring day to air.

Hope this helps :-)

7:44 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Lettuce, Thanks for your message. The string is definitely all curtain tie backs and there are indeed some tassels included although I haven't got to the bottom of the bag yet. It's all very dusty, having come from a shop which apparently closed down in the 1970s.

Your eiderdown is absolutely gorgeous and certainly something you should hang on to. I have a feeling that if you Ebay it you'll certainly live to regret it (been there, done it!). I agree with Donna that it's probably best left well alone. The more 'ordinary' ones with rips or tears don't suffer for being patched, but something like this is far more valuable as is, than if you try to rectify the damage.

You say you probably don't intend to use it, just have it for display. If that's the case I'd be inclined to not touch it and just enjoy it for what it is. Provided it doesn't get too much sun then I don't think it will worsen. If it IS a particularly sunny room I would suggest you put something like a thin white linen or cotton bedspread over it on particularly sunny days and during the height of the summer. Bear in mind the eiderdown hasn't seen the light of day for many, many years and the colours are no doubt as vivid as they ever were, so too much bright light now could affect the fibres and it would fade and deteriorate very quickly.

My thinking, therefore, is enjoy it in its current condition, and make sure nothing is allowed to affect it in any way, ie no direct sunshine, no visitors sleeping under it and no bouncing on the bed!

Sue ;o))

10:05 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi! That's a very beautiful heirloom! As Sue says, I would enjoy it as it is but respect it!

11:48 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Lettuce,
Beautiful eiderdown, what a fab heirloom to be given.
Sounds like you've got some good advice there from Donna and Sue.
L x

12:01 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Beautiful quilt! It looks to me like the splits are due to the fabric rotting. Silk does that. Do not attempt to mend it. It will shred, and will decrease its value. Enjoy it. Keep it out of direct sunlight, and handle carefully. Do not fold it the exact same way every time.

4:22 PM  
Blogger lettuce said...

thanks so much for your advice, all of you.

I'm relieved to have expert guidance - I think I instinctively knew attempting to mend this would be a mistake, but glad to be reassured that this isn't negligent!

9:55 AM  
Blogger Ex-Shammickite said...

I was browsing through your posts, having a great time. I love old fabrics and knitting, you have some lovely photos there.

3:48 AM  

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