|Documenting Your Quilts and Textiles
Most of the quilts that we make today will outlive us. It is important that each quilt you make include a label that contains your name, the date that the quilt was made, and perhaps, the city and state where you live. Many labels include information on the reason that the quilt was made (wedding gift, anniversary, graduation, etc) this information may also include dates and names of the quilt recipients. Today's sewing machines will embroider this information directly on the quilt back, or you may make a simple label, and stitch it carefully to the back.
As quilt conservators, we are constantly viewing antique quilts with no name, date or information to link that particular textile to the family that owns the item.
It becomes a detective game to determine "who made this quilt". Fortunately, quilts contain many clues to help in our search.
Most fabrics were produced for a short period of time. Books containing photographs of fabrics help us determine the year that the fabric was produced.
|Textile colors also contain clues to dating and specific patterns sometimes aid in this quest. A careful examination of the workmanship of the quilt can help us determine if the quilter was a master quilter or a novice. Frequently, a quilt contains two very different levels of skills, perhaps indicating a novice was learning from a master quiltmaker. This information may help in establishing the date that the quilt was made. |
If you have an antique family quilt, we strongly urge you to capture as much information as possible about the quilt and the quiltmaker.
Questions to ask:
Who made this quilt?
What is the name of the pattern?
Size of the quilt (width X length)?
|Date made circa? |
Physical description?Top fabric? Color (predominatecolor)
Backing fabric? (predominatecolor, muslin, homespun, etc) Batting, filling? (Cotton, wool,processed/unprocessed)
Construction technique? hand pieced? machine pieced?
Who quilted it? Church group? Quiltmaker? Local Quilting Bee?
Quilting/pattern/amount? How close together is the quilting?
Condition? Needs cleaning? Has a tear___? Binding frayed?
Where did this quilt come from? (Came West in a covered wagon?) Hope chest? Moved from___?
Clearly, there are many more questions that can be asked. Thisquest may put you in touch with your family genealogist. It's a fascinating journey, as all family histories are. If you need assistance, bring your quilt to White Bluffs and let us help you on this journey.
|Photograph your quilt or textile. |
Taking a photograph with you, as you meet with your relatives is easier than bringing the quilt. These photographs and anyfamily photographs you maydiscover will become an important part of the unique history of this family treasure.
|At White Bluffs we try to include a photograph of the Quiltmaker with every antique quilt that we display. |
A copy of the document we use to record this information may be printed (highlight/print section). The blank area in the upper right hand corner will allow you to include a small photo of the quilt.
Attachments may include photos, letters, comments, etc. Include as many attachments as you can and store this information in a safe place. If the quilt is not in daily use, consider sewing a small pocket to the back, to include basic information and instructions on where the remainder of the information can be located.
This is one of the forms that we use to document information about each quilt. The space in the upper right corner is for a photo of the quilt.