Caring for and Storing Your Amish Quilt
Caring for and Storing Your Amish Quilt
Amish quilts are more than just a piece of fabric that is used to keep you warm at night or to decorate a bare wall with. An Amish quilt is truly a work of art that is like nothing else you own. The Amish quilt has a long and fascinating history that has only been truly appreciated by the masses for the last thirty years. Known for its unique color usage, mesmerizing geometrical design, and masterful stitch work, the Amish quilt is in every sense of the word a beautiful piece of art. So, owning an Amish quilt requires a little extra care and effort to keep it looking beautiful for generations and to honor the hundreds of hours that went into creating such an impressive achievement of design, patience, and skill.
Since most Amish quilts cost hundreds and even thousands of dollars each, taking good care of your Amish quilt is wise if you want to enjoy your investment for years to come. While it does not take a lot of extra effort to care for and maintain the integrity of your Amish quilt, you do need to remember that it was handmade by a single individual rather than mass produced by a machine, so treating your Amish quilt with a little respect is important.
Amish quilts are meant to be both visually appealing and used for the purpose of keeping warm on those cold winter nights, so do not be afraid to actually use your Amish quilt on your bed rather than storing it away. The Amish believe in only making things that serve a purpose, so using your Amish quilt for what it was intended is the greatest compliment you can give to the Amish quilter who made it for you. Of course, actually using your Amish quilt can cause a certain amount of wear and tear due to ordinary daily use. Lint, hair, or dust can easily accumulate on your Amish quilt, especially if you have pets, so you might want to remove these particles from your quilt on a monthly or quarterly basis without having to go to the trouble of washing it. To remove these items, simply place a nylon stocking over the nozzle of your hand tool attachment of your regular vacuum. Gently run the nozzle horizontally and vertically across the entire quilt to remove simple dust and dirt.
Of course, eventually you will need to wash your Amish quilt due to the accidental stain or once or twice a year to give it new life and freshness. Since most Amish quilts are put together using cotton or polyester fabrics, they are safe to be used in the washing machine, however, additional care is needed when doing so. Fill your washing machine with cold water only, to prevent shrinkage or color bleeding, and add a small amount of Woolite to the water. Swirl the soap around a bit with your hand and then place your Amish quilt inside the washing machine. You can either use the gentle cycle setting on your machine or use your hands to agitate the water for a few minutes to soak the entire quilt. Let the quilt sit in the still water for about two hours and then use the spin cycle to remove all of the soapy water. Fill the washer with cold water again and let the quilt sit for another two hours. Finally, use the spin cycle to remove the remaining water and take the quilt out. If you have a clothesline you can hang your Amish quilt from it to dry or spread out a bunch of clean, preferably white towels on the ground outside and place the quilt on top of them. If your quilt is not dried completely through, you can place it in the dryer, but only use the air fluff setting, never a heated setting. This washing process can also be done in a clean bathtub or you can always take your Amish quilt to the dry cleaners.
If you choose to display your Amish quilt by hanging it from the wall, make sure to use a high quality Amish quilt hanger that will not stretch, mar, or distort the quilt unnecessarily. Quilt hangers should be made of hard wood, such as oak or walnut, and long enough to hold the entire quilt firmly and distribute the weight evenly. Many Amish furniture makers are now making Amish quilt hangers that are specifically made to hold different sized Amish quilts properly. If you are going to display a smaller wall hanging sized Amish quilt, you should use a quilt hanger that is approximately two inches shorter than the quilt so as not to detract from its overall beauty. If you are going to display a larger bed sized Amish quilt, then you should use an Amish quilt hanger that is of equal length or slightly larger than the quilt itself to prevent the sides from stretching due to the weight of the quilt.
When storing your Amish quilt, it is important that air is allowed to circulate around it to keep it from deteriorating. Most Amish quilts are made from cotton fabrics and since cotton is a natural fiber, it needs air to keep it fresh and odor free. However, you want to also protect your Amish quilt from insects, such as moths or other bugs, who love to munch on those cotton fibers while your quilt is in storage. So, when storing your Amish quilt make sure you place it inside a specially made cloth storage bag, a regular cloth pillow case, or wrap it inside a sheet. You never want to use a plastic bag to store your Amish quilt in because this prevents air from getting to the quilt. It is best to roll your Amish quilt instead of folding it to prevent permanent creases during storage. You may want to store your Amish quilt inside a beautiful handmade Amish cedar chest, but never do so without it being wrapped inside a bag. Your Amish quilt should never come directly in contact with wood when storing, whether it be inside a cedar chest, a closet, or a chest of drawers.
Following some of these simple rules should keep your Amish quilt in good shape for many years or generations to come, so make sure to put as much thought into caring for your Amish quilt as went into the process of making it.
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