Thursday, July 07, 2005

Quilt Front Before Wash

All American Quilt Wash Success Story

I don't advocate washing antique quilts. When someone asks me how to wash their heirloom, I pass on some very good advice that was given to me..."Go lay down on the couch with your feet up, until the feeling passes". There are many things you can do to freshen an antique quilt, and you can read about that on my website here

I sell a product called the All American Quilt Wash by Engleside Products. It claims to be safe on antique quilts, but when I sell it, I recommend it only for new quilts. I stress not to wet wash a quilt that was made before 1940, and then only after it's strength and color fastness can be determined, and then only washed by hand. A dear friend consigned a quilt to me last week. An adorable circa 1930s child's quilt. But, no saleable in its condition. There were dark spots, fold discolorations, and dust smudges along all the scalloped edges. With her gracious permission, I washed it, with the All American Quilt Wash. I filled my washer with cold water and added 8 scoops of the Quilt Wash, submerged the quilt, and let it soak overnight, occasionally hand agitating gently. I bypassed the machine wash and went straight to rinse and onto spin. I let the quilt dry in the sun all day on the grass and it came out fantastic! Nice and bright white, all the fold discolorations were gone, and the dark stains on the front are now hardly visible.

I still do not advocate wet washing an antique quilt, I am not going to wash every quilt in my collection because of this small success. If you need help in determining how to care for you quilt, I recommend you consult a professional. I can probably refer you to one in your area if you ask!

1930s Child's Applique Quilt

Quilt Front After Wash

Quilt Back Before Wash

Quilt Back After Wash

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

1890 Crazy Quilt

1890 Crazy Quilt Posted by Hello

Newly Acquired Crazy Quilt

Did you know when I first starting quilting I could not stand Crazy Quilts. They are an acquired taste...totally not the normal quilt. After all, many were created with fabrics other than cottons which is what most traditional quilters construct their quilts from. They are rarely even quilted! How can it be called a quilt!

It was not until I endeavored to make one, did I truly appreciate what does into these fantastic pieces. You do not only need to have basic quilting and sewing skills. If you want to create a piece that will oooh and ahhh, you will need to master embroidery stitches, hand painting, applique, and more. You need to be able to be free with your design.

My first piece I made using a Crazy Quilt technique was actually a vest. It won third place in the apparel class in a local quilt show. My second piece was a miniature Crazy Quilt which I donated to the guild that I belong to, for their Quilt Show Mini Raffle. I would like to add, my wonderful friend, Betty, won my quilt, so I know it will be cherished and loved, and I can visit it anytime I'd like to. I am working on another vest in a different color scheme. As Crazy as Crazy Quilting can be...I stay within a certain criteria: block size, number of fabrics/pieces, and the colors involved are limited.

Might I add, my first real antique quilt purchase was a Crazy Quilt. A stunning one in excellent condition, and with provenance. I still have that quilt and cherish it. I go to it for inspiration, sometimes talking to the quilter when no one is watching.

I just added another Crazy Quilt to my collection. It is dated 1889-1890. In very good condition for it's age...I hope I look this good at 115 years old! Only 7 fabrics are showing wear. What is so amazing about this quilt is the amount of hand painting. Many floral motifs, some, crossing over fabric seams to other fabrics. I have never seen so much hand painting, and well done painting, in a quilt before. She even has some dimensional appliqued pansies, and she inked the veins in petals! It is a beauty.

I'll be smiling for the rest of the week because of this quilt. Unfortunately, I do not know who the quiltmaker is on this piece. It really is so important to label our quilts appropriately. Wouldn't you want the person you give a smile to a hundred years from now to know WHO you were, not just what you made?

My best,
Material Pleasures

Monday, June 20, 2005

Antique Redwork Quilt, circa 1920s, possibly earlier. Measures 87"x75". There are 42 hand embroidered redwork blocks that measure about 7.5" square.
Posted by Hello

Antique purse , circa 1915-1920s. Ornate metal frame with a blue glass cabuchon clasp. 12" book link chain. Crocheted or knitted in blue thread and blue carnival glass beads. Silk blue lining is original and has a tear in it. The purse and frame are in excellent condition with no losses. It measures 7.5"x8.5".

Posted by Hello

Depression Era Vintage Quilt, Circa 1930s. Measures 80"x80". Alternating solid lavender squares and white squares with a pretty hand appliqued flower. Each flower has petals in a feedsack print in a variety of pastel colors, solid green leaves, and embroidered and appliqued with black buttonhole stitches and a running stitch for the leaf veins.

Posted by Hello

Catching Up

Material Pleasures is still here! I admit, I need to be more attentive of the blog, it is now on the priority list.

It's been an exciting few months for Material Pleasures.
We have vended at an antique show and a quilt show. I must admit, the quilt shows are my favorites. 95% of the people who walk through the door are interested in quilts, the other 5% are there to hold someone's bags.

Material Pleasures also received a mention in Patricia Cumming's new book "Straight Talk About Quilt Care". The book is only available through her website This books answers many questions concerning your new and antique textiles: caring, display, cleaning, and more. It is useful to quilters, collectors, curators, or just someone looking to preserve Grandma's Heirlooms.

Our two products that we care for textile care are in the book, Restoration and the All American Quilt Wash which can be viewed here:

The books also includes pictures of several quilts that we carry.

On a personal note, school is almost out and it will be my duty not to turn the kiddies into couch potatoes. We have planned swim lessons, gymnastics classes, a math camp, 2 vacations, some small days trips, and for my youngest starting Kindergarten in the fall...Kindergarten Prep.

We have one antique show scheduled in August at the Sovereign Bank Arena in Trenton, NJ in August. More scheduled in the fall. You can see our calendar at We would love to meet you!

Friday, March 18, 2005

Where did the month of March go?

Let's see, there was a quilt show the beginning of March, a wonderful show, beautiful quilts.
I taught a class in crazy quilting last weekend to my guild, The Courthouse Quilters. But my machine got temperamental with me, the bobbin went all wacky (haven't we all been there?), so now it is in the shop. It's a Janome Memory Craft 4000. I love this machine. Before my husband bought me this machine, I was sewing on my mother's old Nelco from the 1970s. It had a hard time going up a layer of seams or foundation piecing or machine quilting. So when I brought this home, I thought I was in Heaven. I still love this machine. Shortly after, he purchase a Janome Jem for me for Mother's Day, something I can drag around to classes and stuff. Then, about three years ago, I stumbled upon a Janome 8000 with a Koala cabinet for $600. A real steal. Dear hubby came through again for me and they came home with me. I had it serviced and played around some. I had hoped to use it more but with the two small girls and a budding antique textile business, there wasn't time.
So I am selling can see the details here:

I have my eye on the Janome 10001 now. With the little one going into 'all day' Kindergarten in the Fall, I might have some spare time on my hands...
While I am on the subject of machines, I have been on a Featherweight kick. My husband bought me a real nice one for Christmas. Now I am searching for a white one at a reasonable price. Boy, I bet he wishes I asked for jewelry instead!

Quilters Newsletter Magazine performed a study a few years ago surveying the purchasing habits of quilts...the average quilter has 2 sewing machines...I guess they didn't come to my house!!

I have started adding newer inventory to the website...patterns that are vintage inspired. I have 2 Redwork Books with patterns based on actual antique quilts, an Apron Pattern that uses a Vintage Printed Tablecloth, and an Elegant Wedding Bag Pattern with Cross Stitch Embroidery. You can see them here:

Have a great day!
Material Pleasures

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

March Newsletter Posted on Material Pleasures

Been a busy day...Girls had a snow day off from school. We did some stenciling and crafts.

I was able to work on the website today as well...the March Newsletter is now posted, you can view it at:

The March Monthly Special is 40% all Buttons.

I am getting ready to set up at a Quilt Show this weekend. If you are in the area, stop by and say "Hi!". I am in Booth 218, "Material Pleasures".

March 3-6: The Quilt Fest of New Jersey, in Somerset, NJ at the Garden State Exposition Center. Exit 10 off I-287. The Quilt Fest will feature a Merchants Mall offering the best in fabrics, notions, sewing machines, wearable art, embroidery and everything for the quilter and home sewer! There will be exhibitions, workshops, lectures and more! Admission is $12 and includes re entry for all days. Contact me for more information or visit

I love the flexibility selling online has for me, as a stay home mom. But I love these shows because I love people, I love talking to people, and sharing my linens and quilts with those of you who really appreciate them. Can you tell I don't get out much?

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

New Items Listed on Material Pleasures

Well, I couldn't stand it...I had to play with some of those quilts I won last weekend.

1930s Vintage Quilt: Double Wedding Ring w/ Pink Back

Antique Quilt: Graphic Grandmother's Cross 1880s

1930s Vintage Quilt: Dresden Plate

And my favorite, 1930s Vintage Quilt: Floral Applique with Lavender

I also was able to list some vintage Persian Textiles from Iran and an Italian Brocade Tablecloth as well.

I have some research to do on some antique lace to do tonight. There is nothing more relaxing than pouring over lace reference books with a magnifying glass and comparing lace. I am totally serious. Something I have to do after I put the girls to sleep. I highly recommend the book "Guide to Lace and Linens" by Elizabeth Kurella. She really breaks lace done easily so you can understand it.

On a personal note, I am a stay at home mom of two girls, ages 4 1/2 and 7. Today we register the little one for all day Kindergarten. They grow so fast, I can't believe she will be getting on that yellow school come September. My older one is in First Grade, and so I don't start bragging too much, I'll just say, she is my angel. I operate my Antique Textile Business online at home so I can be with them all day. They trek with me to auctions and estate sales and help out with the bidding. They have been coming to auctions with me for the past 3 years, so they know what to expect and what is expected of them. They are good kids as long as you keep them busy (coloring, reading, video games) and well fed. Soda is a special treat for good behavior.

Until next time...
My best,

Material Pleasures

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

Buying Frenzy at a Textile Auction

Ever go to an auction? I am not talking eBay, I mean real life, with a real auctioneer. You get to actually preview the items you are bidding on in real life...Touch them...Look at the details.
This past weekend I attended a textile auction in Upstate NY that offered over 500 lots, 90% of them were quilts. Many were hanging in all their glory, most were delicately folded on tables and we were constantly reminded to "Please put the quilts back on the table you found them".
Some important things to keep in mind at an auction such as this is:

#1 - Be organized! Buy the catalog and take lots of notes...With so many items, you are not going to remember all the details.
#2 - Use a pencil! You don't want to be walking around 200 year old textiles with ink. Using white gloves is recommended but not required always, you don't want that 5 karat diamond (or that ragged finger nail) snagging a lace insert.
#3 - Do everything you need before the auction starts. I hate missing a beat, so I have registered, used the ladies' room, and have my Diet Pepsi and snack handy all before the auctioneer is up on his podium.
#4 - Preview everything well...Know what you intend to buy, know your maximum price, and stick to it. Stay disciplined so you don't get caught up in the heat of a bidding frenzy and overpay what you had wanted.
#5 - Have your Bidder's Number ready...and use it! Don't try to be cool with that one finger by your nose to only works if the auctioneer knows you and what you bid on and there isn't a lady with a big hat in front of you. Use your paddle or bidding number to bid. The auctioneer will be sure to see you and you won't miss bidding.
#6 - Don't be afraid to yell out to get the auctioneer's attention...he's human...he might not see you right away. If you don't know his name, a good old fashioned Brooklyn "Yo!" does fine.
#7 - Know the terms of the auction: Buyer's Premium? Payment methods? Delivery Options? You don't want any surprises at the end of the day.
#8 - Have lots of fun!
There is almost nothing more exciting that being surrounded by all those glorious quilts this weekend...and being able to touch them, handle them...and even bring a few home. I'll share some pics as soon as I take them.
Happy Bidding!
Material Pleasures