Decorating with Quilts
by Martine Caillon-House

Moons by Martine HouseNo matter what the style of your house is, traditional, modern, rustic, nothing will add more to the feeling of comfort than quilts or quilted objects placed here and there. Whether the quilts are spread on a bed or the back of a couch, folded on a rack or (deleted word) hung on the wall, they will contribute to make your home a special place.

There are many ways you can use quilts as decorative accents. Here are a few suggestions with some hints that will help you keep and enjoy your quilts for a long time:

Fold a quilt on the back of your couch. You can see the colors, feel the softness of the fabric and when you sit down at the end of a long day, the quilt is right there to wrap yourself. Choose a new quilt rather than an antique one for this purpose. Handling and folding will damage the aged fabrics of an old quilt. However, if you like the look of an antique quilt, you can find reproductions from many different periods and styles on the market. You are sure to find one that will complement the style of your decor.

You can also put a quilt rack at a strategic place in the room so that the quilt folded on it will be well in sight. You can display an older quilt this way because it will be less handled that on the back of a sofa. However, just remember every few months to unfold it, and refold it in a different way. There are three reasons for that:

--the exposed area of the quilt is more likely to get a little dirty, from dust, pets and just the loving touch of passing hands.

--unfortunately, there is no way to avoid fading. Even it the quilt is not exposed directly to bright light, some fading will occur. Periodically refolding it will avoid one area to become more faded than the others.

--if you keep your quilt always folded in the same way, the creases will become permanent and if the quilt is already old and fragile, the creases might cause the fabric to break. Refolding will take care of that problem and prolong the life of your treasure.

Apart from spreading it on a bed, the best way to enjoy a quilt in all its beauty is to hang it on the wall. It becomes the focal point of your room, adds its color and warmth to your decor and gives your home an incredible sense of comfort. (deleted sentence) The best way to avoid putting irregular stress on the fabric and causing damage is to put a sleeve on the back of the quilt and thread it trhough a rod. You can decide to have an apparent rod and in that case choose the style of rod that complements your decor or leave the rod out of sight.

Here is how you put a sleeve on the back of your quilt:

--Decide how your quilt is going to hang, the long side up and down, or the long side parallel to your floor (this depends on the size of your quilt and the place you want to put it in the room). Most commonly, quilts hang the way they would be on a bed, long side up and down.

--Measure the side that will be on the rod, from edge to edge. Let’s take 85” as an example. Purchase a 1/4 yard of muslin or any other fabric that will be 85” wide (you can find muslin 90” wide. Most other fabric will be 45” or 60”. Then buy two 1/4 yard pieces and sew the short sides together to get the needed length). If your quilt is going to be hanging from the ceiling or away from the wall and be visible from both sides, you will want to make your sleeve out of a fabric that will match or complement the fabric on the back of the quilt, so that it is not too obvious.

--If the rod is to be apparent, measure the long side of the sleeve to be the same plus 1” than the side of your quilt. Here 86” (85” +1”). Turn under 1/4 twice at each end and top stitch. If the rod is to be hidden, measure the sleeve so that it is approximately 3” shorter than the side of your quilt. In our example, 82”. Turn under the ends in the same way as above which will leave you approximately 81”.

--Fold the fabric lengthwise, right sides together and sew. You will have a tube of fabric. Turn it right side out and the sleeve is ready to be attached to the quilt.

--Place the sleeve just underneath the binding, positioning it so that the center of the sleeve matches the center of the side of the quilt and whipstitch both long sides, catching the backing fabric and the batting but not going all the way through to the front. When you are done, your quilt is ready to be hung. Just thread the rod through the sleeve, hang it and enjoy.

Quilts will give you many, many years of pleasure and make your house a cozy and comfortable place to be. The style of a timberframe house will let you decorate in a traditional way or with a “country”look or lets you use very contemporary art pieces. This will be true for the quilts you use; they can be very traditional bed quilts or modern pieces of fiber art. No matter what you choose, there are a few things that will help you keep them longer:

--make sure your quilts are displayed away from any direct sunlight. Quilts will fade, no matter what but you can slow down the process by avoiding direct sunlight. A north wall is a perfect location. You can also help by refolding your quilt periodically.

--If you own several quilts, change your displays every few months. Take some down and replace them with others. The ones you are not displaying should be carefully folded and stored in a clean pillow case, never in a plastic bag which promotes humidity and mildew as well as parasites.

--It is a lot of work to wash a quilt without damaging it. So, unless your quilt is very stained, a gentle vacuuming through a clean sheet or cheese cloth will remove the dust and give it a cleaner look.

With the proper loving care, your quilts will give you many, many years of pleasure and make your house a cozy and comfortable place to be.

This Ring of Quilts is owned by Martine House

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