One of my quilt activities involves repairing damaged quilts. This is one of two “tied comforters” brought to me in well-used and worn condition. A tied comforter is distinguished from a quilt in that its three layers are tied together with heavy cotton thread at intervals across the entire comforter. A quilt, on the other hand, has its three layers stitched together by running stitches often creating a secondary design.
This comforter was made around 1900. It had very thick lumpy batting, stains, and several damaged squares. It has sentimental value for the owner, who wanted it stabilized and repaired just enough to display – perhaps folded across the foot of a bed. After evaluating the fabric for its ability to withstand washing, I dismantling the layers by cutting away 300 ties, removed the batting, and set aside what was left of the gorgeous blue backing. I can use some of it to replace patches on the front.
There are 30 damaged patches that I can see so far – more are likely to be discovered. Once those are replaced, I will layer it with new cotton batting and a similar blue fabric on the back. It’s so rewarding to return something to a client in ‘renewed’ condition so they can enjoy it for a few more years.