I have two quilts that I think Mimi (Wilhelmina Pottharst Rowley- my great aunt) put together from the scrap leavings of her dress salon. I thought they were under my studio desk during the flood. We had 31 inches in the house so I was pretty sure they had been in the floodwater. But now I am thinking they were probably not submersed but definitely wet.
I decided today I was going to clean them. I figured they were already destined for the landfill, so whatever I did to them was lagniappe anyway.
Well, I didn't expect that, sweetheart! Probably not such a good development.
At first I thought it was the sediment from the flood water. The water had been muddy brown and caustic. And that may have been some of the water that came out of the quilt. But I soon realized it was the blues and the red dyes from the woolen materials on the front of the Quilt.
I rinsed the Quilt four more times and I let it soak in the water for about three minutes between each rinse. But I was afraid to let it sit in there for very long because of the intensity of the dies. The dye color going into the water never lessened.
I am really glad I chose to do this one first because the second one, the taffeta, silk and velvet one, the color came out as brownish or tan. Much like the color of the floodwater that day. I think it was more the colors of the reds and oranges and browns of the materials.
After agitating the woolens Quilt lightly with my hands, I decided it needed to go outside to dry. But the question was how to get it outside. I decided that a Bed Bath and Beyond bag would perfect to help me haul it through the house. But there must've been a hole in the bottom of the bag because I dragged dye colored water all through the house. Luckily I have tile in all of my rooms now.
And a mop.
For the second quilt I decided a garbage bag was the best way to move it. I laid the quilts out in the backyard on the grass. I debated where to put the quilts to dry.
I wanted them to be in the sun but I wanted it to be not on cement and I really didn't want it to be in the front yard because I didn't want anybody to steal them. Yet I didn't want the multi-talented McGee to be hauling them around the yard. So I ended up putting them in my neighbor's yard flat on the grass. The GOOD neighbor.
Then I had to tackle the Postage Twine quilt. My grandfather worked for the Post Office on the mail route between New Orleans and Houston (where he had a woman on the side by the way). He would bring my grandmother the twine from the packages. Remember when we tied packages with the twine? She crocheted them into this fabulous and very very heavy quilt.
Which was heavier when it was very very wet!
The whole process took me about three hours. And I had a problem kneeling by the side of my tub with my knee replacement knee. That's a whole new level of pain!
The side of the new 6 foot tub is higher than the old regular tub. My stool was lost in the flood so I tried three or four different things before decided that nothing really was going to work.
I ended up kneeling on the "good" knee, which popped that little vertebrae in my lower back out of position.
They dried in the afternoon, but I decided to leave them there overnight. If it rains, well, fresh water is just another bath.
How did they come out?
Some better than others.........I will show you photos tomorrow.