Family heirlooms should be enjoyed whenever possible. But if your historic quilt has become too fragile for you to use, you should keep it safe by storing it.
Acid free materials are the best way to preserve your quilt. Purchase an acid free box that is large enough to accommodate your quilt without folding it too much. Although the ideal way to store a quilt is to lay it flat, few homes (or museums, for that matter!) have enough space to do this. An extra long textile box will minimize the number of folds you will have to make in your quilt.
Line your box with acid free tissue. Gently fold the quilt so it will fit inside the box. Place long strips of twisted acid free tissue in each fold to prevent creasing. Place a sheet between each layer of the quilt as you fold it, so it isnít touching itself in the box. A quilt is made of many different materials and colors that might damage each other if there is no barrier in place.
Crazy quilts are the most difficult kind to preserve, because there are several different kinds of fabric used in a single quilt. Each type wears differently, but silks are the most fragile. Try not to fold your quilt so that any patches of silk, or previously damaged materials, are on the fold. This will help prevent the silk from splitting or tearing further over time.
After packing your quilt, put it in a room where the temperature and humidity are constant, such as under the bed in your guest room. Avoid the basement or attic where temperature and humidity fluctuations are extreme.
For more information on preserving historical objects, including textiles, check out the following recommended books: