Subject: Slightly OT - help needed

I just received an incredibly generous gift from an old friend: an antique wool paisley shawl. It's in good condition, colors bright, with only a couple of very small holes, and has been kept safe from bugs and

Here's the problem: the way my friend Mal kept the shawl safe was with mothballs. Lots and lots of mothballs. To put it bluntly, the shawl reeks of chemicals, to the point where I'm afraid to unfold it completely in the house because of the stink.

If it were, say, June, I'd simply sandwich it between a couple of clean sheets and let it de-gas on the deck for a couple of hours. Alas, it's November, and God only knows when it will be sunny and dry enough for me to hang my wash outside, let alone an antique textile. My roommate suggested the TV room downstairs because we can shut the door and keep
the cats out. Unfortunately, this means that we won't be able to watch
TV for quite some time unless we wear gas masks.

Does anyone have any ideas besides this? I really would like to do a
detailed check on this before refolding, wrapping in a clean cotton
sheet, and stashing this in my cedar chest until some renovations are
done on the house. Help?

Lisa Evans
Easthampton, MA


Subject: Thank you
From: Patricia Cummings <>
Date: Fri, 27 Nov 2009 20:21:30 -0500

Thanks to all who responded to my query about the quilt made by Chris Wolf

Patricia Lynne Grace Cummings


Subject: Evansville
From: Andi <>
Date: Sat, 28 Nov 2009 05:10:35 -0600
X-Message-Number: 1

I will be in Evansville, Indiana, on Saturday, December 12, for a few
hours, and wonder if there is anything quilty there I should not miss.

Andi in Paducah, KY


Subject: mothball smell
From: "Newbie Richardson" <>

This will not be easy. First vacuum it - while you doing so, test to see
how fargile it is - you know, tug a bit on the edges to see if they star to
tear. Chances are it is fine, these old paisleys are sturdy. Then place it
on air fluff in the dryer with a dryer sheet - that should help. The other
option is to sprinkle it with baking soda and put it in a box for a week or
so - then vacuum again. That has worked for me with musty smelling beaded
dresses from the 1920's.

Sometimes taking it to the drycleaner and asking them to use the same
treatment they use for removing the odor from animal pee. If I remember,
they can put the garment in some kind of chamber with negative ions or
something ( sorry, can't think of the right term).

If all else fails, wait until spring and put it out in the sun when it is
slightly windy.

When it no longer smells, use it! It is very warm and looks fantastic.
Paisley shawls are the grandmother's flower gardens/crazy quilts/double
wedding rings of the clothing world - there are thousands of them out there!



Subject: Re: mothball smell

Newbie -

I just unfolded it and took a good look - it's in *very* good condition,
fabric sturdy, colors bright and clear, with only one tiny hole that someone
(inexpertly) repaired with white cotton thread. Other than that it looks
like it just came off the loom. From what little I've been able to learn
it's almost certainly Scottish. Measurements are approximately 60" x 120",
primary color red.

Right now I have it on the deck sandwiched between a clean piece of white
linen and a clean sheet of heavier fabric to keep the wind from blowing it
off into the yard. Today is supposed to be cloudy and windy but not
rainy, so I'm going to start by airing it out and then try the baking soda trick

Thanks so much for your advice! According to the woman who gave it to me,
the shawl belonged to a relative who was friends with Harriet Beecher Stowe
when she lived at Nook Farm in Connecticut, so this shawl has history as
well as beauty behind it. God knows if I'll ever work up the courage to
wear it, but it's just beautiful. :)



Subject: Document fabric -- Urn and Flowers
From: "Beth Davis" <>
Date: Sat, 28 Nov 2009 10:16:05 -0500
X-Message-Number: 4

RE: Could someone please let me know what institution (other than Mary
Koval:-)might have the chintz fabric, either in a quilt or as yardage that
has the large Urn as the centerpiece, filled with flowers? This is the one
that Mary reproduced in her "Remember Me" line by Windham Fabrics.

At the Genesee Country Village Museum in Mumford, NY, they have a large
(76" x 93") Medallion style quilt (circa 1800) that was made with the
Broderie Perse appliqué technique with that very same chintz fabric with
the Urn and Flowers that Mary Kovel used as inspiration for the fabric
line. I showed Mary pictures of the quilt (which is shown in the book
Stitch in Time which features quilts of the Genesee Country Village
Museum). The quilt even has the initials “AR” embroidered in the urn
(Mary said that she put her own initials in the fabric design). It is a
block printed chintz fabric. The quiltmaker did fill in the floral
arrangement with prints from other fabrics. The quilt has a Turkey Red
Dogtooth border which appears to have been added at a later time period.

Beth Davis
Rush, NY

Subject: Re: removing mothball odor
From: "Force Majeure Quilt Restoration" <>
Date: Sat, 28 Nov 2009 09:35:13 -0600
X-Message-Number: 5

Mothballs don't just stink; the fumes are a health hazard. Traditional
methods such as vinegar and charcoal are often ineffective, especially if
the textile reeks of mothballs. I recommend that you try a product called
Smelleze, which can be purchased here: for $12

Kim Nettles


Subject: Unpacking Collections: The Legacy of Cuesta Benberry
From: kyra hicks <>

Happy Thanksgiving -

Wanted to share the following link to an exhibit that opens next week at Mi
chigan State University Museum: "Unpacking Collections: The Legacy of Cuest
a Benberry, An African American Quilt Scholar."A0 The exhibit opens Dec 6
and runs until Sept 5, 2010.

I'd love to know if there will be an exhibit catalog!A0 So share how you l
ike the show if you're in the Michigan area and can visit it.A0 Thank you!

Best,A0 Kyra
Kyra E. Hicks



Subject: Shawl update
Date: Sat, 28 Nov 2009 16:13:04 -0500

First, thanks to everyone who e-mailed me with advice. The shawl is
much, much less redolent today, thanks to three hours in the clean, cold
breeze this morning. That's right, when I saw that it wasn't supposed
to rain today I decided to start small, so I took a piece of clean white
linen, spread the shawl on it, and carefully spread it out on the deck.
As the smell lessened, I unfolded more and more until the whole length
was waving gently in the wind. I finally took it inside when the wind
really kicked it, and now it's refolded and wrapped in the linen.

Once it didn't reek I took another really good look at it. It's
approximately 60" x 120", primary color a tomatoey red, with fresh
bright colors and only one very small hole. The weft floats were
clipped in the "au lancre" style, so it's almost certainly of European
manufacture, likely on a jacquard loom. I don't know enough about
paisley shawls to tell if it's Scottish, English, or French manufacture,
but based on the size and pattern I'd put it around 1860-1875, possibly
a little later.

I e-mailed a bit more with the woman who gave me the shawl. According
to her, it originally belonged to an ancestor named Aria Hulda Snell
Waters, who knew Harriet Beecher Stowe when she lived at Nook Farm near
Hartford, Connecticut. I've e-mailed the collections manager at the
Stowe House museum down in Hartford to see if she can tell me more about
Mrs. Stowe's local friends.

I'm trying to decide if I'm brave enough to wear it during the holidays
- the only real party-type event I'm due to attend is my office party,
which is a sit-down dinner at a restaurant. Maybe New Year's Eve? :D

Thanks again. This isn't a quilt but it's a fascinating piece of
cultural history. What stories it must be able to tell!

Lisa Evans


Subject: Re: Shawl update
From: "Judy Grow" <>
Date: Sat, 28 Nov 2009 17:13:55 -0500
X-Message-Number: 8

Lisa -- I'd advise you to wear the shawl only if you'll be wearing a big
fluffy hoop skirt. Otherwise you'll be dragging it around on the floor.
They were made that long to fall gracefully over a very wide skirt. But
you already knew that..................

Judy Grow
Flemington NJ

Subject: moth ball odor - lava rock
Date: Sun, 29 Nov 2009 08:11:41 -0500

I looked at the Smelleze ad. I bet it is crushed up lava rock. I use those
bags when faced by a wool item that has been "preserved" in moth balls.
I have gotten them at Bed & Bath or Linens & Things. Here is an ad so yo
u will know what it looks like.
-eliminator.asp 20
They are dusty, so put the bag on the bottom of a large box. Wrap your sha
wl in acid free paper or a sheet and put on top of the rocks. Check after
a couple of days and I think you will be pleased. Then place the bag of
lava rock out in the sun to get the mothball smell out of it. Charcoal br
iquetts (not the pre-light kind soaked in lighter fluid) are also another
great absorber as well as crumbled up newspapers. The lava rocks also abs
orb moisture. That is another good reason to put them in the sun.20
Our neighbors, when the children were little, had all of their clothing in
moth balls. One day years later we were somewhere that smelled of moth ba
lls. My children have no idea what moth balls were. They said "Mama, this
place smells like Mr. Fred!" I hope that people don't associate an awful
smell with me when I am gone. Oh well, he didn't have holey clothes and
was dear sweet man.20

Lisa, enjoy your shawl. Wear it or drape it over something and admire it,
when the smell is gone. I have several shawls and love them.20
The first time I met Newbie Richardson she was wearing an outfit made from
a paisley shawl. Don't fall out and die. Often they fall apart in the cen
ters or moths eat them. I am sure it didn't have wonderful provenance and
it looked wonderful on her. That was at the Quilt Restoration Conference
in Albany, NY. I met Teddy there, too........and many others.20
Off to visit with family for the day. Will have to get out a sweater. I th
ink we might have had frost for the first time last night.20

Lynn Lancaster Gorges
Historic Textiles Studio20
New Bern, NC


Subject: Re: moth ball odor - lava rock

Right now I'm airing it out again because it's a beautiful sunny day...I'll
check Bed, Bath & Beyond later if I can get up the courage to go near the
mall! :)



Subject: Re: Shawl update

I could actually get away with a long skirt at New Year's since it will
almost certainly be with my re-enactor friends. :) Probably won't, though....



Subject: Re: Shawl dimentions
From: "Newbie Richardson" <>
Date: Sun, 29 Nov 2009 10:59:25 -0500
X-Message-Number: 4



Subject: paisley shawls
From: Laura Fisher <>

Hi all - as someone who has sold paisley shawls for years and years, I advi
se that you canA0use them in multiple ways, instead of just packing them a
way. You can wear 'em or drape 'em; to wear a long rectangle is easy, even
tho I am way shorter than Judy Grow, just let the center part swag down you
r back, as ou hook the sides over your arms, it will not touch the floor. A
mong the options are to drape it on the sofa, a chair, or use it over a rai
ling, as a cover on a harvest table or furniture; I have even had clients h
ang them full outA0as wall art, or draperies (with suitable black outA0li
ning between the shawl and the sunlight).A very versatile textile. Come to
think ofA0itA0I may have neverA0met a paisley I didn't like, and had man
y that are just incredible. Many books can give you info--the most photos a
re in the Schiffer tome tho not much information; MoniqueA0 Levi Strauss o
ne is best, and there is an earlier one by Frank Ames, some talkA0more
technique, all full of eye filling great looking shawls. Enjoy
Laura Fisher

Laura Fisher at
305 East 61st Street,5th floor
New York, NY 10065



Subject: Document fabric -- Urn and Flowers
From: "Martha Spark" <>
Date: Sun, 29 Nov 2009 14:33:06 -0500
X-Message-Number: 6

Thanks, Beth, for the information on a quilt in an institution that has
the Urn and Flowers chintz fabric in it. I will try and contact them to
see if they have more info. on it. I wonder about reliability of the circa
date of 1800 for the GCVM quilt. The one I'm researching also has an early
Turkey Red dogtooth inner border, and the body design is Old Maid's Ramble
blockset done in red and green.

On another note, does anyone have info/history on the "Lowell Bleachery
Finish" stamp that contains an eagle cartouche? What date range were these
muslins stamped? Were they of a particular type, or finish, and were they
only sold regionally, or distributed nationally (at the time)?

Martha Spark

From: "Beth Davis" <>

At the Genesee Country Village Museum in Mumford, NY, they have a large
(76" x 93") Medallion style quilt (circa 1800) that was made with the
Broderie Perse appliqué technique with that very same chintz fabric with
the Urn and Flowers that Mary Kovel used as inspiration for the fabric


Subject: "using" paisley shawls
From: "Newbie Richardson" <>

I agree with Laura, I never met a Paisley I didn't like - but I have sure
met many that were not the "Cream of the crop!". Paisley shawls are a real
study in ok, good, better, best, and Oh, my God! I have seen all of the
above. They are also one of the reasons the Industrial Revolution went full
speed ahead. When Napoleon brought he first ones back from his Egyptian
Campaign, all of Paris ( hence all of Europe) went nuts - giving the French
and the English reason to perfect their own "copies". Great topic for a high
school World History term paper: hint hint!

I have NO compunction in taking the least wonderful examples and recycling
the fabric. I have a terrific skirt and trimmed cashmere sweater set my
mother made eons ago from one, and a "kilt" made from another - the left
over of which were used to upholster a piano bench - quite snazzie. When
the auctioneer held it up for us to see, he claimed it had been "shot at"
(moth eaten).I currently have a "Channel" style jacket in process.

I know, I know - the specter of cutter quilts BUT whenever I wear my
creations I bring attention to the wonderful world of vintage fabrics and I
then get on my soap box and tell folks to get their family heirlooms out of
the boxes under the bed and enjoy them. If we don't take these things out
for a drive, then when will the next generation learn about and how to love

Newbie in No. Va where we finally had dry weather - so I got to plant my


Subject: Women Survivors of WWI documented in quilt
From: Karen Alexander <>
Date: Sun, 29 Nov 2009 17:47:46 -0800
X-Message-Number: 8

Another interesting quilt documentation story.

Women Survivors of WWI documented in quilt.

Karen Alexander


Subject: Shawl

I'm pleased to report that after three days of being aired out, the shawl
is almost free of the mothball smell. I'm not going to wear it regularly,
but special occasions are a distinct possibility since it's in great
condition. I also may investigate mounting it I can find a way to protect it
from direct sunlight.

Regardless - I've wanted a paisley shawl for years, so this is a dream
come true :)

Lisa Evans

Subject: RE: "using" paisley shawls
From: "Candace Perry" <>
Date: Mon, 30 Nov 2009 09:36:01 -0500
X-Message-Number: 1

I am interested in the shawls that are actually pieced -- I think these are
the type that was made in Kashmir (if memory serves -- though I am pretty
fuzzy on that). I don't know if pieced is actually the correct term, but
that's how the back looks to me...I have fragments of one here in the
collection (someone cut it up for something, but I wanted it nonetheless)
and then a European made example, and it's an interesting comparison.
Candace Perry
Schwenkfelder Library & Heritage Center


Subject: RE: moth ball odor
From: "Margaret Geiss-Mooney" <>

Good morning, QHLers - I would recommend obtaining MicroChamber interleaving
paper from Conservation Resources. Here is a link to the product:

For less than $30, you'll get enough interleaving paper to do the job. You
must be patient of course. You wrap/roll the paisley shawl and then put the
wrapped shawl in a relatively air-tight container (such as one of those
extra-large Ziploc bags or a Rubbermaid container). Leave alone inside your
house for a week or so. Take out shawl, unwrap and sniff. If it still
smells, discard that batch of interleaving paper and re-wrap again with a
new batch of the MicroChamber interleaving paper and repeat.

My experience using the interleaving paper with smoke-damaged textiles and
books has been just amazing. Really works well. Plus no chance of getting
kitty litter, lava rocks, charcoal or soap (folk remedies) on the shawl
. _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ ___________
Margaret E. Geiss-Mooney
Textile/Costume Conservator &
Collections Management Consultant
Professional Associate, AIC


Subject: RE: moth ball odor
From: "Christine Thresh" <>

I noticed a faint mothball odor last year at my 50th high school reunion. I
figured out after a couple of hours that many of the men were wearing suits
that had been stored away for some time. The women, of course, had new
dresses and smelled of perfume and hair spray.

Christine Thresh
on an island in the California Delta <-- my blog
and <-- website


Subject: spanish chintz

I didn't know that there were Spanish chintzes being manufactured in the
1700's. Anyone have input on that?
Thanks! Lynn Gorges