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Conservation

Pineapple Design Quilt Kit - Lauren Calcote and Ann Frisina

photo of the pineapple design quilt kit
Lauren Calcote, Volunteer

A pineapple design quilt kit from the 1930’s is part of the Minnesota Historical Society Textile Collection.  This kit is complete with its original envelope, instruction page, and 1,529 cut green and white cotton pattern pieces.  The quilt was never executed and the pattern pieces have been stored inside the original envelope.  A full count of all the pieces revealed that there are 1,540, not 1,529, as the envelope states.  The reason for this surplus of pattern pieces is unknown.

The quilt pieces are all in good and stable condition.  Minor discoloration, probably due to acidic degradation products that have yellowed over time, is evident on some of the pattern pieces.  Also evident is distortion in the form of creases and crimping due to storage in what was supposed to be a temporary cardboard envelope.   Also of interest are strong ballpoint pen marks outlining some of the pattern pieces. 

We decided not to attempt removal of the pen lines as they gave an indication of how the quilt kit was constructed.  Two spot tests were performed proving that the green dye is fast and that the brown stains move.

Our goal in the Textile Conservation Lab was to flatten the distorted creased pieces and create a stable and secure environment for the long-term storage and preservation of this quilt kit. 

The distorted creased and crimped pieces were placed in deionized water allowing the fabric to soak and relax.  These pieces were then blocked on a flat table and allowed to dry.  Once dry, all former creases and distortions were removed. This allowed them to be stacked neatly one on top of the other, preventing further creasing.

The original envelope was torn and had losses. Tears were repaired with Japanese tissue and wheat starch paste. A mount was made to support the envelope and was inserted into it.

An acid free box with compartments for the pattern pieces and the original envelope and directions was constructed for the kit.  The storage box keeps all of the many components of this kit together in an organized fashion. The box’s organization helps to prevent the loss of any of the pattern pieces while allowing us to examine the components of the kit without handling them.