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One of my friends told me this story about using clean milk filters as batting during the war. Have never heard this before. They sure could teach us about recycling!!!

I have all of my quilts my grandmother made, so crudely from old mens wool suits....a baby crib quilt, a very large bed quilt and a cotton summer quilt. During the war she lined the insides with cotton milk filters that had been washed and pressed....they sent milk in cans then and milked by hand, then with some hand carried machines. The milk was filtered through a big funnel with the cotton/felt strainer and the milk cans filled and dropped into a huge vat of cold water in the milk house until the milk carrier picked them up and took them to the creamery.

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Comment by Prairie Quilter Jan/NE on October 27, 2018 at 6:34am

That generation knew how to make do with what they had, didn't they.  Love the story.  I didn't know about the cotton/felt filters either, but I'll have to ask my Mom.  They separated a lot of cream/milk back in the day.  

Comment by Sharon Reeves on October 26, 2018 at 7:28am

I grew up on a farm and I remember my mom taking the 10 gallon milk cans to the creamery  and sometimes we got to go with her. The men were loggers and the women took care of the 10 cows, chickens and all the other things. Typically an old way of life, with the grandparents, parents and grandchildren living in one house. I didn't know about the mild filters, either, and have a few quilts from grandma and mom. We moved when I was 4 yrs old, but I sure do have a lot of memories of living there. Thanks for sharing. 

Comment by handstitcher/IL on October 26, 2018 at 4:03am

Interesting, Pam! Sounds as though the milk filters then were different than the ones used today. A coworker at school introduced me to milk filters several years ago. You can buy them at farm supply stores (like Farm and Fleet). The ones nowadays are about 18” circles and similar to non-fusible interfacing. We used them for art projects and to make story pieces (they stick to flannel boards and can be colored with markers) for our preschoolers. They would be too thin and stiff for quilts.

So glad you have your grandmother’s quilts! Too many family treasures are lost over the years.

Comment by Barb/WI on October 25, 2018 at 6:45pm

I had never heard about the milk filters before either.  Fascinating.  The way they had to make do makes me feel a little guilty about my stash of beautiful fabric. 

You are so lucky to have all those old quilts.  No doubt that helped to foster your appreciation for vintage quilts, and why you are so good about rescuing those beautiful orphan quilt tops when you find them.  

Comment by Irene Gallway on October 25, 2018 at 5:02pm

Interesting story Pam. You must be very proud to have all those quilts that your grandmother made. People those day's recycled by using flower sacks for garments and hand me down clothes from friends and relatives but I didn't know about these milk strainers. Thanks for sharing.

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