The next step was supposed to be discarding the grass they had originally been wrapped around and hanging them out on a clothesline to cure a couple more days--no mention of what to do when they were desiccated and board-like.
So I soaked them in cold water for a bit and began to carefully pull them apart. And now I know what you get when you put fabric in a compost bin--composted fabric.
Perhaps our compost bin is just a bit too enthusiastic, but the fabric had begun to digest just like the vegetable peelings and weeds that had surrounded it. Cotton does, after all, come from a plant and should react the same way.
One site that I had consulted online had said that bug damage could be a problem, but she optimistically went on to say that a couple of holes would be acceptable for the kind of quilts she makes. This is way beyond a couple of holes. No pictures, by the way, of how her experiment turned out. As a matter of fact, I realize now that there was a curious absence of pictures of the finished products.
Anyway, the fabric fell apart in my hands, just as if it had been in a tomb for a couple of centuries. But when I looked closely at some of the bigger bits, there were some intriguing patterns of a rich brown color that made me wish this had turned out better.
Hmmm. Perhaps if I let it compost only a week, instead of a month. . . .
Oh, and if you are still reading, thanks for the company!