Wednesday, August 3, 2016


There is a local woman in town I've known casually for many years.  We run into each other once in a great while, have a brief conversation...then go about our lives.  Each time I see her, she mentions that she has quilts she'd like to give me.  This has gone on for many years.  MANY.  In January of this year, I ran into her in WallyWorld and once again, she mentioned the quilts.  In March, she called mid-morning one day and asked if I would be home and could she stop by.  "Of course," I said.  She showed up about half an hour later....on her way to get her hair cut.  We chatted a while and then she went out to get the quilts.  It seems she had inherited these quilts, not really knowing who had made them, and no one in her family wanted them, so for years thought she'd give them to me.
As she said, "at eighty-two years of age," she had finally "made up her mind to give them to me." She thought if I accepted them, it would remove the burden of what she should do with them.  This had been weighing on her mind for a long time.  She apologized that they had been slept on for years by her three dogs and two cats.  So, you can imagine what condition they were in.  I had been telling her for years that I would take them, so I wasn't about to hurt her feelings and turn them down.  I mean, she was depending on me to "do something."  She also told me that some of them would not survive washing.  This turns out to be more of less true.    I did wash all but one.  It was in such bad repair that I knew all I'd get from washing it was a washer filled with bits of pieces of fabric and lots of batting turned into stuffing.  She had also told me to do whatever I wished with them, including throwing them out, as she just felt better finally getting them to me!  Well, even at the worst, I knew they could be rescued in some way...even if none could be kept intact.  And, there were NINE altogether.  I had no idea of how many quilts she had wanted to give me for all those years.

So, each of them has now been washed at least twice (one at a time), with a good soaking overnight each time.  This took most of the month!  

There was one that could be used with just a bit of patching.  Three that can be rescued with a fair amount of work.  There are four I believe I can save pieces of and then, there is that one I'm just not sure can be saved at all, but I will try.

Over time, I will show you these quilts.  

So, for today, here is the first one I am trying to rescue.  Rescue is a loose term here, as at best, only a few blocks and some pieces of blocks will survive the hard life they have lived.  I chose this one to begin with, as I could tell right away, it has a blanket in it rather than batting.  The layers are only lightly quilted, so it isn't taking a long time to pick these blocks apart and I intend to use what few whole blocks I can rescue in a small quilt, if possible.  The remaining tattered blocks I will use for some mixed media uses, as this is something I have wanted to do for a long time.  As a matter of fact, I have purchased several old "cutter quilt" condition, just for that use.

I am doing this 'picking apart' in the garage on the great worktable that the old navy man made for me, so as you can see....these photos were taken there.  It wasn't too bad out there this morning, but it gets too hot as the day goes on.  I'll show you what happens to this quilt, at some point, but thought you'd like the STORY.


As you can's in pretty bad shape.  A shame really, but what happens in 'real life' to some quilts.
I feel bad about it, but all I can do is what we are supposed to do in life....."pick up the pieces and carry on!"

 See the blanket?

The backing of the quilt, patched with another fabric along some edges.

 There is no binding, both front and back turned in and then whip stitched together.

So there you are...the story of the nine quilts coming to me for rescue.  
Oh, my goodness!  

Bird Nest Cottage
until next time,


Unknown said...

I am eager to see what you do with the quilts. I have three very used quilts that were my grandmothers and I don't know what to do with them.

LouAnne said...

What a lot of work went into that quilt! I'm curious; was it hand pieced or machine? I have two quilts my maternal grandmother Frances Towne of Balaton, Minn. pieced and quilted. One is a double wedding ring. It's in great condition except for some fading. It happened after my Mom let my youngest daughter use it for her newly decorated room. I had no idea it would fade (1930's fabric-what WAS I thinking!)....

sandi s said...

I'm so glad your going to try and do something with the quilts. I've repair a few old quilts and enjoyed the work a lot . I love the one you showed, I'll bet it was pretty when the top was new. Hugs,

Dolores said...

Good luck. It sounds like a long term project. I'm glad they weren't just thrown away.

Julie Fukuda said...

I don't think I would even know where to begin. Two of my daughter's quilts are needing repairs and I am thinking it would be easier to make her a new one.

Carol- Beads and Birds said...

This kind of story annoys me. My MIL is like this woman. Can't part with something that someone else would treasure until it's too late. I'll be interested to see how this story continues though.

The other day when several of us were visiting my father in law, my mother in law came out of the back room carrying a bracelet. A chain thing, very inexpensive. Like out of a Cracker Jack Box 100 years ago. She handed it to my BIL who is 72. She announced that she had been saving it for him since it was given to him by a neighbor when he was a little boy. She new he wouldn't take care of it so she kept it safe. REALLY!?! He told her he didn't want it.

She did this same thing to Terry, only his was a "RUBY" ring. She had told us about the ring for MANY years. About 5 years ago she presented the ring to him. A cheap piece of glass in a broken setting given to him all that time ago by the same neighbor.

Funny how some people think.
xx, Carol

Jaybird said...

Oh will have your year's work cut out (literally) for you!! I am amazed at how beautiful the colors are in such a worn piece of fabric. Color, like music, is something that lasts and can be appreciated, all the years of our lives!
Good luck with your "job".
Blessings, and I'm looking forward to the end of September ;^)

Rengin Yazitas said...

So many quilts with lovely color combos...I got so curious who made them, devoted their time to finish them. So glad they all of them have another wonderful home at the moment!
Rengin, in Istanbul

Tammy@T's Daily Treasures said...

Well, she certainly picked the right person to give the quilts to. It sounds like she grappled for years with the idea of giving them away, but she made the right choice. That blanket actually looks nice just where it is in your very tidy garage. :) I'm sure you will salvage much of it and make many wonderful things.

A Bit of Heaven

A Bit of Heaven
An original designed wall quilt with my vision of heaven on earth.