Rescue Quilts–Open Line Friday

Good Morning, Quilters!

Last year I rescued a quilt from a painter.

He was using a hand-made quilt as a drop cloth.

My heart sank as I watched him unfurl it under his ladder and prepared to paint.

Vintage Quilts, Lori Kennedy

“Excuse me….I’ll trade you a real drop cloth for that quilt?”

He looked at me like I was a little strange….(Quilters—we’re used to that.)

The quilt had a few holes (but fortunately no paint– yet)  So I repaired it and gave it to one of my daughters.

Vintage Quilts, Lori Kennedy

My friend said she rescued a quilt at a tailgate-a young couple was using it to wrap their grill.

Oh dear….

Vintage Quilts, Lori Kennedy

What about YOU?

Have you ever rescued a quilt?

We’d LOVE to HATE to hear!


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105 thoughts on “Rescue Quilts–Open Line Friday

  1. I have 3 rescues. When my paternal grandmother passed away my uncle & his family came to her house with a U-Haul truck, basically took everything that wasn’t nailed to the floor including quite a bit of antique furniture then left the clean up for my mother & me. As my mother was dusting the top shelf in a closet she bumped into something soft in the very back corner of the shelf. It was a red & white quilt that had to be made my her mother, my great grandmother. It was in perfect shape & it was given to me. I have to admit I felt a bit snarky that they overlooked the quilt as I knew it would have been taken. When I visited my uncle’s house (in another state) I did not see one piece of furniture they had taken & I am sure they sold it so the quilt would most likely have been sold as well. I also found some antique Dresden plate blocks that were also made by my great grandmother. She had embroidered each of her children’s names in some of the blocks (there were 8 children). Those had also been left behind. I still need to put them together but I am so thankful to have them. The third item I rescued was a yo-yo quilt that my grandmother had made for my daughter. It contained many pieces of fabric from items she had made for me when I was little, scraps from items she had made for my daughter & even from doll clothes; my dolls & my daughters. My daughter put it over the railing on her covered porch & just left it there. She lived next door to me so when it was obvious she had no intention of taking the quilt inside I waited until no one was home & took the quilt. To this day she has never mentioned that quilt being missing! I don’t know if she thought someone stole it & she was afraid to say anything to me, but I put it away for safe keeping. I guess when I pass she’ll find it. It would be wonderful to know what she would be thinking when she does!

    • You should attach a loving note to the quilt and tell the stories of all the doll clothes and baby clothes of yours that were in the quilt–then it will be a reminder of you!

      • Eureka ! Ideas plague me sometime… Don’t they know my time is limited? !! I am going to make color photos of all my quilts: the inherited ones and the ones I sew. I am going to type an information page for each one under the photos with all info I know about it. The pages can be put in plastic sheet covers and then into a binder. I can copy the pages and put each with its quilt so there will be two places for the info to be recorded.

      • In reply to Marta’s comment (there is no ‘reply’ link at the end of it): I have a binder with a page for each quilt I have made and some pages of quilts I own but made by others. I typed up a “quilt log” form and made copies and every time I start a quilt project I start to fill out the form. I number them consecutively and keep them in the binder. I have a numbered list at the front of the binder for a table of contents which includes the date completed so I can see the UFOs at a glance and find the corresponding page quickly. The log pages contain name of quilt, maker, dates started and completed, design source, construction details (pieced, appliquéd, FMQ, hand-quilted, etc.), batting type, what and/or whom the quilt was made for, shows entered and ribbons awarded (if applicable) and any other pertinent info. Before I got a digital camera, I attached full and detail photos of the quilt. (Someday I’ll get around to printing the digital photos…) But I never thought to make a copy of the quilt log to include with a quilt I give away – duh! I label all my quilts but do not include all of that information. So many great stories and ideas have been shared in this discussion – thank you all! This might be one of the best Open Line Fridays yet!

  2. I did! This past fall! Well, I wasn’t the one who did the actual rescue, I was asked if I was interested in quilting. it.

    A lady at my guild had a Dear Friend in another city, and her aunt had died. When cleaning out the attic, they found a grandmother’s flower garden hand pieced top stuffed in a corner!!! They were ready to toss it out with other junk but DF grabbed it with the hope that someday someone would quilt it.

    Well it got passed around and my friend kept showing it to people at our guild and I had a peek over someone’s shoulder… and that was it. I didn’t really WANT to do it but the quilt spoke to me, like it knew how it wanted to be quilted.

    I nervously brought it home and gave it a gentle soak in my large tub. Oh my, the water color. It didn’t smell so good either… but it was mostly okay with a couple spots needing repair on only one tiny hex a little worn. The hand stitches holding it all together were very sturdy and even and TINY, oh my.

    And oh this quilt fought me, like it wanted to be challenged. I did it though, and I hand stitched the binding down, because that’s what it said it needed. I usually machine piece.

    Despite the mistakes, when I brought it back to the guild to show it finished, the room gasped loudly. But even better, after it got returned to the DF in another province, she wrote me a thank you note that now hangs in my sewing room. THAT made it worth it.

    pic here –

    • GIANT GASP!! No wonder, after seeing the photo! Great job with the quilting and binding! I can’t imagine how anyone could consider discarding such a wonderful piece.

    • You did a beautiful job! It is gorgeous! I love that it spoke to you. I am waiting for that blessing of ‘knowing’ how to quilt my quilt tops. I am proud of your work! Thank you for sharing.

    • Andrea, wow! You did such a wonderful job. Without even knowing the original piecer, you gave that quilt back it’s soul!! It reminds me of a quilt top (same colors) that a member of our hand quilters group got from an antique shop /estate sale. She had several & was tackling them one by one. Unfortunately she passed away a few years ago, but I believe her daughter now has it & plans to do it justice. I’ll have to show her the picture of yours. Thanks for sharing!

  3. While visiting my parents in Texas many years ago, I discovered my mother was using (& unceremoniously regularly washing) two handmade circa 1930/40s quilts a good friend (who also didn’t hold quilts in high regard) had given her. I was horrified and explained why I would like to have them and she gave them to me. I also discovered in my Mom’s cedar chest two quilt tops and a large number of quilt blocks which I believe we’re made by my maternal great grandmother. My mother is deceased so I cannot confirm so I’d like to add, get these stories while you can.

  4. While helping my in laws move, they had a pile of old blankets to wrap around furniture to protect it. One of the “blankets” was an old quilt top made by my MIL’s grandmother. I wrapped it around an antique clock we were supposed to take home. I was hoping to be able re quilt it but it is in terrible shape. There are huge holes and some of the fabric is so thin you can see through it. I imagine someone unquilted it to reuse the batting and possibly the backing fabric. It is sitting in a closet waiting for me to figure out some way to save it.

  5. RE Andrea’s rescue quilt… Is it just me or has anyone else noticed that when there is a quilt with pastel colors and white showing them off, it receives compliments and gasps ? ! I also notice the same with jewel colors and black showing them off. Sigh, probably just me.. !

  6. PS I wish we had booklets publishing these posts where we all tell stories and adventures and experiences with quilting.

  7. One dissenting comment. I certainly wouldn’t like to see a good quilt used as a drop cloth, but nothing lasts for ever and I would much rather see a quilt go on picnics, camping, and used for a child’s tent than to see it packed away in acid- free paper where no one enjoys it.

    • Hey Lynn,,, just another point of view… I have inherited many quilts from both grandmothers as well as mother-in-law. We only have 2 bedrooms..2 twin beds in guest room and a double bed. My husband prefers the quilt I made for him. The house we bought has numerous windows to view the lake with almost no wall space left to display anything much less lovely quilts. If walls were strong enough to hold rods, I would use some quilts folded as valances. I rotate displaying quilts on guest room beds depending on seasons. While the others are “resting”, I do need to protect them. I gave some to the one daughter who loves them. She displays them on a ladder in her foyer large doorway next to living room. They use them at times as table cloths inside and on patio. She took them all to a show in Gatlinburg one year.
      They were analyzed from the stage by professionals. We don’t use quilts or blankets on the ground here in our area because of fire ants, etc. Some family are allergic. Well, I guess there are as many different conditions as there are folks!! Thanks for your commentary ! Sew on !

  8. Well I didn’t save a quilt, but rather by MY interest in my mother’s 98-year-old friend’s mother’s quilts, they now have a new appreciation by family members! I wanted to display these quilts at our guild’s quilt show, and the children responded with “they wanted to keep these quilt close to home”. Well, now these quilts that were not valued at all will be appreciated (at last) and better yet a grandson wants to have one of his great-grandmother’s quilts–at last!
    Ruth from Grass Valley, CA

  9. I made a completely handmade and hand quilted quilt for my boyfriend and gave it to him for Christmas . I found him the next day using it to cushion his back as he lay under his car changing his oil.
    I learned that for some people a tore bought gift is of more value than a hand made one.

  10. My husband is so well trained I made a quilter out of him! it’s our running joke he spends more money then I do. He also is on constant look out for quilts. He was at the gentleman’s home he caregiver for and looked over to greet the lady next door. We live in Tucson and when the temperatures dip the plants all get covered. She was using sheets to cover with. Then he saw her toss a pretty quilts with cats on it over a cactus. He told her it was to pretty to use for that. She chuckled and ask if he wanted it. Of course he said yes. There are a few issues with it that are easy to take care of. It’s a beauty!

  11. For lilquilter : wow, you have done what I aspire to now do ! What great ideas you have had with making your records/notebook of quilts. Thank you so much for sharing it all !

  12. OH, watching TV the other night… Flea Market Flip.The camera quickly panned by the flea market booths. There was a 5 foot tall pile of quilts with a hand written sign : Quilts $5. I hollered STOP. My SpouseMan said, “They can’t hear you!” That flea market was someplace in NE, I think in outer Boston area. If I lived there, I would take a fistful of dollars and go shopping !

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