Three Cheers for Antique Quilts

Greetings from Northwest Iowa.  I’m out of Brooklyn and into Iowa visiting my parents for the holidays.  And while I’m here visiting, my mom and I hit up a few of the local antiques stores yesterday.  Whenever I’m back home, we usually take an afternoon to stop by a few of our favorite spots in search of any hidden gems buried somewhere in a box or in a long forgotten corner of a store.  Sometimes our visits are successful, and sometimes they are a bust.  Yesterday was one of those successful days.

Now I didn’t go in search of antique quilts yesterday, but oh did I find them.  Seriously.  We saw so many old quilts.  Lots of different patterns, colors, sizes, you name it.  Some were in better shape than others, and the prices ranged from reasonable to lots of dollar bills.  Although, as those of us who quilt know, the time and effort put into hand making a quilt justifies the higher prices.

We saw finished quilts, quilt tops that needed to be finished, quilt blocks that needed to be made into quilt tops, and even a couple of quilted pillows.  I snapped a few pics of some of my favorite ones that I thought I would share.

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I thought they were all pretty great.

And now here is where the day turned successful.  Stuck between a bunch of old dishes and some other random items was an antique quilt top looking to be finished.  At first I didn’t think it was much of anything, but as I looked more closely I realized it had potential.  Oh did it ever have potential, and this beauty is now mine.

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The pattern is a version of Snail Trail and the quilt measures approximately 84” x 64”.  The fabric is definitely aged and there are a few spots that need a little mending, but all in all I think it has a lot of potential.  I’m not sure yet what I’m going to do for the back, so if anyone has any ideas I’m all ears.

There’s more to this story, though.  I bet you thought that was my big score of the day.  No, no, no.  At the second antiques store I spotted a pile of quilts, and in that pile I found an old Bowtie quilt priced at only $20.  Whaaaat?!?!?  I couldn’t believe it.  How could that be?

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Upon closer inspection, it looks to me that the quilt top is older but someone made it into a quilt more recently.  I say that because it is machine quilted.  The fabrics in the bowties are old, but the machine quilting looks more recent.  I’m also wondering if the pink sashing was added when the machine quilting was done.  Maybe someone discovered old bowtie blocks and put the whole thing together???

Now I don’t think the quilt was finished in the last five years, but I would guess in the last 10-20 years, maybe?  That is a total guess, though.  I would need someone that is an expert in these sorts of things to give me a better idea.  Regardless, I really love it and I can’t believe I got it for only $20.  Christmas came early around here!

Have any of you ever bought an old quilt?  Or do you have any quilts that have been passed down to you?

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