Sunday, December 20, 2015

Antique Quilts, Oh My!

I wrote yesterday about the adopting of Plain Jane and how she came to live here at the cabin.

I have to tell you, I am so excited about stitching with her that I could hardly wait to get out of bed this morning, and this blog post is a bit delayed because I had to go downstairs and pet her and make sure she is happy in her new cabinet!

Silly, I know --but I have really connected with this little $12.00 machine!

What I didn't tell you  was that there were SO MANY QUILTS that I fell in love with while I was there.

My camera was smoking by the time I was at the counter!

So today I am sharing with you all of the wonderful vintage quilts I found while on my antiquing jaunt in West Jefferson, NC yesterday.

Quilters have always been plenty here in the Appalachian mountain region.  Life was not always easy here, and folks turned to quilting not only as a way to keep their families warm, but as a way to make something beautiful and useful at the same time from materials readily found at hand in household scrap bags.

I often wonder who these makers were, women, men, children --who found the same joy in sewing little scrap patches together to create patterns that I do.  They may have passed on, but their love of patchwork remains, and I think that is what I connect to the most.  Something tangible that says "I was here, and I loved doing this the same as you!"

I first saw this quilt hanging on a ladder and was doubting the era that it could have been made in.  I know I saw some 1960s fabrics here, and some 1970s, and it seemed in pretty good shape, but it had a polyester batting and my curiousity was piqued --

I love these stars!  What a great use of color!

I turned the corner over to find --

Sorry, it is blurry!  I was shaking! It's not often you find an actual label on a quilt.  This one was made by Ada Halterman in 1987.  No wonder I recognized SOME of those fabrics, but many others are much earlier.  

A life time of quilting and scrap collecting perhaps?  This is not a beginner pattern, and it was made before rotary cutters were really popular -they were just getting to be widely used.  Ada did a great job!

1980s fabrics DO this.

I had some of these same prints in my stash "back in the day" when I was first getting into quilting.  Those quilts have faded like this over the years as well.  Cranston prints maybe? VIP?  This was all that was available to me in our little Fabricland store in Ontario, Oregon.  And we were thrilled to HAVE that store.

I used some of these same fabrics in a pineapple quilt, and also in my Dear Jane quilt and they have done the same thing.  This is the life of fabric as it ages.  It's still a beautiful quilt!

Chimney sweep quilt!

Awesome fabrics!

Love those madder stripes!

What's fun about this one is that the blocks change when fabrics change.  Some blocks are uniform, others the maker had to be more inventive with her scraps to get the job done, and that gives this quilt the look of different blocks being included, but it is all the same block.  

I'm guessing this quilt to be around 1880, but if I'm wrong I'm hoping someone will leave a comment in the comments section correcting me.  No dates on this one, no label.

Ahhh! 1930s flower basket!

Close up!

I love this one!  And the quilting was very nice in the white areas as well, feathers and wreaths and cross hatching abounding!

But turn the corner to find!

Oh, WOW!

Purple and pink, oh my!

Now this quilter LOVED to piece!  and she also had access to large pieces of yardage specifically for this quilt.  

Love that fan quilting!

The batting is thick, possibly wool.  What I find interesting is that the quilting is so primitive, just random Baptist fans over these intricately, very precisely pieced feathered stars.  Welcome to the Blue Ridge Mountains...maybe this was quilted by a ladies church quilting circle?  Who knows.

I loved this quilt, but the price was just a bit out of my range.

THIS is a Bonnie Quilt!

Pretty tattered and shredded, but don't you love those hour glass units?  This quilt instantly reminded me of my Jingle Bell Square quilt that is running in the  Nov/Dec Quiltmaker Magazine issue!  Yes, I could see myself making this variation as well.

Now THIS is interesting!

What great fabrics!

I absolutely LOVE that red block, don't you?

Oh sweet double pink and indigo!

Be still my heart!

It really WAS a treasure trove of a day.  My love of vintage quilts is rekindled!  And I have more to share with you that won't fit in this blog post, so you know what I am going to do?

I'm going to continue this show & share in TONIGHT's blog post so you'll need to come back for the REST of the story!

Plain Jane is calling my name and we are up for some more string piecing here at Quilt Villa.

Remember that tomorrow is our Mystery Monday Link-Up for Part 4 of our Allietare Mystery.  Can't wait to see what you've done with these blocks!

Our giveaway for the December Quilty Box is still going strong! I think this is the largest amount of entries we've had to date.  That drawing happens Tuesday evening, so there is still time to enter ON THAT POST.

Have you registered for my Online workshop series with CraftU yet?  Click HERE to enter and remember to use the code BHSCRAP at check out to get $30.00 off the registration fee!  Tell your family it is what YOU WANT for Christmas!

Have a wonderful Sunday, everyone!

Click Here to like our Quiltville Friends Page on Facebook for more fun!

Click Here to join our sister group, Quiltville's Open Studio on Facebook, a place to Sew, Share & Grow!!


  1. These quilts are just priceless and precious and wonderful and inspiring ......

    sao in Midlothian, VA

  2. Ohhhh I love that scrappy tied one at the beginning of the post. I must make that one.

  3. Love that you have places in your neck of the woods to explore for vintage things. Nothing even close to that here in N. Florida. I'd have to travel. Love seeing all you find and share with us. Thanks for the history lessons. Plain Jane is a beauty. She has found the perfect home.

  4. Wonderful quilts! My favorite was the double pink with the 4-patches! Thanks for sharing them all here with us!

  5. What did you clean your plain Jane with? I have my grandmother's machine and I am afraid to touch it. Love your story

  6. We want to hear the rest of the story. You teased us with a picture. Which quilt came home with you? I remember buying fabric at JC Penney in the late 70's. My Payless store had Flat folds of VIP & Cranston.

  7. We want to hear the rest of the story. You teased us with a picture. Which quilt came home with you? I remember buying fabric at JC Penney in the late 70's. My Payless store had Flat folds of VIP & Cranston.

  8. Sue Crane10:33 AM EST

    I looked Ada Halterman up in the 1940 census on Ancestry.com. One entry only for a woman named Ada Halterman living at Jeff Ave., Moorefield, W. Virginia born in 1908

  9. Oh Bonnie! Thank you for all the vintage eye candy. Dee-lightful! Will look forward to part II this evening.
    So glad you are bonding so sweetly with Plain Jane. Hugs, Allison in Plano, Texas USA

  10. Fabulous vintage quilts!! Do you know the name of the star pattern that Ada Halterman used in her quilt? I haven't seen that one before and I think it's lovely.

  11. I was shopping at that same Fabricland in Ontario Oregon the same time you were. Grew up in that area. Oh, the memories.

  12. What wonderful treasures! I love the double pink and indigo one! Thanks for sharing.

  13. I would love to win this box! Merry Christmas!


  14. Alice Kane5:17 AM EST

    I'm really impressed with the star quilt, especially since the blocks look so different when lights and darks are exchanged. It's fascinating to inspect each variation. Do you think that it's a named block, with a pattern that one could find somewhere?

  15. Thank you for the journey Bonnie! I would love to follow you around in an antique shop. Can't believe there are so many quilts up there in NC.

  16. Thanks for sharing those pictures of THE OLD quilts. IT is amazing that they made arned Han without a Rotary cutter. I only did by hand a pyramid quilt and l learned metselt hand piecing. Was so happy THE 10048 pieces was finished. Merry Christmas to you and family Bonnie.
    Yoka Bazilewich

  17. I'm not much for stars but the one you just showed is truly fascinating. Enough so that I am going to drop everything and make a sample so that I will see it often and get back the incentive to sew again. Thank you!


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