Monday, May 23, 2011

My Goodwill Quilt

I hear stories of people who find amazing quilts at thrift stores like Savers and Goodwill, and happy as I am for THEM, I can't help but think, "Why doesn't that ever happen to ME?" All I ever see are knitted or crocheted afghans or baby blankets. That is . . . until one day a little over a year ago when I saw a sign while driving down University Avenue with a big arrow saying, "Goodwill Outlet".  I had no idea there WAS such a thing...stuff that isn't good enough for Goodwill?
It was quite an experience but we are here to talk quilts…so here is my
 Delightful Dahlia    c. 1955

I don’t know how it ended up in the outlet store. It’s in great condition. I like how the stems go in different directions. I like the green. I like looking at all the different fabrics in the oversized flowers. I like that she chose pink thread to hand quilt it!  

The blocks are BIG -  13.5"  and  each 5" petal is appliqu├ęd by simple machine top-stitching. She hand quilted 1/4" inside of that line on each petal.

 The stems may have been a commercial bias tape such as seen below since they don’t quite match the green used for sashing. I see this on lots of old quilts - I wonder why that is not a more popular option today.  It would certainly be easier than cutting binding but now that I think of it, not many people are using basic solids in their quilts anymore and if we were we would probablly fuss about it being a perfect match!

This is guaranteed boilproof and sunproof!

A few more close-ups of the fabrics: 


On this one you can see a bit of 'sparkle'.
Eileen Trestain, in her book Dating Fabrics 2 - 1950-2000 states that during the late 50's fabric manufacturers "began making gold overlay prints, providing a highlight of metallic sparkle....". This book and its companion, Dating Fabrics 1 -1800-1960, is a helpful reference tool for dating quilts. Fabric examples along with an informative overview of the  history of each period, discussion of textile colors and fabric/ quilt styles for each period are given.
Oh. I almost forgot the rest of the story - I got so carried away! Clothing, bedding and such are priced by the pound at the outlet. It came to………tada ……$4.64!! 
I hustled out of that store with my new quilt hugged to my chest. I thought about the woman (most likely) who made it; imagining how she enjoyed selecting the prints for the petals and carefully stitching them in place.  I wondered if she made it for someone special. I wondered where she got the many interesting fabrics.  I llike to think she got great pleasure out of the work.
We can’t know the true stories of these orphan quilts and not one of us knows where the precious handiwork of our lives will end up. You may dread the thought that someday your quilts might just be ‘donated to Goodwill’. But, hey, this quilt went to Goodwill and ended up going home with me.....a quilt lover who just may enjoy and cherish it more than anyone else ever did..
 Next: Something "New" - My Mariner's Compass Lifetime Project


  1. Oh, l love your story, and what a treasure!!!well done.

  2. I think there needs to be a book of Thrift store finds! I love to hear these kinds of stories. The quilt is great.

  3. What a great find! The fabrics in that quilt are a treasure. I'm so glad someone like you found it! Come to my site and read about my Goodwill find. I had the exact same reaction you did! I grabbed it to my chest!!

    Deb at

  4. Great story Jean. Fun quilt to explore.
    Looking forward to your Mariners Compass project and why it is a lifetime project?!?

  5. The fact that this quilt was a bargain makes it all the sweeter!

  6. Thanks for your comments. I notice the other examples I see all have 8 petals...this one has 9. Curious.

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  8. WOW! So glad the quilt found you and it will be treasured instead of who-knows-what-or-where it could have ended up!


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