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Thread: Have you ever purchased a quilt top from an estate sale?

  1. #1
    Diamonds's Avatar
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    Quite a few times when I have went to an estate or garage sale I see old quilt tops.. They are usually UFO's... In all the time I have only purchased two.. One quilt I purchased because I knew the lady who did it.. She was 92 when she went on to her reward and done the top shortly before leaving us..

    Slowly over time I have been hand quilting it.. Doing it just as she would have.. I do it in a hoop instead of my quilting frame... So I only work on it while I watch TV...

    Tonight while I worked on it and I realized that the UFO's that I have passed up in all these years should have been bought.. Even though I did not know the quilter before me it would have been a tribute to all.. Maybe I just got sentimental-who knows... I just felt a bit of sadness that there are so many unfinished.....

  2. #2
    scrappinmad's Avatar
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    I am not up on some of the short cut lingo. So at the rist of feeling like an idiot could you tell me what UFO stands for I am assuming it must be something like un finished..... but, have no clue. Sorry :?

  3. #3
    Super Member Minda's Avatar
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    UFO - unfinished object
    WIP - work in progress

    I also had to ask when I first started quilting. :-)


  4. #4
    Dancing Needle's Avatar
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    I found a UFO at Goodwill yesterday while searching through the fabric section. It's a scrappy 3" 4 patch and an interesting collection of fabrics. It will be fun to finish. And, I think it will be a great piece to practice quilting on. Since I don't have an "emotional" attachment to (like tops I've pieced myself) it I won't be quite as afraid to give it a go.

    Cheri

  5. #5
    Super Member vicki reno's Avatar
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    I live in Raleigh and about 30 miles south of here is a little farming town that has reinvented itself as an antique mecca. A couple of summers ago, when shopping there I ran into an unfinished Grandmothers Flower Garden. I have not done a thing with it yet, but it will definitely be one of my projects when I retire. Of all the quilts I have made, I only hav one of my own, so I think its time to get started on something for myself.

  6. #6
    Super Member nanabirdmo's Avatar
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    last summer i bid (ebay) on a bunch of dresden plate blocks from the 1940's. i couldn't believe i won the auction. they were machine pieced and a few were already apliqued onto feedsack blocks with the centers in place. i take them out and look every so often but haven't got up the nerve to work on them yet. they are absolutely beautiful. if i ever do them up i will show pictures.
    the seller also included a big zip lock bag of scraps from the same era.
    i love ebay :!: :!: :!:

  7. #7

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    I was given enough maple leaf blocks, to make 2 full size quilts. All of the blocks are hand pieced and sewn. They where made back in the 40's, from flour sacks. I have since sewn them, by machine together, and in the process of hand quilting them. One is in the hoop as we speak. I also bought for 2.00 at a yard sale, a nine patch, that dates back to the 40's. It too has to be quilted. I was also given , quilt patterns that where orginally printed in the newspaper, and some I had never heard of. It took me 2 days to go through these patterns and all of the different blocks and patterns. I now have them organized and put away. This was all given to me last spring. All of this belonged to my DIL' G-mother,,(Mother) Needless to say they are old and where taken care of with love. I felt very honored that she felt I was worthy enough to be given such treasures. I finished a nine patch quilt top she gave me, with matching pillow and gave them to her to say Thank-U for the honor.

  8. #8
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    Hi, I have never purchased an antique quilt top but a lady gave me a Sun bonnet Sue queen size top that was made in the 30's-or 40's an has no idea who did it. Iam in the process of hand quilting it right now. It will be mine. I have always wanted an antique quilt and never found one, even though I looked, that I liked. This is something I can enjoy. Marge

  9. #9
    lisae's Avatar
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    I have purchased quite a few vintage quilt tops (usually 1930's or newer). I also purchase vintage material when I have the opportunity to do so. I used to go the flea markets and antique fairs on a regular basis to look for quilt tops and fabric. As prices have gotten more expensive, I've cut down on my purchases. However, when I am traveling I make a point to check out the antique stores.

    This is a top I purchased at an antique fair. I think it is from the 40s. I took it apart, re-cut and re-did the blocks as the top didn't lay flat. I hand quilted it and am very pleased!.
    Name:  Attachment-6001.jpe
Views: 30
Size:  75.9 KB

  10. #10
    Super Member 3incollege's Avatar
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    Is it true that ,why there are so many quilt tops is bacause they were summer quilts?
    A friend of mine just bought 10 tops on e-bay. she is new at long arm
    quilting,so she figured she could practice on them.
    $11 got her an 1800's quilt top. Not bad.

    Donna

  11. #11
    Super Member Moonpi's Avatar
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    I have finished a couple foundlings over the years, and have a couple more packed away. I may not be the one who eventually quilts them, but I will give them a safe home.

    I almost never pass up blocks at estate sales. I think it is just out of respect for another quilter's work.

  12. #12
    Super Member Moonpi's Avatar
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    double post, please remove

  13. #13
    lisae's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 3incollege
    Is it true that ,why there are so many quilt tops is bacause they were summer quilts?
    A friend of mine just bought 10 tops on e-bay. she is new at long arm
    quilting,so she figured she could practice on them.
    $11 got her an 1800's quilt top. Not bad.

    Donna
    Why do people have ufo's now?

    In my experience, many quilt tops were not quilted because there were problems with the top. I've seen many tops that were poorly pieced and/or ugly. Perhaps the maker realized they were in over their heads. Or perhaps they just didn't have the time to finish them.


  14. #14

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    Yeah: But one mans trash is another mans treasure. If the tops have a pbl, then how about making a throw or a pillow? It just really seems to be a shame to let something created out of love, or a thought, from days gone by, go to a heap. And all quilters know that alot of work goes into a quilt, no matter if ugly or missing a few stitches here and there. I think it has something to do with growing old gracefully.

  15. #15
    lisae's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rebecca Chambley
    Yeah: But one mans trash is another mans treasure. If the tops have a pbl, then how about making a throw or a pillow? It just really seems to be a shame to let something created out of love, or a thought, from days gone by, go to a heap. And all quilters know that alot of work goes into a quilt, no matter if ugly or missing a few stitches here and there. I think it has something to do with growing old gracefully.
    You are right. . . I do buy tops with problems; I just know to look for them so I am aware of what I am getting and how I can use them.

    I have made many tops that remain unquilted. Some I will quilt. Others will not be quilted because I've just lost interest , I don't like them any more or other things are more important. That does not mean that the tops were not valuable learning tools for me. If I don't quilt them, I would be happy if someone else winds up quilting them or recycling the fabric.

  16. #16
    Super Member nanabirdmo's Avatar
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    we all look at things differently. i have learned just from showing my quilts on this forum, that quilts i have made and maybe am not that crazy about, somebody else thinks they look great. i have seen quilts on exhibit that i thought weren't that pretty and somebody else thinks they are fine enough to win a ribbon.
    a lot of it is a matter of taste. plus like someone pointed out there are problem children.

    good thing there are no quilt police :P ;-) ;)

  17. #17
    Diamonds's Avatar
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    The one I am quilting now is not perfect..It is not a problem per say.. Just her eye sight was really failing.. So the blocks do not line up as crisp as I would have done.. One row is kind of offset.. However I just let it be.. It is not puckering, lays flat and was easy to square...

    I think because it is not my own is the reason it is taking so long to quilt.. I only work on it for a couple hours a week.. I really do need to get it done though.. My Uncle really likes it.. He says it reminds him or my Great-Grandmothers quilts... So it has a home when it is done...

  18. #18
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    When my grandmother passed away, my mother took her unfinished quilts to finish them, then mom became sick and after lossing her, they are passed to me to finish. I haven't started on any of them yet.. but do plan to. I want to find the right material to do it just like they would have. I've only been quilting a few years. Love it. but just don't have the time like I wish I could..

  19. #19
    Senior Member kathyd's Avatar
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    Yes, I have. I have many tops as well as blocks that just said "take me home". I may or may not get them finished but as someone else said they have a good home and will be well taken care of. The other reason is that for me they are affordable (a completed quilt is usually waaay out of my price range). They also take up less room if we are traveling and happen upon an antique store. I have a notebook that I keep a list of purchases in. I list a brief description of the top, measurements and colors. If I know the name of the pattern I will put that in along with where I bought it and what I paid.

  20. #20
    Super Member ruthie's Avatar
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    Hi,
    I have not purchased any quilt tops from estate sales, although I would if I could find one. Not many in northern Michigan. However, my grandmother left me 6 unfinished quilt tops that she sewed sometime between 1965 and 1977. I put them away for a very long time and just recently got them out and put them together. I have quilted one for each of my grandchildren. It has been a great way to build my machine quilting skills and my grandchildren have an heirloom that spans 5 generations.

  21. #21
    lisae's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ruthie
    Hi,
    I have not purchased any quilt tops from estate sales, although I would if I could find one. Not many in northern Michigan. However, my grandmother left me 6 unfinished quilt tops that she sewed sometime between 1965 and 1977. I put them away for a very long time and just recently got them out and put them together. I have quilted one for each of my grandchildren. It has been a great way to build my machine quilting skills and my grandchildren have an heirloom that spans 5 generations.
    What fun!

    I would love it if you could post some pictures of these quilts. I would like to learn more about the fabric that was typical of the 60s & 70s. I just started on a top using fabric samples I bought at an antique mall in Barstow. I think they are from the 60's, but am not certain.

  22. #22
    Super Member ruthie's Avatar
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    Lisae
    I'll try to post a couple of them. I'm afraid the pictures aren't very good but you might be able to zoom in on them to get some ideas. It was very interesting doing these because as I was quilting them I would come across blocks and think "That was grandmas best dress, or those were my pj's, or an apron that my mom wore or my aunt's slacks." It has been a real trip down memory lane.

    Bow tie quilt
    Name:  Attachment-4870.jpe
Views: 42
Size:  65.2 KB

    Rachael's quilt
    Name:  Attachment-4871.jpe
Views: 43
Size:  54.9 KB

    Asia's quilt
    Name:  Attachment-4873.jpe
Views: 40
Size:  58.8 KB

  23. #23
    lisae's Avatar
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    Ruthie,

    The quilts are beautiful!! Your grandchildren are truly lucky to have them!!

    Thank you so much for posting the pictures. I think it is interesting - off hand I would have said that the tops were made in the later 50's, not as late as the 70's. I think I have a lot to learn about fabric from that time.


  24. #24
    Senior Member redrummy's Avatar
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    I think some also just like the part of making the tops, then want to do something else, so they sell them. I bought one to use as a guide, I do better at making something if I can see see how it is going to look. I now have an editing program on my puter and have been doing the layouts there. I like trying new patterns, if I feel I can accomplish them.
    Deb

  25. #25
    marieg's Avatar
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    I have lots of tops, or did until my daughters (my oldest also quilts) took about 15-20 home with them. After they left I found 2 more kig size and 2 twin size. I love piecing and I'm not as fond of quilting. Although I usually have a hand quilting piece in the hoop. It is expensive to send quilts out the average well over $100, for meandering.
    So at least in my case there is nothing wrong with the top or piecing, just rather peice. I have also bought many vintage quilts, quilt tops, vintage fabric and feed sacks. Some are well done and some made with loving hands. There is a certain charm in looking at old quilts and wondering what the maker was going trough at the time.

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