The Rescue Quilts – #9 – The One with the Quilt Inside

The goal is to honor the quilt maker who made the quilt top by completing their project, to not waste good craftsmanship (usually done by hand), to ogle long ago yummy fabrics, and to breathe in a little old inspiration and make it new again.  You can view all parts of this series here.

Want to get started on finishing your own Rescue quilts?  Here are a few articles to get you started:



So this quilt.  I talked about it on Instagram a few weeks ago.  So much has been happening that I haven’t had the time to give it a proper post here, but today I will.

My husband and I went to an estate sale across the river (a very crowded estate sale) a few weeks ago.  I love estate sales and I also don’t love them.  I like them, because you never know what you may find.  There are treasures in them!  But most of the time I always find myself thinking and feeling like a vulcher digging through someone’s life and thinking that if anyone ever did this at my grandmother’s house I would be upset.

This of course is the wrong way to think about them.  I said something about this a while ago and a kind woman answered me and told me that they held an estate sale of her loved one’s things.  She said that they took what they wanted, but the amount of things left behind was overwhelming and she liked the thought of them going to the home of someone who wanted and would use them.

I’m working on getting rid of the icky feeling I get when entering the houses.

On this particular estate sale I purchased three quilts.  Today, I’ll be talking about one of them.


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This quilt is scrappy and random and full of the sweetest fabric prints.  No real pattern, anything goes, but the maker alternated pieced blocks with whole blocks.  I like to think she was using up some of her stash in this one.

Some of the blocks look like double pieced snowballs pointed at each other creating that butterfly shape I so love.  Other blocks are just 4-patches.


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This one was hand quilted with organic diagonal lines running throughout the quilt.  It took sometime, I’m sure.  More time was probably spent on the quilting than the piecing I would think.  Her stitches are natural and loving.  I keep picturing her sitting on a front porch, needle moving in and out while gazing up at the sounds of birds now and then.  She would have drug the quilt all over her place during the weeks or months it might have taken her to finish it.

It’s a heavier quilt, so her arms would have been sore and tired.  She’d have been ready to be done with it, but still pleased with herself for finishing it and using up those fabric scraps.



The binding was done with machine.  This fact makes me think this quilt might have been made in the seventies.  It’s not as delicate as the rest of the quilt, done quickly to just get it finished, maybe.  It’s stitches are crooked and half hazard.

It makes me think that maybe someone else finished it for her or maybe I had it right to begin with.  She was tired of this quilt.  Enough of the sore arms!

I’ve so enjoyed admiring her work, wondering her thoughts, touching the quilt where she touched it too.


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There’s one thing I haven’t told you about this quilt.  Something I found to be endlessly fascinating.  Something that really showed me just how frugal this quilt maker was.  I’m getting there.

As I’ve said the quilt was painfully heavy.  You know the kind.  The old fashioned batting that weighed more than a small baby.  The good stuff.  The kind you can’t purchase anymore.  Please don’t tell me that it’s cotton.  I use cotton today, it’s not just cotton.  My quilts never weighed so much or lay as thick.  It’s more than cotton.  It’s that high quality kind of product that no longer exists.  Batting companies do not make this kind of batting anymore.  We’d have to lay batting on top of batting and maybe do it again for it to be the same.

So anyway, back to the fascinating part.  I bought the quilt at the estate sale, gently washed it up, made it smell yummy, closed and sewed up a few small places on it.  Another quilter purchased it from me.   It went to a loving home.  She emailed me sometime after she received it and asked me if I knew.  “Know what?”  She went on and told me that when she received the quilt she washed it again and doing so a few more seams busted open (it happens with old quilts).  She went to sew them up herself and took a peek inside.  Guess what was inside?  A whole other quilt!

This quilter had taken an old tattered quilt and used it as the batting for her new quilt.  I’d never known that this was a thing, but after mentioning it on Instagram, I know several of you knew about this too.

I’m bummed I didn’t find the other quilt inside myself or get pictures.  Still though, this whole experience has been positive.  I’ll let you know about the two other quilts I purchased soon.


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  1. This quilt is so beautiful! The colors remind me of the other quilts you have made and I thought for a moment that it was a quilt you made until I read the post. My mother uses old quilts and blankets as batting too. She thinks that batting wouldn’t keep you warm enough and the only purpose of a quilt is to keep you warm. She made a quilt for me, but she hand quilts it, and the blanket she used as batting makes it too much work for her to finish quilting it.

    1. Thank you, Shasta! I was actually wondering that about if you did use an old quilt as batting, how would the quilting go? I imagine it would be difficult. 🙂

  2. You write beautifully…your story drew me in till the end. What a surprise but then I can absolutely see women of years gone by not wasting a thing. I am currently working on 2 rescue quilts myself, a log cabin quilt top machine pieced (obviously) with gently used fabric … men’s shirts? Dresses? I don’t know but I love the feeling. It was sewn by my great grandmother probably in the 1920s or 30s, passed down to my mother who left it untouched, then on down to me. I had it long-arm quilted … what would Gram have thought about that new convenience. But, Ive just hand sewn the binding. My 6 year old granddaughter visited this past weekend and I promised it would someday go to her.

    My second rescue project is one of my own making. I completed the top and got about half finished in hand quilting it 38 years ago. It has been in a state if incomplete, moving from Connecticut to Maryland back to Connecticut and finally to Florida. It’s picked up a stain or two but a few ago I began hand quilting it again, I’d forgotten how peaceful and relaxing it is to hand quilt. I’m excited to finally complete it and hope someone in the family will love it too.

    Again, thank you for your lovely story and I look forward to hearing about your remaining “rescues”.

    Karen Wisnovsky
    Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida

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