Silver and Cotton

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I have a weakness for antique shopping and weird thrift stores. I get it from my Dad, who will go out of his way to hit every random estate and garage sale he can. The man hasn’t discovered Craigslist garage sale postings yet, and when he does, you’d better believe he’ll be sneaking tools and odd ends into his barn.

I am not so much one to buy something because it “looks pretty”; I want everything to have a purpose. I don’t believe in having nice china or pieces of glassware that are only used on special occasions. So when I find something in an antique store, whether it be a home good, a vintage dress, or a piece of silver, it’s going to be used and well loved.

While walking around Sellwood thrift stores last week, I stumbled upon a vase filled with extremely tarnished silver spoons. Many of them had faces of presidents on the handles, and were obviously collected and hung on someone’s wall at one point. I noticed a few state spoons poking out of the glass mouth and sifted thru them until a perfect one fell into my hand.

I normally wouldn’t take home something like a silver spoon, but when I saw INDIANA emblazoned on the handle, I knew I’d be offering the shop owner a few dollars for it.

It was actually in pretty bad condition, with lots of scratches and so much tarnish I could hardly see the tiny state seal at the top. But a good cleaning and some silver polish has it (almost) shining like new.

It reminded me of another antique store purchase I made back in Indiana. A vintage quilt, which is hand-pieced but machine quilted. It’s probably from the 1930s or 40s judging by the fabrics, and we’ve used it for many picnics and lots of couch snuggling. It’s been used so much, in fact, it’s falling apart.

It’s not particularly spectacular by any means. Judging by the technique and stitches, it was probably someone’s first quilt, maybe even someone’s very first sewing project. But despite the wonky appliquéd circles, faded prints and almost non-existant binding, I love this quilt. I’ve patched up many places on it, but at this point there are areas where there’s nothing left to sew to; nothing left to patch.

So what would you do? Put it to rest and find another antique treasure? Or continue to love and use it until there’s simply nothing left?


  • What a gorgeous quilt with a really unusual design!

    It’s so hard to know what to do for best, but as a quilter myself I would rather my quilts get used until they can be used no more than stuffed in a cupboard. That’s just me and I give all my quilts with a lifetime guarantee that if they get so used I promise to replace them.

    There may be ways of extending the life of this quilt using appliqué patches and quilt as you go…but it just depends if you want to do that and if you can find fabrics that compliment.

    Thanks for sharing :o)

    • Thanks, Jane! I just love it soo much! I have darned many areas of the quilt using both darning foot and then just plain ole’ zigzagging over other areas. I have thought about patching some of the holes, but I want to find some vintage fabric scraps to do that with. I think that by the time I fix all the holes, I’ll basically have a new quilt- it’s that bad! Now for a good place to find scraps…

  • LizzyRose

    Hi Amy,

    There is a wonderful shop in Dallas, OR called Annie’s Attic. The lady who owns this shop can and would willingly give you any and all information about your wonderful Quilt that you want to know and more.

    She is a certified Quilt Appraiser but freely gives info. when a Quilt is brought into her shop. More than likely she has matching fabric for your Quilt and if not she can locate it. Of course as I write this I can not remember her name or phone number but it is listed in the book. Good Luck! I love the Quilt!!!

    • Thank you so much, Lizzy! I’m going to have to Google that shop for sure. I’m very intrigued that you say she might have fabric to match it. It’d be lovely to patch it with some matching prints. Thanks again!

  • I would continue to use it; to cut it up just seems wrong. It would be like cutting up the picnics and snuggling you have used it for!!

    • I don’t think I could cut it up- it does seem wrong. Even as it gets more holes in it, I don’t think I can just throw it away either- I love it too much!

  • Laura Kukelhan

    Hi Amy,
    I received a christmas stocking quite a few years ago that was cut out of an old quilt & decorated with scraps of trim. Drastic measure, but it will bring out those treasured memories for the holiday season, when there is not enough left to patch.

    • Hi, Laura! I don’t know if I quite have the heart to cut it up yet, but I’ll keep the stockings in mind! I’m considering turning it into a narrow buffet runner, but who knows when I’d get that done! 😉

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