Where do old quilts go?

No, not “Where do old quilters go?” We know the answer to that one, they just go to pieces. I mean, what do I do with all the quilts sitting around the house that we don’t use anymore? I’ve been thinking about this for a while, since about the time we were decluttering the house during the pre-move craziness. I counted the quilts just “sitting around” one day and there were more than a dozen, and that doesn’t include the many wallhangings that are not on the walls at the moment, and might never be again.

I guess this is the prolific quilter’s quandary. I spent at least ten years making a large number of quilts per year. Some I made to go with what was in the house at a particular time, and now the house looks different so they don’t go. Some I made because the fabric spoke to me, and some were class samples for classes I no longer teach. Some were sample quilts for quilt patterns or books I wanted or tried to write that never went anywhere.

Here’s where some of them are at the moment:

Starting from the left:

  • Winter Windmills, made as a sample for a pattern for a book that never got written.
  • Love at Last Sight, made from a set of Block of the Month blocks called Marching Band.
  • Stars & Stripes, one of two that I made like this from a pattern in The Block Book, by Judy Martin.
  • The next one is unnamed; it’s the quilt I made from the first set of friendship exchange blocks I ever had in 1995 with the Black Forest Quilters.
  • The snowball quilt has a name, but it’s on the label that I actually made, but can’t find at the moment because it never got attached to the quilt. Shame on me. I made this quilt for a class sample in the mid-1990’s

I like all these quilts, and some I’m even attached to like Love at Last Sight, and I suppose that if they weren’t hanging on the rail at the top of the stairs I’d want something else to hang there to soften all that metal. But even some of these I could let go and probably not notice their absence and there are yet more quilts hiding out around the house that I’m not attached to, and that I wouldn’t mind getting rid of if it came down to it. And I’d have more room to store and display the as yet unfinished quilts that are waiting in the wings.

If you don’t have extended family that wants and or will use lots of quilts, which I don’t, what do you do with them all? To be clear, most of the quilts I no longer want or will use are not new quilts; they are quilts that we’ve used at some point, but they no longer go with the overall look and decorating scheme of the house. I haven’t been able to find any place that just needs coverings of any type, whether new or not, to give these quilts to. And they’re not so old and worn out that I just want to throw them in the thrift shop bin either. I’d like to give them to someone who really needs them and will use them.

Your voice: How many older quilts are sitting unused at your house? How do you store or display them? Do you have family or friends who take them, or do you have a charity you donate to?

5 thoughts on “Where do old quilts go?

  1. I have given away lots to family, have several on the wall and the rest in a cupboard or cedar chest. I am getting to the stage where I will have to do something about the extras but I’m not sure what.


  2. Oh, I’m disappointed to hear that the thrift shop only gets things that are old and worn out. Surely you’d feel better if you gave them something worthwhile?


  3. My mom makes quilts for this ‘house” in Pasadena, CA that helps families get on their feetl. The whole family stays at this place and they are helped to find permanent housing and jobs, medical care, etc. Mom makes quilts for children to keep that stay there. I thought she would “throw together” simple, blocky quilts, but she doesn’t. She puts a lot of thought into these blankies.



  4. Joyce, I’m glad to hear that I’m not alone!

    Gillian, that “old and worn out” part probably came out totally wrong. The things I usually take to the thrift shop are way nicer than some of what I see on sale there on a good day. I don’t send the really old stuff to the thrift shop, I throw it out. But when I think of sending these quilts to the thrift shop, I see someone buying them to cut them up or something, or maybe they would just languish there and never be loved by someone who would really need them or use them. Far better to donate them to a shelter or something where they are really needed by those who can’t even go to the thrift shop to buy.

    Kelly, I know there are houses like that everywhere, but to my knowledge, they want new quilts, not used ones. Were I going to make new quilts to donate in this fashion, I too would put thought and effort and all my heart into making them.


  5. How about taking them to the Wounded Warrior/Chaplain’s Closet down at Landstuhl? I’ve only taken them new quilts, but they seemed to be happy to get anything. They go to soldiers passing through (most often with only the bloody clothes on their back) from Afghanistan and Iraq. My hubby says quilts are great for the medical transport back to the US since the planes are cold and uncomfortable.


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