Finding Old Quilts


Panguitch is a small Southern Utah town in the middle of nowhere.  Their annual community celebration centers around quilts for a good reason.  During the first winter, the community ran out of supplies.  A group of men headed to a neighboring community to get the needed supplies.  The snow was too deep for their wagons so they ended up using quilts like snowshoes to walk to get the supplies.  The quilts literally saved the town.  Here is a link to where you can read the story in more detail:

Their annual celebration is called the Panguitch Quilt Walk.  During the Quilt Walk, the whole town joins in the celebration.  Quilts can be seen everywhere, inside and out.  There is another quilt story associated with this celebration that is not as well known.  The story goes — one of the ladies in charge of the quilt show that takes place during the celebration, was taking some things to the dump.  While she was there, she saw a man taking quilt after quilt after quilt out of his vehicle and tossing them onto the pile of trash there at the dump.  She waited for the man to leave and proceeded to take quilt after quilt after quilt off of the pile of trash and place them into her vehicle.  Most of the quilts were in poor condition, but these are the quilts that are seen hanging throughout the town.  From a distance they are admired.  Upon examination, their condition is noted, but the quilts are still valued and admired.  What a blessed day to be at the dump! 

I share these stories to ask a question.  Where do I go, besides the dump, to find old quilts like this?  I would love to have some old quilts in poor condition.  I just looked on ebay hoping to find some “cutters.”  I was disappointed to find that ebay sellers are now actually cutting old quilts into pieces and just selling pieces of these old quilts.  It was more difficult (read as more expensive) than I thought to find an entire quilt. 

I think I am okay with an old quilt top.  Could I place iron on interfacing behind holes so I could quilt the top?  I know when I say that I want to quilt an antique top, but if it is in poor condition, it isn’t as valuable as it could be, and I really want the quilts to be enjoyed. 

Thanks in advance!


  1. Busty LaRue
    July 9, 2010 at 10:51 pm

    I’ve actually had a couple come to me to be quilted that were found at yard sales. One of them was just a bundle of blocks that my client added sashing and borders to. I don’t know how common it would be to find them at yard sales, but it might be worth checking out. HTH! 🙂

  2. Peaceful Piecer
    July 9, 2010 at 11:10 pm is an online auction that has quilt tops pretty often. I am so lucky I have many tops that my great grandma pieced. good luck with your search

  3. Teresa
    July 9, 2010 at 11:46 pm

    I see old quilts in antique shops frequently. Many are not in good condition and go for a fairly good price ($50 or less). One of my friends finds them at Goodwill Stores all the time. You would not believe what one quilt had on the inside for batting – everything from old pjs to curtains. It was a story to be told.

  4. Di~
    July 10, 2010 at 12:04 am

    Thank you for the information! I’ve heard of the Pang. Quilt Walk a lot, but never knew the background behind it. I’ve wanted to attend it also, maybe someday!

  5. soggybottomflats
    July 10, 2010 at 1:26 am

    I find cutter quilts, here, in Canton, Texas, all the time. I have had to quit buying them because I have an addiction…I can’t save them all! I would be happy to send you one if you really want one. Let me know, Elaine in Texas

    If you want to drive down, I would be happy to take you around to the vendors at our 1st Mondday flea market…supposedly the biggest flea market in the world. If you google it, firstmondaycanton, you will find maps and pics. I developed quilt overload the first few times I went down, had to go home, seriously! Let me know, k?

  6. Jan Marie
    July 11, 2010 at 4:38 am

    I love it when I hear our history from someone else. The quilt walk is a pretty unique story. Thanks for sharing it.

  7. tmd
    July 12, 2010 at 5:01 am

    Thanks for the stories, those were fun to read. When I saw someone else mention you should check out goodwill online that reminded me that I had been meaning to look at it. Strangely enough they have a quilt on there right now. Not sure if it’s what you’re looking for but…

  8. Nancy
    July 13, 2010 at 4:48 pm

    Let everyone you meet know that you are a quilter and you will be amazed at how many have old quilts or quilt tops that they no longer want. I’ve had people just give me stacks of blocks, because they have no use for them. Also, I have purchased a few beautiful antique an vintage quilt tops from local vintage and consignment shops.

  9. Beth
    July 13, 2010 at 6:31 pm

    If you are wanting to quilt an old top, place a piece of muslin between your top and batting. I would be cautious of using interfacing.

  10. Tracy P.
    July 18, 2010 at 1:54 am

    I have found several old quilts in not so great condition, but definatly usable, at a few local antique and thrift shops. I also love getting old quilt tops and putting it together myself…old quilt…great price!

  11. Sandi
    July 18, 2010 at 5:16 pm

    Check out my weekly feature “What’s on the line?” I share the old quilts that my mother and dad bought at auction. None of them are for sale at this time but you never know. 🙂 My brother picks up quilts at farm auctions sometimes and then they come my way. I have two quilts that I am going to cut and use for pillows and pincushions. They have no sentimental value and are too warn to repair. I’m going to be doing a blog post about them in a week or so. I absolutely love old quilts and spent all day yesterday, just playing with some of them and rearranging them in the bedroom that my grandson sleeps in when he comes to visit. 🙂

  12. Barb
    July 20, 2010 at 4:08 am

    Loved the stories.

  13. Primitive Friends
    July 20, 2010 at 7:08 pm

    My husband and I inherited 8 old quilts a few months ago, from his grandfather’s house. I really don’t have the room to store these, but I just couldn’t pass them up! I will eventually find the perfect space for them. Most of them are what I would call ‘utility’ quilts, made for the warmth. There are one or two that were made from a pattern – a ‘spiderweb’ for one! And one that has a rather large hole burned into it. My husband thinks that a relative who smoked may have accidently burned it, or used it to put out something that was burning. I have a passion for a lot of old things and as a quilter, I love old quilts!!