How to Buy Vintage Quilt Blocks // Try it Tuesday

Vintage Blocks

Inspired by my sister-in-law Amber, I made my first purchase of vintage quilt blocks from an antique quilt vendor at Quilt Market last October. I spent a good half hour early one morning talking to the owners about quilts–it was really wonderful.

Anyway, these hand pieced blocks spoke to me, and at a dollar each, I figured I could spend $20 and come away with something totally new and different. The x blocks are similar to the Mayflower block in Vintage Quilt Revival, but shorter and more squat. According to Jinny Beyer’s  The Quilter’s Album of Patchwork Patterns: 4050 Pieced Blocks for Quilters  the star block is the Arkansas Star. Loved the curved centers. (There is a really cool Arkansas Star Quilt on the Quilt Index site).

I limited myself to $20, because I could see how purchasing vintage blocks and quilts could be habit forming, not to mention expensive.

Vintage Quilts at Quilt Market

Aren’t these quilts so great???

I plan to sew these blocks into some sort of quilt top/wall hanging. They are all different sizes and not exactly precise, so I’m not sure how I’m going to do that yet.   My first thought it some sort of wonky log cabin-ish border…. Any suggestions?

I’ll be back in a few weeks with my results/suggestions for piecing vintage blocks, as well as sharing a beautiful quilt as part of Vintage Quilt Sunday that my sister-in-law Amber made out of dresdens she purchased on eBay.

If you are looking for a place to purchase vintage blocks and/or quilt tops and quilts, my suggestions include:

–Antique Stores/Malls
–Quilt Shows
–Flea Markets
–Ebay
–Thrift shops/consignment shops
–Ask around–who knows what treasures friends or family members might have that they don’t know how to/don’t want to finish
Katie suggested Estate Sales
Kelly suggested Etsy
–Any other great sources?

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18 Comments

  1. Posted January 28, 2014 at 10:34 am | Permalink

    I found an awesome collection of Churn Dash blocks in various solids and florals at the last quilt show I attended. I haven’t done anything with them yet but fully intend to piece them into a beautiful vintage-modern quilt!

    • Katie Blakesley
      Posted February 2, 2014 at 1:59 pm | Permalink

      I bet your quilt will be just beautiful! Churn dash is always at the top of my list, and never seems to get started. Have fun!

  2. Posted January 28, 2014 at 11:41 am | Permalink

    Estate sales are another good place. I picked up a half dozen blocks at a sale that I’m going to use the fabrics to replace torn fabrics in my grandmother’s quilt that I’m repairing.

    • Katie Blakesley
      Posted February 2, 2014 at 1:58 pm | Permalink

      What a smart way to get fabrics to work with in the quilt you are repairing! I’ll add estate sales to my list in the blog post. Thanks!

  3. Posted January 28, 2014 at 11:45 am | Permalink

    Interesting blocks – I think they’d look amazing used in a design along the lines of Jen Kingwell’s “Gypsy Wife” quilt pattern. Whatever you decide, I’m sure it will be beautiful. Looking forward to seeing the finished quilt!

    • Katie Blakesley
      Posted February 2, 2014 at 1:57 pm | Permalink

      That is such a great suggestion, Andrea. They do have kind of a Jen Kingwell feel to them, don’t they. But that means I would need to make a ton more blocks!!

  4. jenni
    Posted January 28, 2014 at 11:17 pm | Permalink

    I really admire you, you have such a great sense of color and shape and what is art. I love these blocks and think I would have chosen the same blocks! Now I want to start collecting vintage blocks. It makes more sense than collecting quilts, which I can’t really afford!

    • Katie Blakesley
      Posted February 2, 2014 at 1:57 pm | Permalink

      Thank you for such a kind comment!! I will warn you, I think collecting vintage blocks could become some sort of habit! It is so fun to see the blocks/quilts through someone else’s eye and then try to add something of yourself to them.

  5. Posted January 29, 2014 at 5:47 pm | Permalink

    Great buy. and those quilts are gorgeous.

    • Katie Blakesley
      Posted February 2, 2014 at 1:55 pm | Permalink

      Aren’t they, though? It makes me want to try my hand at recreating them. Or rather, try my machine at recreating them :)

  6. Posted January 30, 2014 at 5:51 pm | Permalink

    What about sashing each of the star blocks in a coordinating solid, but each block gets its own colour. If you made them rectangles instead of squares you could put the ten blocks together for a small quilt. Or make each row have two stars and one of the other blocks, but the rows would all have a different colour solid as a background. Not a traditional play out at all, but could be kind of fun.

    • Katie Blakesley
      Posted February 2, 2014 at 1:54 pm | Permalink

      I really like that idea, Cheryl, especially about the rectangle sashing. Since all of the blocks are not the same size, sashing would definitely help keep the shape of the block and still make the quilt fit together. Thanks!

  7. Posted January 31, 2014 at 6:09 pm | Permalink

    Another great place is Etsy for vintage quilts in all conditions from blocks to tops to finished. Lovely little blocks. I have a stack of vintage hand sewn bow-tie blocks and I haven’t worked up the courage to put them together yet. Looking forward to seeing where yours go.

    • Katie Blakesley
      Posted February 2, 2014 at 1:53 pm | Permalink

      I haven’t even though about looking on etsy. I’ll add it to my list. Thanks!

  8. Posted February 1, 2014 at 12:37 pm | Permalink

    Another good source is friends to buy them but then decide they aren’t going to put them together and give them to you!! A pal gave me 18 beautiful handpieced blocks and I finished a quilt with them and I just can’t tell you the great feeling it gave me….hopefully some good karma too!:)

    • Katie Blakesley
      Posted February 2, 2014 at 1:53 pm | Permalink

      I bet they are beautiful! I’m sure someone, somewhere was happy that you finished her quilt :)

  9. Posted February 3, 2014 at 1:53 pm | Permalink

    So pretty! I have about 12-15 that I bought a few years ago at a thrift store for $5! They had to have been at least 15 years or older then. They were crazy quilt squares. I have them in my list of things to do 😉

    • Katie Blakesley
      Posted February 3, 2014 at 4:11 pm | Permalink

      I love things to do lists! So many treasures there :)

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