Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Guilty Secrets

Hi everyone:

I have to confess: I have a guilty secret. This summer I started going to estate sales. Even worse, I've been buying while at them. I know, it's shocking, but it's the sad truth. Some of my quilting dollars are now going to estate sale purchases.
Look at the gorgeous lace on the edge of this luncheon cloth!
It's not like going to a garage sale (although I've never been to one of these, I'm sure they are different from an estate sale). Estate sale items have been appraised and priced to sell and are still in the home that housed them for decades. It's sort of like opening up a time capsule to see what treasures you can find. Of course, one man's treasure is another man's junk - or is it the other way around? In any case, I've found lots of (what I consider) treasures. 
Lace edging detail
I like going from room to room browsing through old china, vintage jewellery and bric a brac. Sometimes the houses themselves are the main attraction, such as the one I visited a few months ago with red shag carpeting in the basement and shag carpet wall murals. I like talking to family members to hear the history of the items I'm interested in, such as the antique quilt that I purchased recently. 
Centre detail of quilt - love the touches of solid red!

A corner detail

Beautiful leaves and look at those prairie points
which are all around the quilt edge
Hand appliqu├ęd and hand quilted, it's still in excellent condition and I love the colours in it. I was glad that I picked it up right away as I could feel envious eyes on me as I made my way through the rest of the house. 
Another view of the leaf border
While I can wear the jewellery and clothes that I purchase, what am I going to do with the vintage linens that I've purchased? 
Vintage wool blend bolero jacket with mink collar

Detail of stitching - quilting motif inspiration
Hankies, table cloths, cloth napkins, doilies, table runners, luncheon cloths, none are left behind. Beautiful and cherished, what am I going to do with them? 

Being a quilter, I love looking at all the designs and colours used in the items and the feel of the various textures. I can imagine how they were originally used, reserved for special occasion dinners or tea with cherished friends. This is the "honeymoon" stage, where we're getting to know one another. Then I start to think of how I can give them new life and make them useful and vibrant again while still respecting their past. 

I'll let you know some of my ideas for these vintage linens in my next post. In the meantime, I'd like to know if you go to estate sales, and if so, what are your favourite finds? If you collect vintage linens, do you use them to create new designs? I'd love to hear your ideas. 


Katkat said...

I just taught a class in vintage pincushions using old linens and lace along with things like candle holders, small planters, tea cups, etc. Really turned out well.

kc said...

You might want to check out the hankie baskets in Kelly's post here:


Colleen said...

You've never been to a garage sale? That's amazing!! I've only been to one estate sale, and I purposely stay away, as I would be too tempted by the textiles, and the dishes. (My hubby will tell you that I have quite enough of both!) However, then I see that beautiful quilt that you picked up, and I think I should check out just one or two...

Phyllis said...

Just inherited many linens 80-100+ years old from my Mom and Grandmother. I can't wait to see your idea. I want to do something special with mine, but don't have a clue what that might be.

Crazy Creek Creations said...

Lucky you Kim to pick up this adorable scrappy vintage quilt.