If you are a regular at estate sales, country auctions and flea markets you have seen them. They are used as packaging materials in the bottom of steamer trunks and boxes. They are the dirty, ripped and discarded pieces of America's sewing history. We call them "cutter" quilts - once lovingly pieced and stitched, proudly displayed and adored, these pieces are considered ugly, useless and without value.
At a sale on Saturday, a gentleman kindly allowed me to rummage through his garage in search of vintage sewing treasures. I found two old homestead cutters - they were a complete mess - missing patches, rips, stains, and completely worn out bindings. I was able to purchase the pair for $5.00 (the man was surprised I wanted them at all and was planning to throw them out).
As soon as I got home, I sprayed all the soiled areas with Oxy Clean in my garage. Next, I set my washing machine for soak in the hottest water setting and added 2x the normal detergent. I allowed the quilts to soak over night. The next morning, I rinsed and washed the quilts and laid them flat in a sunny spot outside to dry.
That night I cut away all the unusable parts.
I was left with several quilted squares and 5 long strips which could be patched, bound and made into rustic table runners.
Right now, I am starting the fun part - getting creative. I have a nice stash of quilt vintage squares, trims, embroidery flosses, buttons and bits from other travels. I will use these to decorate the runner and hide little spots or tiny holes.
I love quilting, but would never have the time to complete my own quilt from scratch. By recycling and restyling cutter quilts, more than half the work is already done - making for a fun, quick and inexpensive sewing project!
*SEW* Farmhouse Style! Here are two runners ready to take on antoher 100 years.