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As Luck Would Have It

Hello Slow Sunday Stitchers! I’m so excited Kathy’s brought us together again this weekend, because I’ve got something wonderful to show you. This week’s post is a little different from usual and starts earlier in the week with a wander into town on a very rainy day…

I Am A Queen

I wouldn’t call myself a ‘thrift store queen’ or ‘king of the charity shops’, far from it. These days charity shops don’t seem to sell anything that wasn’t once on the high street and generally speaking they’re not much different in price. This week though, I was most definitely Queen Bee! And I still can’t believe my luck.

I walked into a new store run by Cornwall Hospice Care that had opened that day. I was with Kim and the first thing we noticed were two quilts laid out on a couple of beds. A hand pieced, hand quilted Grandma’s Flower Garden was priced at £9.95 and the other one had no label. Kim really liked ‘the other one’ so we enquired about it. One of the store managers said it was also £9.95. I told him it was too cheap. He said “Why, it’s only a blanket.”

Absolute sacrilege! (And it showed on my face!)

Handmade patchwork quilt in blue and white. Hand quilted with feather wreaths. © Stephanie Boon, 2016 http://www.DawnChorusStudio.com

This is it!

I pointed out the hand quilting, the amazing feather design and how long it must have taken the quilter to make – it really was beautifully stitched. Hours, weeks, months, maybe even years worth of stitching.

Hand quilting - detail of a feather design on white fabric. © Stephanie Boon, 2016 http://www.DawnChorusStudio.com

Look at those tiny, beautiful stitches – I’m rather envious!

“£40 then, and you can come and work for us!” he joked. So I paid him the £10, put it in a big bag and told Kim to carry it – he’d declared it was going on his bed “until you finish my ocean waves one.” Ouch! (I can tell you now Kim, it won’t be as gloriously quilted as this one so make the most of it!)

Hand quilted patchwork quilt, detail. © Stephanie Boon, 2016 http://www.DawnChorusStudio.com

A showcase for some beautiful hand quilting and simple blocks (some fading on the blue print)

Sadly, we had to leave the Grandma’s Flower Garden behind: I just didn’t have any more money to spend. And I already felt incredibly guilty at paying the equivalent of four cups of coffee for such a wonderful piece of craftsmanship.

The One We Left Behind

Kim sees his dad everyday and he popped in on his way home from work as usual. The first thing he did was show off his new quilt, enthralling him with details of how it was made and how wonderful it looked on his bed (not as good as it would look on mine, haha!). Then he told him about the one we left behind:

Vintage Grandma's Flower Garden quilt on a bed in a shop display. © Stephanie Boon, 2016 www.DawnChorusStudio.com

Wonderful symmetry

“Why didn’t you phone me?!” he declared. “I’d love it.” His girlfriend would be thrilled too, he said. He gave me £10 to see if I could pick up the next day. I’ll see if it’s still there… and not been re-priced at £40, I said to myself!

Grandma's Flower Garden vintage handmade quilt. Detail. © Stephanie Boon, 2016 www.DawnChorusStudio.com


As luck would have it, it was still laid out on the bed and still priced at the paltry sum of £9.95. I took it to the counter. “You’ve still got that sheepish look on your face, haven’t you?!”, said the same manager. Yes, other charity shop queens look like cats that got the cream. Me, I just look sheepish. And I still feel guilty. After all, someone spent hours making something really beautiful that ended up ‘just a blanket’ in a charity shop. And then I breezed in and picked it up for a song.

Vintage 'Grandma's Flower Garden' handmade quilt over the back of a chair. © Stephanie Boon, 2016 www.DawnChorusStudio.com

It would look just as good as a throw

I hope our appreciation would make the quilter happy they’ve come to us. Neither quilt has a label, so we’ll probably never know who she is.

When I’m sat at my desk quilting a few more squares on On The Edge this evening I’ll be thinking about this incredibly talented quilter and just how I can improve on my own humungous stitches!


Finding a spot among the mountains of cardboard packing boxes to take a few stitches (and a bureau I can’t bear to part with, now painted white – those bookcases are next for a fresh coat of paint!)

Slow Sunday Stitching is a great time to think about slowing down and planning a new hand quilting or hand piecing project. If you’re wondering what to do next and feel inspired by these quilts, have a look at my updated tutorial for making a hexie quilt, like the grandma’s flower garden one above. There’s a free pillow pattern there too.

Have a lovely Sunday everyone and enjoy some peaceful stitching.

Signature: Stephie © Stephanie Boon, 2015 www.DawnchorusStudio.com

30 replies
  1. Deb @ Frugal Little Bungalow
    Deb @ Frugal Little Bungalow says:

    My goodness that is luck indeed. A few years back our mission store had a GFG for 350.00 and I held my breath hoping no one would buy it prior to the end of the month when things go to 1/2 off. So I picked it up for 125.00 USD and enjoyed it for two years ( hardly EVER putting it on my bed as it was in perfect condition and probably really worth more like 2000.00 or more ! 🙂 It went home with my oldest son and fiancee last year.

    What a wonderful deal you and Kim found!!

    • Stephie
      Stephie says:

      I just couldn’t believe it Deb, maybe, at last, our luck is turning around! It sounds like you also had an amazing deal. I’ll keep this one on Kim’s bed until I finish his Ocean Waves (another 5 years?!?!) and then will keep it out of bright sunlight – I have a lovely armoire I keep textiles in. I’d love to fill it up one day with lots of colourful quilts…I’m too slow though, haha! It sounds like you’ve taken the your quilt on another inheritance journey, it’s such a wonderful thing to do. I bet your son and his fiancee will treasure it as much as you 🙂 x

  2. Karen Goad
    Karen Goad says:

    every now and then you will see a nice quilt in a used shop – I always wonder what made the family stick it in a shop like that when they do not get paid anything and I usually think that someones grandma died and no one wanted the wonderful things that she made. it is better to go to a home that it will be loved at then to a home where the dog will use it or whatever – I hope you have found a new home!!

    • Stephie
      Stephie says:

      Ah Karen, thank you so much! We may have found somewhere but won’t be certain until the middle of next week. I’m keeping quiet about it, because I don’t want to jinx it and feel that my luck is on very dodgy ground lately!!! Other than the quilts – which of course also need a new home! I agree with you, I imagine the quilter has probably died, I can’t understand why you’d want to get rid of something you’d spent so much time on, even if it is a little faded. I guess some relatives only saw the fading and not the amount of love and time that went into making it. So sad, but very lucky for us! x

    • Stephie
      Stephie says:

      Thanks Gail. I didn’t get as much stitching done as I’d hoped because I ended up staying with friends in the evening after our afternoon walk! I’m not complaining though!!

  3. Deborah
    Deborah says:

    Fantastic to find such a wonderful bargain. It is always wonderful to hear that quilts found in charity shops go home and are cherished by new owners. Too often many of these quilts are left behind by owners that had no family to cherish them. I like to think its fate intervening when I find a quilt to take home to cherish that it may have been wrapped around the maker during their last days hoping someone would love it as much as they did making it.

  4. Sandra
    Sandra says:

    How wonderful that these quilts found there way to a family who truly appreciates them! Better than someone using them as a drop sheet or a dog bed, that’s for sure! I rescued a silk quilt two years ago in a yard sale for $5. I was the same as you, trying to impress on the seller the value of the work put into it! As for your stitches, I’m sure they’re fine, but something once said to me was, ” worry about the consistency of your stitches and the size will take care of itself”: Also, makes me cringe with my whole being when someone refers to quilts as blankets!!!!

    • Stephie
      Stephie says:

      Sandra, you’ve just about summed up everything that went through my mind! Blanket? Pfft!!! I’m concerned about my stitches on both counts to be honest, consistency and size. I just about manage to keep them consistent each time I work on something, but I think I could be more consistent from one day to the next (if that makes sense)…oh dear! It sounds like you had a wonderful discovery a couple of years ago – do you still have the quilt? I think Deb was incredibly generous passing her treasure onto her son. Then again, mine just stole it, hahaha!!!

  5. Kate Heads
    Kate Heads says:

    What a wonderful find, they are both beautiful but the quilting on the first one is lovely. So much work went into it, I’m so glad you rescued it and it has a home where it will be valued for the treasure it is.

    • Stephie
      Stephie says:

      Kate the quilting on the white one is just incredible, I’ve never seen anything so well quilted before. I’ve always admired quilters that can stitch traditional designs with this amount of skill. Phenomenal. I wish someone could teach me! The GFG is much more utilitarian in nature (but no less a treasure). It’s got really simple quilting just around the outside of each flower and when you see it from the back it’s very easy to see that the quilter wasn’t so advanced. I wonder if they were made by the same quilter at different times in her journey? To think that you could improve that much is really inspiring!

  6. Lynne Nicholson
    Lynne Nicholson says:

    Fingers crossed you get good news about a new home for yourself, maybe these quilts are a precursor.
    Just trying to decide how best to make up a tumbler quilt I’m making. I am thinking of plain tumblers between the patterned but not sure if I’ll go for black to make it pop or several colours from the patterns.
    Having problems with my vision currently so not sure how accurate my sewing will be but the cutting is accurate as I used my accuquilt go and tumbler die.

  7. Pat in WNY
    Pat in WNY says:

    What fabulous finds! Can’t blame Kim for wanting that quilt for his own bed – it’s absolutely wonderful in it’s softly muted glory. So understated and elegant. Here’s hoping the next few days bring you more good luck and wonderful finds – as in new living quarters where you can feel snugly at home with your treasured things.


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