What to Do With An Old Quilt?

I often see people posting on social media about quilts that they "rescued" from a garage sale or thrift shop.  Sometimes they go to great lengths to try to find the original owner or quilter.  I have wondered if the owner always wants to be found.

What if the quilt was made by a horrible mother-in-law now removed by divorce?  What if the quilter couldn't stand the quilt and was relieved to donate it to charity?  What if it was a gift given to someone who didn't like quilts and was quietly spirited away to keep from hurting the feelings of the maker?

On the other hand, there are many stories about lost quilts that are joyfully reunited with their makers or owners.  Those are always good stories.

My old quilt story is a little different and has a happy ending. 

Many years ago we started tent camping with our first child and spent many a chilly night sleeping on the ground in our huge tent, along with our friend Jacque.  The 4 of us had plenty of room in the 10 person tent.  We didn't mind Jacque's remarkably loud snoring and she didn't mind us fighting over the covers, or so we thought.  Rick and I had sleeping bags that zipped together but we also had a big problem because they also unzipped every time one of us moved.  Hence the fighting over the covers as the cold air crept in along the sides of our bed.

One day Jacque showed up for a camping trip with a HUGE quilt for us!  I mean, bigger than king size.  We could cover ourselves and tuck it in all around our sleeping bags and foam pads.  It was wonderful and warm.  She had used up every scrap she could get her hands on so it was brightly colored and exactly what we needed.  We loved snuggling under that quilt and as 2 more children came along, our entire family of 5 fit under it.

We did a lot of camping over the years and eventually bought a pop up tent trailer to add to the fun on the rainy, Washington state camp outs.  The ends of the trailer had oversized beds and the quilt moved right in with us and tucked around us comfortably.  I loved cold nights with all of us tucked under our special camping quilts.

One especially memorable trip was the first one of the summer that year and we eagerly opened up the trailer at the campground and went in to set it up.  I leaned over and opened up a drawer to grab a tool and out popped a mouse!  It startled me and I leapt backwards into my husband, Rick.  Keeping in mind that the floor space was only about 8 feet long and 2 feet wide, the chase around the trailer that ensued was hilarious.  Rick and I could hardly stand up we were laughing so hard and we simply couldn't corner that little field mouse.  He finally raced out a little hole under the sink and we could give up the chase.  We plugged the hole and got back to setting up the trailer.  Unfortunately, the mouse had chewed holes in a curtain and in our great, big quilt.  We were so glad there weren't any baby mice.  It was a story we told and retold for years and we wouldn't let Jacque repair the quilt because we loved the memories that went with the damage the mouse had caused.

We camped in that tent trailer for about 20 years before we finally sold it to a young family, just starting their camping adventures.  Our children had moved on and we were more inclined to go "hotel camping".  But the memories live on.

Recently I was looking at the old quilt and wishing we had a use for it.  I just hate to see quilts laying quietly in a drawer or on a shelf, not being used.  They need to be used and washed and loved or they simply rot away, as all textiles do eventually.  We have a beautiful quilt on our bed already and none of our kids have king sized beds or go camping either.   I considered donating it to a charity but I knew the holes in it needed to be repaired first.

A few weeks after I started wondering what to do with the old, snuggly quilt, a friend asked me where she could find quilts to buy for her rentals.  I jokingly asked if she needed a scrappy one for a king sized bed and she nodded.  I was so excited!  I could possibly find a new home for my old, reliable quilt!  I explained the mouse holes and promised to patch them before bringing the quilt to her in a week.  She was happy to get a well loved quilt and I was overjoyed to find a new home for Old Scrappy.

I delivered the quilt, patched and washed and she sent me this picture.  I'm content knowing that the quilt will live on and bring others joy and warmth and I know my friend Jacque would be happy about it, too.