Can You Believe THIS!!??

I have another thrift store adventure to share with you. This one is going to make you mad, sad, and angry all at the same time…shocked for sure!

This is the “rest of the story”…

I told you that earlier in the week that Kalissa and I had gone thrift store shopping last Wednesday when Gannon had an appointment. While we were shopping Kalissa found a dresser she liked. She had plans to repaint and spruce it up for her dining room. It’s been a while since she’s had a project and was excited. Besides that, it was only $40.

The only problem with it was that we had other things in the van already and the two boys so the dresser wasn’t going to fit. Kalissa talked to the people at the store and asked if we could come back the next day and pick it up. They said sure and gave her a tag so she could pick it up.

The next day we went back, shopped at the thrift store, picked up the dresser, and started to head towards home when Kalissa said she wanted to pick up grass seed. The place we get that at is near Goodwill so I asked her to drop me off at Goodwill and then she could go get the grass seed.

She dropped me off and I found some good things that I told you about in the previous post…what I left you hanging over the story of this quilt. It is a brand new newly made quilt. It has never been washed as it isn’t the least bit crinkly. IT WAS DONATED and for sale at Goodwill. I started to look for a price on it. All I could find is the orange tag. I looked all around for a pricing sign. There wasn’t one. I saw a lady who was working and asked her. She said she typically works in the back so doesn’t know. Then she went to the front and asked the cashier and he said, “Blankets like THAT ONE are considered comforters so they go for comforter price.” I asked what the comforter price was…and he said…

$5. I was sick. I was completely and totally sick. $5. WOW. $5 wouldn’t even buy two fat quarters of fabric. Oh, I am sick about this.

I am positive that this was painstakingly made with love…even with custom quilting…gifted and the receiver didn’t want it so they donated it. Why else would anyone donate this amazing quilt?

Look…it even has curved seams. A talented lady made this. It is so pretty. All of it is quilt shop fabric. I know as I recognize several of the prints. Seriously…I am just sick.

I was so confused about what to do. I didn’t need another quilt but I’ll be darned if I was going to let this stay at Goodwill. It seriously has not been washed. Who couldn’t love this quilt???

The colors are awesome. It looks fantastic. The border and binding print are the same. The backing matches the border fabric too.

This is a time-consuming quilt as curved edges always require extra time and lots of pinning. How could anyone have donated it?

I bought it.

I just want the person who made it to know that I saw it. I love it. I appreciate the hard work. I appreciate the time, talent, and money that was put into making this wonderful quilt.

I only have two quilts in the house that I didn’t make because I don’t want to confuse my kids…one is from Ila and one is from Annie. I treasure both of them so much.

I thought about donating it to a worthy charity or benefit…or putting it on the postage auction. Hmm. I just don’t know what is the right thing to do with it. What would you do with it?

I know I am making assumptions to suggest that this was gifted and the recipient didn’t want it. But what else could be the explanation? How else would this have landed in Goodwill?

I just feel sick about this…and super confused about what I should do with it now. I just knew I couldn’t leave it at Goodwill. I am so confused and shocked at finding this. I just don’t know what to say.

Before I go, I do want to say:
If you live in my area and you made this quilt and want it back, feel free to drop me a note. I’ll give it to you as long as you have some kind of story so I know it was originally yours.



53 thoughts on “Can You Believe THIS!!??”

  1. That quilt is gorgeous! I think it should go to a charity auction. Whoever buys it will value it.
    That quilt is kind of like one of the dogs you take in, you’ll love it and find a good home for it.

    I can’t believe all the good things at cheap prices that you find in your thrift stores…our prices are much higher and stuff is much more picked over. I’m happy for you! :-)

    1. Patricia Kendel

      Jo, I agree with Judy…someone with excellent quilting skills And money made this for someone special (who then must not have been so special) if he, she, they just took it to Goodwill. It’s hard to say what the best thing to do is…do you think either of your sons or Kayla would like it? If not, and you don’t want it for a living room/grandchildren/doggie quilt, then I would take it Only to the most important i.e. like the Fire Company auction or the highest price auction you know of. I just feel So sorry for all the time and expense its maker gave creating it. Such a pretty thing. I’d want it to be loved.

    2. Judith Fairchild

      What a gorgeous quilt. I think I would keep it untill you find someone who will need and love it. That quilt has a lot of love put into put in it by it’s maker.

  2. Oh Wow! It breaks my heart to see something like this. It was mentioned on FB the other day that three Mirabilia project were found at a thrift-type store. Framed and on the back, instructions on who got which one and why – all from a Grandma. I don’t think the envelopes were ever opened. :-(
    I know several of my quilts – considered just blankets – have been given away. It makes me sad but at the same time it was theirs to begin with.
    I personally have rescued a few cross stitch items.
    Quilters would be honored to have something like that quilt Jo.
    Love and prayers

  3. A friend recently bought a beautiful very large red/white quilt for $8 at a yard sale. The family definitely didn’t know what they had. It even had cross stitch chicken stitching on it. One reason I dont do labels is because when it winds up in the yard sale, I don’t want them to know where it came from.

  4. I know I’ve heard a few stories about quilts being used to wrap a car motor or something (obviously getting oil, etc on it rendering it useless). I think there are just so many folks who have no clue what goes into the making of a homemade quilt. But yeah, once you give it away you can’t control what the recipient does with it.

    1. Judith Fairchild

      Yeah I know what you’re talking about. My 1st husband took the quilt my grandmother made for us and used to set the car engine he wanted to work on, on it. I was at work when I got home and saw what he had done. I’ll just say I lost my temper. I still feel sick when I remember it.

  5. I’m glad you rescued this quilt, Jo. If you decide to donate it, a charity auction would be good. That way, you know it will go to a good home.

  6. FYI – This pattern is Winner’s Circle, designed by Wanda Kertis. Shar Jorgensen sold templates for the pattern – my box is from 1991! Several ladies in my guild made this quilt – all beautiful – it’s been on my bucket list for years!

  7. Mary F Nelson

    I am always amazed at the prices that get put on quilts in some of the thrift stores I frequent. When I see one, I always buy it.
    Honestly, the way prices are determined for donated items has me scratching my head. The prices at our local Goodwill are so high for some previously worn kids clothing that “new” is almost cheaper! And yet a brand new quilt is priced so low.
    I think your find would be a great donation for one of the fundraisers or your postal auction. But I really hope the actual maker can be reunited with her beauty.

  8. It’s a beautiful quilt, really gorgeous. Perhaps it was gifted to someone who really treasured it and never used it. When that person passed away it went to Goodwill with a lot of other things. I’m glad you have it so we can all see it and enjoy it.

    I will also tell a story. The woman who taught my first quilting class back in the 80s told us this story. She had made a quilt for her friend, hand quilted back then. One day she went to visit her and the quilt was in the yard and the dog was on it. She picked up the quilt, put it in her car, and never said a word about it.

  9. My Grandmother made a neighbor lady a quilt after she asked her to make it for her…It was hand pieced and hand quilted…The lady gave her $5 for her efforts. My Mother was so mad…..

    Jo–I don’t know if my nieces and nephews will want my quilts when I am gone…..Maybe this lady didn’t have family that wanted her quilt…such a sad story about this beautiful quilt , but the quilt is now with someone who loves it…

  10. I actually made that quilt many years ago as a sample for the quilt shop where I work. I used batiks and it was stunning. I don’t recall the name of the pattern, but I’m pretty sure it was designed by Terry Atkinson…there were templates included, and though it was a bit of a departure from her “usual “ style at the time, it was perfectly designed….typical of one of my favorite designers of all time. I have no idea if the pattern is still available, but I’m sure someone who made it might still have the templates…I’d highly encourage anyone who loves it to check it out and make it…yours is gorgeous…thank you for rescuing it.

    1. What a story. Happy to read it. Happy it was not a family getting rid of grandma’s things. Or maybe it is at the end.

  11. Oh my! I think I would have cried finding this beautiful quilt that someone didn’t want to keep! I am so glad you decided to buy it. It would be great if someone claims it – that it was accidentally given away. Otherwise if you don’t want to keep it (you appreciate all the work to make it) then a postage auction would most likely raise the most money since we your readers know it’s true value.

  12. I think possibly the recipient of the quilt may have passed away and the family gave this to Goodwill with her other possessions.
    I think it would make a great raffle quilt for one of your charities.

    1. I was thinking the same thing, maybe it’s owner is passed. Whatever she decides to do with it I’m sure it will be appreciated.

  13. Perhaps you could peruse websites that post missing or stolen quilts. Someone may be heartbroken and looking for it.

  14. Thank you for saving that beautiful quilt! I couldn’t have left it there either. If you hadn’t rescued it, some ignorant person (lacking knowledge of the value) could have bought it for a painting drop cloth, a shade tree mechanic’s ground blanket, or a dog bed (not to say our fur babies don’t need nice thing, just to say they don’t need things THAT nice.) Putting it in the postage auction would get it into hands that would appreciate it, and give it the respect it deserves!

  15. I would probably check missing quilts sites just in case someone is missing a quilt. Then if no one comes forth then I would auction it off. As that way you know it will go to someone who appreciates the work

    1. Chyrll S Rohde Lincoln

      Wanda Kertis was the original pattern/template maker for the quilt you rescued. She lived in the Belvidere IL area and taught several patterns she developed.. usually with acrylic templates. I have the original pattern and templates for your quilt among others she taught. She taught a jeans jacket class that used old jeans with knit cuffs and neckline.

  16. SO please you found the quilt, Jo, appreciated it, rescued it and that you have it safely. I agree with Susan Smit’s comment or keep it and love it yourself. Love the comment about the quilter who reclaimed her beautiful hand quilted gift from the dog bed! Just read that to my husband and he laughed out loud. Good for her!

  17. Betty Stogner

    As a long time reader of yours, this really touched my heart. I also would have bought it. I’m in the same boat about no one wanting mine when I’m gone. Glad this one was rescued. I always enjoy your columns about your trifting adventures.

  18. Something similar happened to me. I was at Goodwill and found two brand new quilts, one of which seemed to be a quilt of valor. I bought them and brought them to our next quilt guild meeting and they were both made by a lady in our guild. She had made them and they were given to a gentleman at our local nursing home. He must have passed away soon after and all of his belongings were taken to Goodwill. I am now the proud owner of both quilts. There are many times I wonder why I make and donate so many quilts but I enjoy the art so much I can’t stop and I have more quilts then I can ever use.

  19. Something similar happened to me. I was at Goodwill and found two brand new quilts, one of which seemed to be a quilt of valor. I brought them to our next quilt guild meeting and they were both made by a lady in our guild. She had given them to a gentleman at our local nursing home. He must have passed away soon after and all of his belongings were taken to Goodwill. I am now the proud owner of both quilts. There are many times I wonder why I make and donate so many quilts but I enjoy the art so much I can’t stop and I have more quilts then I can ever use.

  20. Geez Louise, the pattern costs $30.00. It is a fantastic quilt. Thanks for rescuing it. I love the comment that you rescue quilts like you do the foster dogs. Go ahead and auction it off for postage- a lot of quilt people love it. I hope I would do the same and rescue it.

  21. A case of pearls before swine. I think the postage fund sale or a raffle would be a good place for it. It would be nice if you have the time to check out the sites of lost/stolen quilts to see if it is listed there.

  22. My quilt store told me a lady had her newly finished quilt (just picked up from her long armer) in a bag in the back of her car along with donation bags. It got mixed in and left at the thrift shop. She returned when she realized this and it had been sold. That was what she was told anyway.

  23. WOW so glad you rescued the beautiful quilt. Often the people who do the pricing at thrift stores do not know a cheap store-bought quilt from a homemade beautiful quilt and it is not just in that department – they often don’t know brands. I volunteered at a thrift store for a couple of years and I witnessed this time of pricing. Sad but sometimes it works for our benefit!

  24. Ditto to everything you said about this quilt, Jo. So sad, bad, and almost criminal when a quilter sees this sort of thing happen. Any of the options you’ve mentioned would be good choices for how to go forward with this quilt. Such a beauty!

  25. What a gorgeous quilt! I, too, have made this quilt– Winners Bouquet. It’s heartbreaking that it was at Goodwill, but heartwarming that it ended up with you, Jo. If you love it, you should keep it. Otherwise, the postal auction would be a good alternative.

  26. Diana in Des Moines

    Sadly, there are many quilts that end up at thrift stores. Many are rejects from garage or estate sales. Many are donated or “dumped” by someone cleaning out mom or grandma’s house and think only of them as “blankets”.
    We do our best to educate people as to the value or worth of our quilts, but once they are gifted, they are out of our control. I learned many years ago to let my feelings towards a quilt go with it once gifted.
    I would make a label for it stating where you bought in, when and maker unknown. Then it can travel on its journey with a little more info then you have now.
    I’m sad about this quilt, but so glad you have it as I know you will value it no matter where it ends up.

  27. I have bought maybe 12 quilts this past winter at Goodwill and they were all $2.98 without my senior discount. One was a queen size quilt made with ladies handkerchiefs. It was a plain Jane but I plan on doctoring it up some. I have washed all of them and plan to donate them all (except the handkerchiefs). I have found many children’s quilts with an iron on patch from Grammy. I take it off and it still looks great as these quilts were never used. Good for you to buy that quilt. It looks like a great postage stamp auction piece for you to help with your mailing fund. I made a king size reproduction quilt for our tax person only to find out he kept it in a trash bag in a mice filled room. Taught me a big lesson about who I give quilts to in the future.

  28. So glad you rescued that quilt! My daughter is a new quilter. She was at a thrift store where pieces of fabric are 90 cents, no matter the size. She found two large quilt tops in the bin, made from quilt shop fabric she recognized. Took them up front and sure enough, she was charged 90 cents. I couldn’t believe it, especially given how nice they were. She plans to learn to machine quilt on them.

  29. I too found a new, never washed quilt at St. Vincent DePaul. Then we had a gentleman show up at our Sr. Center quilt group wanting a quilt mended. He said it was a family heirloom, something his grandmother had made. It was in shreds – very cheap fabric. I agreed to look at it. I found a Made in China tag and gently showed him explaining that the fabric was poor quality, it had a thin poly batt, and that it was made recently. He became very angry, accused us of lying – the tag was right there, and stomped out. I have seen quilts like this at Kmart and other discount stores. The general public does not recognize true workmanship due to these many knock-offs. It is sad. Last fall I called 10 different places trying to find homes for the 15 quilts we’d made. I’m not sure what is going on. We piece and machine quilt with quality cottons and cotton batting. Seeing our work in thrift stores is heartbreaking. Has anyone else run into trouble finding local homes for their quilts?

  30. Another fire company auction. My bid is $700.00 like the last one. Just couldn’t not send a bid.

  31. When one of my aunts (my dad’s sister-in-law) died, her deceased son’s long-term girl friend inherited everything. My aunt had many beautiful quilts that she, her mother, grandmother, and great grandmother made. As a child, I often admired them and listened to the stories of their making. After my aunt passed away, the girl friend took all her quilts, embroidery, and crochet either to Goodwill or some she burned that she said were holey. I know my Aunt’s quilts well enough that I know that the only ones that had a few small holes were the ones that were almost 200 years old. She did this without talking to anyone else in the family. I know this was her right, but myself and her siblings’ children have cried over this many times. When she admitted what she had done, one who lives close searched the Goodwills in local towns, but had no luck. Your quilt story made me think of this because it is so true that some people never feel the touch of the maker’s hand or the history embodied in a quilt or other piece of handiwork. I still have the doll quilt and clothes that she made me. So, I can still feel her touch.

    1. Marie, that’s so sad. Some people just don’t appreciate the work others put in to making quilts.
      Jo, I agree with others that a postage auction would be a good idea for the quilt. At least then it would be appreciated and looked after.

  32. So sad how personal belongings get tossed away when a person dies. This might not be the case but whatever, it is sad to see things of momentous personal value turn up in thrift shops. I get the feeling here in the UK than only the quilters themselves realise the time and effort along with the cost too, that goes into making these wonderful works of art.

    So sad not to be able to access the blog before this one. Only got all the gobbledygook unfortunately.

  33. Thanks for rescuing the quilt. A few years ago, I rescued a beautiful, crocheted afghan. It had a label attached that read, “With Love from Grandma”. It broke my heart to see it in a thrift store. I’ve used it and loved it for years.

  34. That is truly a beautiful quilt. My quilt quild makes and donates quilts to our local cancer center. We call them “comfort” quilts. It is possible that this was made for a person who had cancer and lost their battle with it and the family donated it rather than keep it.

  35. Since it happens quite often in my area, my guess as to what happened with the $5 quilt is that the recipient died or went into a nursing home. Those that were cleaning out the house just packed up stuff and donated it being too overwhelmed to do much of anything else.

  36. Chyrll S Rohde Lincoln

    Wanda Kertis was the original pattern/template maker for the quilt you rescued. She lived in the Belvidere IL area and taught several patterns she developed.. usually with acrylic templates. I have the original pattern and templates for your quilt among others she taught. She taught a jeans jacket class that used old jeans with knit cuffs and neckline.

  37. The best spin I could put on this is the quiltmaker died, and those taking care of her estate were overwhelmed and just gathered everything up and donated it without looking through it. I have to make a will that my stash, machines, et al. will be donated to certain charitable organizations, or my quilting friends. Before my husband died, I warned him that if I went first, and he put my lovely stash in a landfill, I would haunt him forever. :-D

  38. I was thinking the exact same thing Valerie just said. The maker passed away (or the recipient passed away) and their family either just didn’t know the value of this quilt or were too overwhelmed to deal with what was left behind. I know there are people who probably would dump something like this if they didn’t happen to be their style but I prefer the former scenario. Someone once did love it and left this life unexpectedly. I think they would give you their blessing to use it for your postage fund.

  39. Thank you for buying the quilt. It may of came from someone estate. Sometimes relatives
    Don’t care about quilts and just want to past them on and get a house cleaned out. I
    Found a quilt also at Goodwill ..it had embroidery blocks ..the blue stitching lines were still.
    Present so it had not been washed either . I brought it , washed it and donated to my guild
    For our projects …it was a twin size.

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