Vintage Dresden Plate Quilt

My grandmother was a creative sort. She created elaborate ‘settings’ from driftwood and branches and berries and dried flowers and moss. She crocheted and sewed and decorated cakes and had several flower beds and rock gardens. She did elaborate embroidery, and taught me basic stitches to work on…for pillowcases and such. I never saw her quilt but she gave me a quilt that she and her sister had worked on together when they were younger.

Like an idiot, as a young married in her twenties, knowing no better…I USED the quilt! I used it as my bedspread and I washed it and used it again and washed it again, over and over,  and it held up for a good long while. She never told me not to do so. I had no clue that after a few years it would show wear and tear. When it did I just put it away for display but still washed it now and again.

Years later it was my inspiration to start to learn to quilt. I still have it now and washed it a year or so ago, probably for the last time. I recently did a post on a Grandmother’s Flower Garden quilt that I have and while I was taking pictures of it I decided to also take some pictures of my grandmother’s Dresden Plate quilt before I put it away for good.

Perhaps I was not an idiot to use it, though. It was made back in the 20’s or 30’s. In perfect condition, never used, it could have still ended up in a thrift store after my demise ( like the Grandmother’s Flower Garden that I purchased ) with no one knowing its history or loving it or using it.  She wanted me to use it. I did, I still have it, and while it is tattered and torn, it is still a beauty and a testament to quilting history from the Depression era.

( My cat just jumps on the bed…the quilts’ demise over the years is not due to her…she just likes to be photographed! :)

Dresden with Cat on Bed Collage

Dresden Closeups Collage

Dresden Collage 2 shows back quilting

So many stitches in this old quilt…lovely handwork.

While my stitches are not this tiny or close, for Slow Sunday Stitching, I will continue hand-quilting the snowball quilt that I am working on at the moment.

Joining Kathys Quilts for Slow Sunday Stitching.

Also Sharing at:


You might also enjoy : Goldfinches  or  Vintage Grandmother’s Flower Garden Quilt  or Here Comes the Sun Little Darlin‘  or Simple Meals Using Fresh Ingredients



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43 Responses to Vintage Dresden Plate Quilt

  1. Margie says:

    Bob’s Aunt Dolly gave us a handmade wedding ring quilt for our wedding gift. We used it too. And we washed it. One of my friend’s sons was put down for a nap on it and he wet it so I washed it…like you, over and over again. It’s a rag now too. I no longer use it but I still have it.

  2. debralynnpugh says:

    I think it is better that we used ours, you and I : )

  3. My paternal grandmother made each of her grandkids a quilt. I have always preferred a quilt over a blanket, so I used the quilt … a lot. Finally, it simply wore out (does that tell you how much I used it). While I don’t regret using it (you know that old story about not saving our good china), at the same time I regret not having it … it was the only thing I had of hers after she passed (does that tell you how foolish I was when I was younger). Such is the conundrum of quilters … I make mine to be used … I get such joy at seeing my grands’ quilts on their beds instead of tucked away in a closet, but at the same time, I hope that my quilts will outlive me, that they will remind my family how much I loved them. I wish I had a solution.

  4. Karen says:

    I give my girls and grandchildren quilts and I expect them to be used and washed – some that my youngest daughter has (she has my grandchildren) have been washed so many times that a couple are looking tattered already – I think the threw up on them and wet them and whatever way too many times when they were babies! she has washed them and used them- with love!

  5. Deanna says:

    Think of all those years and the enjoyment you received using the quilt. So many put them away and never see or use them…they were made to be used. And now that you have taken up quilting, you can always make a new one!!

  6. A quilt made from your grandmother’s hands is a blessing. You have used it, touched it and loved it many times which can be more important than it sitting on a closet shelf. The hand quilted scrappy quilts that are scrunchy are my favorite. You have a family treasure.

  7. This is a gorgeous quilt! It blessed your life for many years. So wonderful that you enjoyed it and loved it and thought of her over all these years. I’m sure she would be thrilled :)

  8. Grandma Kc says:

    Your grandmother’s quilt is just beautiful and only made prettier by Kanga! I have a beautiful quilt that my Mom made for me that I have used on my bed as well as for a backdrop to pictures — and I think she was a bit offended that I actually USED it! My bad!

  9. Oh Debra, I’m torn about this. A huge part of me feels that a quilt NEEDS to be used and loved, just as you have done. But I totally know what you mean about it being able to be used longer if you hadn’t done so.

    For what it’s worth, it still looks beautiful.

  10. Kelly says:

    I think quilts take in our “used” love and just get more beautiful! You appreciating it still sends love directly to your Grandmother!

  11. Your Dresden quilt is beautiful. I’m sure your grandmother would have wanted you to use it. Each time you used that quilt, each time you slept under it you were surrounded my your grandmother’s love. I hope that any of the quilts I’ve made and given away are used and loved until they fall apart.

  12. AnnieO says:

    That yellow sashing is so happy and bright with the Dresdens. Glad it was used and loved to bits. I have rags left of my Grandmother’s 1930’s feedsack quilt that she gave my mom and dad–already well used–and we took it to the beach frequently! Much later I cut a piece of the quilt that was still good and made a doll quilt for a niece, and still later I cut another block and applied it to a tote bag I made and gave to my grandmother. She loved it!

  13. Carol Cook says:

    Absolutely gorgeous!

    There are two schools of thought
    *use it, it was made to be used
    *save it to protect it

    I tend to go with the use it school of thought. My mother had so many lovely things she stored away and never got to appreciate.

    I made a Grandmother’s Flower Garden quilt for our full sized bed about 30 years ago. We had it on our be for years and then it was stored in a cupboard. My daughter took it to her first home after college and used it for tucking in on her couch. It has seen better days, but is still being loved today.

    I will admit that my stitches are not so tiny and neat – I don’t have the patience for slow quilting.

  14. Ivani says:

    Quilts are made to be used, the love your grandmother put in each and every stitch is alive and touching your heart. This is a gorgeous quilt. You are a luck granddaughter. Hugs

  15. Amy says:

    Beautiful! I know you mush cherish it.

  16. Angela says:

    I think you are right to use the quilt- it’s meant to be used and loved- other wise it would be all that handwork to just sit in a cupboard! It’s truly lovely thanks for sharing.

  17. What a beautiful quilt with such a wonderful family connection. I can only imagine how you feel looking at those stitches closely and knowing your grandmother threaded and stitched each one. What a wonderful gift. :-)

  18. My grandmother made many quilts. They used them as they were beautiful but meant to warm. They washed them like they did their clothes on the farm in Alabama. They boiled them in kettles on a fire in the yard! Glad you used yours!
    LeeAnna Paylor

  19. Regena Fickes says:

    I think it is lovely that you used and enjoyed this quilt. I have quilts my grandmother made and I have used them all in the past. I think that while it is important to love and cherish the things passed to us, nothing implies that love more than using it for your family.
    My grandmother crocheted a blue, pink and white baby afghan for my then unborn 1st child. He was wrapped in it often, so were his baby sister and 2 younger brothers. 6 of my 7 grandchildren have loved this afghan. Kate calls it “wubby” and it is only a few strands of yarn, now. This would have pleased “Ma” tremendously.
    Things are made for use, not the other way around.
    What a lovely testimony to the your love of your Grandmother that you used this and loved this.

    • debralynnpugh says:

      Regena you are so right and as to crochet, I still have an afghan from my grandmother as well. I think they hold up better …I think I washed it once a week all through my boys growing up and staying warm with it while watching TV in the winter and it’s still holding up! I have it stashed here for cold weather emergencies / people sleeping over…it would probably hold up another 100 years :)

  20. Laurie says:

    Oh, my goodness….this post speaks to my heart. My beloved grandmother made so many quilts…I have stacks of them inside an old entertainment center (the size works quite well for storing stacks of quilts!)

    I don’t really use them…but I look at them often. My son is expecting his first son this summer and I’m trying to decide which quilt will be his….I want to mark it with my grandmother’s name….and his name when he is born.

    Both my son and daughter have a quilt that was made by my grandmother especially for them.. but neither have taken them to their adult home. They don’t fit the bed…or are not the right color for their decor. I don’t think they “get” quilts yet. Maybe that comes with maturity….or maybe it is a generation that just won’t get it. I don’t know.

  21. Eileen says:

    What a beautiful quilt, I love the pattern and the pretty colors. I think your grandmother would be happy to know her quilt was used for warmth and comfort.. It would be a shame just to have it stored away somewhere. Great post, enjoy your week ahead!

  22. Deborah says:

    This is beautiful — I agree with the others, use it! So many beautiful things are stored away where no one enjoys them.

  23. Nana Diana says:

    That is a gorgeous, gorgeous piece of work. You are so blessed to have that-what a wonderful remembrance. xo Diana

  24. Carla says:

    I don’t think you did anything wrong. If quilts are not used and loved no one will have any interest in them. I was at a car dealership for a repair once and I have an old quilt the dog sits on and one of the servicemen commented on it. Saying he remembered his grandmother quilting. I knew he must have slept under her quilts. I smiled as I drove away,he learned to love quilts and for him they brought back memories of his grandmother. I am sure you thought about your grandmother when you slept under your dresden.

  25. It is one of my favorite designs and a real treasure. I think you were smart to use it. I did the same thing with a quilt my grandmother made for me. I used it and enjoyed it….and I’m glad I did. I would love to learn to quilt….some day! Sweet hugs!

  26. Podso says:

    I think they are meant to be used. I like the feel of an old quilt. I have one similar to yours that is old, a friend gave it to me when she was done with it.

  27. I would have used it too! What an amazing amount of work that goes into a quilt!

  28. Deb says:

    That is beautiful! I think your grandmother would have been happy you used the quilt. I know I make mine to be used, loved and abused. I think it makes the quilt happy =)

  29. Rainey says:

    The quilt is amazing and your cat is SO beautiful!
    ~Rainey @ The Project Table~

  30. Hi Deb, your quilt is gorgeous!! It was meant to be used, a very special heirloom. It looks lovely in your room, sooo cozy.

  31. Your quilt is beautiful! I love that pattern. The intricate and tiny stitches on quilts of that era is amazing.
    Mary Alice

  32. Bev says:

    I’m sure she would have wanted you to use your lovely quilt! It’s a lovely heirloom. Better to be used, seen and loved rather than tucked away. Don’t you think?

  33. You know, I have always felt that beautiful things were meant to be used. Your quilt is made even more beautiful because you did wash it, and use it. It has a patina of love, and age woven into the cloth. And had it been stacked away carefully it would never have had that.


  34. Connie says:

    How beautiful and I think it is wonderful that you have used it! That shows how much it meant to you and I know she would be very happy! Thanks for sharing.
    Freemotion by the River Linky Party Tuesday

  35. Beth says:

    You did right to use your beautiful quilt. And it really is beautiful, the pattern, the colors, and the quilting itself. Those quilting patterns are very fancy! My grandmother, great aunts, and mother all quilted, and when I am feeling blue, I wrap up in one of their quilts. Loved the comment about boiling the wash in the backyard, I remember those days, too. I particularly like thirties and feed sack quilts. Those were some tough women, but they created beauty in a necessary item.

  36. char says:

    I come from a family of quilters. Quilts were made to be used. I think you honored your grandmother by using her gift.
    I have known quilters to be very hurt when their gifts are put away and never used.

  37. Nita says:

    My dresden plate has been used and washed to death, too. That’s okay, though. :)

  38. I LOVE that it has been used. It adds to it’s character!! SO glad you stopped by and shared under our heirlooms theme!! Val

  39. I’m so glad you did use and wash use and wash and your quilt, your Granny would of loved that you did also. My quilts I love to see been washed and used over and over. I’d rather my children and grandchilden wear them out than keep them just for looking at and one day end up as a dog blanket when they pass away. I bought a Grandmothers Flower garden quilt from USA on E Bay about 15 years ago and the border was not finished so I have spent years making 1 1/2 inch hexagons out of sugar sack fabrics from the 1930’s to add a reverse hexagon border, Ive just completed this and now still hand quilting the finished quilt, it was made around 1930 and I have learnt so much about the quilter and quilters who made this top up, Ive spent so many happy hrs finishing it for her or them? Cheers Glenda

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