Thursday, August 17, 2023

Other Uses for Old Quilts

Today we'll explore some of the uses our folks had for old quilts!  We think of a quilt keeping us warm but sometimes a quilt was used to keep other things warm.

There were many agricultural uses for old quilts:

Old quilts were suggested to keep chicks warm in 1943:

As early as 1903, a variety of articles suggested using an old quilt instead of a blanket on horses.  In 1939, an old quilt was recommended to keep tomatoes warm and protected.


But some of the other uses of quilts surprised me like this story in 1929 about a man's store which housed a safe.  Apparently robbers tried to crack his safe so many times that he posted this sign above the safe:

Apparently, the would-be robbers always used a nearby quilt to clean up their tracks.  The store owner said the quilt was used so often to clean up and cloak the safe that it was threadbare.

In 1939, when farmers' property was being foreclosed or landlords attempted to evict tenant farmers, women often threatened to set up tents using old quilts if they couldn't get in to their homes.

An old quilt was cited as part of a divorce proceedings in 1928.  Apparently, Mr. Wagner (the husband) was so stingy that he made his wife sleep under an old quilt when there were new and nicer blankets locked away.  "He got the quilt at an auction for twenty-five cents," Mrs. Wagner complained.


And then there is Elvira Snodgrass.  She was a famous woman wrestler who rose to fame as "hillbilly wrestler" and wore a sunbonnet.  Every article about her mentioned that she used an old quilt as a robe.

Of all the articles I found, one in particular made my sewing heart sing and was published in 1929.  The headline ran:

"Use Old Quilts to Form New Patterns" 

No author was cited in the article but essentially the writer suggested studying old quilts for design inspirations.

Now that's a suggestion I can support!

Tomorrow is Flower Friday and if you have any flower photos to share, please email them to me at!

Have a safe and happy day!


  1. Elvira Snodgrass, the woman Hillbilly Wrestler, who wore a sunbonnet: that did it for me! That's all I need to get thru the day! Thanks, Michele.

  2. Your articles are always so interesting, I had another look at the one on quilts being chopped to other word for it - abominable. When you think how much time is spent making the original, it makes no sense to cut it up unless its been very badly treated. I'm sure most of the ones which we now consider ugly could be safely used as padding without being damaged. No need to destroy it, simply repurpose without harm - or offer it to someone who will treat it as an item of history. Elaine