During our trip last month, we visited one of my favorite places to stop when we visit family in New England, Rocky Mountain Quilts in York, Maine. I discovered it about 13 years ago when I was searching for quilt shops in the area where my in-laws lived and discovered something truly unique.
Rocky Mountain Quilts specializes in selling beautiful antique quilts but also in restoration of these treasures. They keep an extensive collection of vintage textiles that are used to replace and restore antique quilts.
They also have a huge selection of beautiful antique and vintage quilts in amazing condition that are for sale. Collectors come from around the world to buy from their stock. Here is just part of the quilts they had in stock. The quilts are carefully preserved and stored by date. On the left is a stack of quilts from the late 19th century including Victorian Crazy quilts on the bottom and quilts made from shirtings on the top. On the right is a stack of quilts from the early 20th Century. And they had quilts much older than those – all in amazing condition – that sell for 10’s of 1,000’s of dollars.
Rocky Mountain Quilts does not permit photography of full quilts (you can see photos of their quilts for sale on their website) but I did get permission to take a few close up pictures to share some of the amazing vintage quilts that were there at the time. On the left is a Victorian-era log cabin quilt – most-likely foundation pieced because there was no visible quilting, made from ribbons, silks and satins. The ‘logs’ are about ¼″ – ½″ wide! The backing was a lush velvet, making it a heavy quilt. It was in gorgeous condition. You can read more about it (or buy it!) here. On the right is a full quilt from the 19th century made with Quarter size hexagons.
This was another really unique quilt, also from the Victorian era made in the crazy-quilt style using ribbons from cigars!
In addition to beautifully preserved quilts, Rocky Mountain quilts also sells quilt-tops, vintage linen remnants and feed-sacks, and quilt blocks.
A beautifully restored antique quilt is not in my budget right now, but I did fall in love with and buy some vintage quilt blocks. I LOVE this little bundle of vintage hexagons and can’t wait to piece them together. They have 1″ sides and are such a great eclectic mix of vintage prints and patterns. Whoever put them together had a great eye! Scrappy but totally cohesive.
This vintage star is paper-pieced and I’m guessing from the early 20th Century. There were a bunch of these, but I only bought one.
The star is foundation paper-pieced. Almost as wonderful as the block itself is the antique newspaper pieces used as the foundations. I was originally going to sew this star down onto solid fabric and make it into a pillow, but now I’m not sure I can take off the paper backing. We’ll see what happens to this one.
Last, I couldn’t resist this pile of four-patch, hand-pieced stars. (Is that the best name for them? I don’t know.)
Here’s a glimpse of the hand-piecing on the backs.
I’m guessing these are from the 1940’s based on the colors and fabrics, but I don’t know for sure. The fabrics are so wild and fun. Some of the fabrics are really cute and some are super ugly, but that’s what makes them look so fabulous all together.
There are 40 blocks in the bunch. I put them up randomly on my design wall just so I could step back and get an idea of how they all look together. I kind of love it!! Not sure when, or how, I’m going to sew them all together – I’ll need to draft an interior diamond and most likely hand-piece them together – but I’d love to make a fun mini from these beauties.
It always makes me wonder who made them in the first place, and hope they’re happy to see their WIP go to a loving home.
If you’re in the southern Maine area, Rocky Mountain Quilts is a really interesting and inspiring stop. Or check out their website if you’re looking to buy or just learn more about antique quilts.