Time to organize

I have piles of vintage and antique quilt tops everywhere.    The TV show Hoarders is likely to show up at any minute.   So I started the fun task of packing them.  I do have many already carefully stored as in the picture above, but I have tons more that have accumulated over the last few years that need attention.

The first thing is to take pictures.  I then print out the photos and tape the pics to the outside of the box so I can see what is in it without needing to unpack everything.

So here are the first batch of pictures (click pictures to enlarge).    The tops look like a bit of a mess because I didn’t press them , I just need a picture good enough to tell what top it is.

This is only a small fraction, I will post them all in the next few days .  And I really do want to hand quilt them all

Happy Quilting


52 thoughts on “Time to organize

  1. Joan says:

    Wow, just Wow!

  2. Deb says:

    And I thought I had a problem…. My ,I feel so much better! 🙂

  3. Suzanne hardebeck says:

    You find better tops on EBay than I do. Wonderful collection

  4. audrey says:

    What a great organizational system! Love the idea of having pictures to quickly see what’s there. I really do hope you can hand quilt them all, but wowsers, you already hand quilt at warp speed. You may have to hire an apprentice.:)

  5. Sara says:

    It’s a great sickness, no cure!

  6. Anne Kasten says:

    what a treasure trove!

  7. Jill Stiger (from the Detroit guild) says:

    At least you have tops! I just have fabric

  8. All i can do is repeat what everyone else says. Wow! I am a finisher (but by machine). Having this many tops undone would drive me nuts. But you go girl. There are some real beauties in there.

  9. Martyne Bailey says:

    Wow, beauties in the making! Love the idea of taking pictures and taping to boxes. I am going to steal that idea. I write on the boxes but this is so much better! I can’t wait to see the rest of your tops Tim. I really like that Donkey!

    • timquilts says:

      Thank you….that donkey was a fun find…..the seller posted the pictures of it upside down ….didn’t know it was a donkey

      • Sue says:

        That’s so funny! I was drawn to that one because I have a vintage “Ararat” (the elephant) quilt in the same style, only smaller blocks, not a whole quilt, which I bought at an antique store – I was told “Grandma” died and no one wanted her quilts – so sad. The store had 10 of her quilts, all different styles and just exquisite. I was told the Ararat quilt was probably from the woman’s stash dating about 1890 to 1930 or so. I hope you quilt that one soon – really curious how you’ll do it.

      • timquilts says:

        I am glad I am going through all of these….I had forgotten about this one….might need to add it to the list of soon to be quilted

  10. Angie says:

    Your superhero power is hand quilting!

  11. katechiconi says:

    So, you really do have your life’s work sorted out, don’t you! Like your storage idea – do you put any insect stuff in there too to protect them from moths and so on?

  12. Rebecca says:

    What do you do with the quilts you have already quilted?

    I homeschool my kids and I would be putting an algebra question to them like this: if X is the number of quilts I have and Y is the average time it takes for me to quilt one quilt, how long will it take for me to finish all my quilts? Given that I am Z years old now, will I have enough time to finish all my quilts, assuming our average family lifespan? State all assumptions. Answers without working will not achieve full marks. 😀

    • timquilts says:

      😦 no math please, it takes away all the fun
      Finished quilts are used in lectures and trunk shows, and some day in my planned book. some are gifted, a few have sold….and most also get used ….i rotate them and use them……

  13. mehitabel says:

    You’re making me feel better about my growing list and piles of UFOs. Most of mine are tops-in-progress so they live in their individual project boxes. I do have a couple of tubs of tops waiting to be quilted. Sadly I think my hand-quilting days are numbered as the arthritis gets worse, but I’ll never give it up completely!

  14. adaisygarden says:

    Wow, what a fantastic collection of beauties! Maybe if you stop buying, I’ll have a better chance of my bid being accepted? One can only hope. 🙂

  15. Jane S. says:

    What a great way to store them! You can see what’s in there without having to dig around.

    There are SO many worse habits you could have than collecting quilt tops. Just think, you’re saving history, enjoying what you’re doing, and making something beautiful and useful all at the same time. That’s a great thing. 🙂

  16. Vicky Ferguson says:

    Great idea, Tim! Will you enlighten us about your favorite type of box to pack them in? I’m thinking it’s not cardboard. Thanks. Vicky F

    • timquilts says:

      whatever is on sale in the large plastic tub section of the store….like those in the picture at the top of the page

      • Vicky F says:

        Thanks. The email version of your blog did not show the tubs, and I neglected to look at the whole online version to see the additional photos up top!

      • timquilts says:

        I guess I should look at the email version myself . I didn’t realize that it is a different layout because I have never looked at it …..I imagine it looks a lot different on a mobile phone too …probably should check that out too

  17. Nancy says:

    I thought I commented but I don’t see it. Probably didn’t hit “post”. Just wanted to say I love the blue and white with the sailing ship. It is quite unique. Is it as well done as it looks?

    • timquilts says:

      It is very well done, but is not complete….I can see very faint traces of more sails and rigging that were drawn in but never appliqued. I might try to hold it up to a window to see if I can get an Idea of what the plan was

  18. Mimi says:

    Dream On !!!

  19. Matthew says:

    Wow. I know with finished quilts sometimes they say not to fold them or if you do, re-fold them differently every year or so so they don’t get permanent creases. Is that true with tops as well or can you leave them in there for years. I’ve always wondered how long you can keep things folded. Thanks, Matthew

    • timquilts says:

      Many of these are 100 or more years old and have been folded up all the time, I have refolded several times, not because they need it but to take pictures and to show them in lectures etc…..as long as they are stored in a place without extreme heat or humidity, the tops can stay folded for decades …also best not to store in cardboard boxes or wood because of acid

      • Matthew says:

        Thanks. So why do they say not to do that with finished quilts? But instead to lay them on beds, etc. or is that just an old wives tale and I’ve been needlessly refolding my finished quilts?

      • timquilts says:

        with finished quilts the fold marks can become sort of permanent…..but it is the batting not the fabric……the batting will get a sort of permanent crease in it if it is folded for a long period of time….with a top you can just press it, where you would not want to press a quilt. creases do come out of finished quilts when they are washed and steaming will also remove creases in quilts, but it is not a bad idea to periodically refold to prevent the problem…….

  20. Rose in VT says:

    Oh Tim: If it were anyone but you I’d be seriously doubting their sanity in saying they want to hand quilt all these (and the upcoming ones you’re hinting at). But if anybody CAN do it, it’s you. And that we all get to peek in on this journey via your posts helps make life grand.
    I’ve been organizing my own tops lately, and moving them into two (larger) clear bins so I can see them without opening the bin. I’ve been writing down a description on a numbered list as they’re put in, and noting if I have extra fabric, or binding already made up, etc.
    Now are we doing this to make ourselves feel organized or because we like touching all that fabric…

  21. […] are the 4 posts for all the others tops I have already packed. There are hundreds 🙂    quilt tops 1,   quilt tops 2/ , quilt tops 3 ,  quilt tops 4 […]


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