Monday, January 13, 2020

Toile and Fun Story of "Stinky Dump Quilt"

Last fall I purchased this at the Aurora Quilt show fundraiser. It was in a bag with a few other repros which I got for a few cents.  I was told it was reproduced by Sharon Yenter.

Wendy Reed has it in a few colorways. 

Such a delicate panel/toile!!

Marsha McCloskey published this in her book, Blended Quilts 2. 

Click to zoom in and read about it.

You can see an antique piece online at the Winterthur museum- HERE. So gorgeous!!

My friend, Paula, from Maine shared this story with me about her "stinky dump" quilt with the ORIGINAL panel!!
 With her permission I share it here:

So, here’s the story behind the antique quilt…My cousin, Nicky, and I were sitting in our car at the old Chebeague Dump watching stuff that was being dumped by the new home owners of an old homestead on the island.  That was a big deal…whenever some old house that had been in the same family for generations passed out of the family and into new owners, it was usual for a lot of stuff to be taken to the dump.  Usually lots of antiques.  In those days the dump was not a transfer station, but an old fashioned dump.  It was a good day at the dump, or “Macy’s as the islanders call it.  Plastic trash bags were opened by the other ladies waiting to check out what was just dumped.

So, we’re sitting there, as are a ton of other women in cars and see a new load of stuff get placed on the dump heap.  I saw something that looked like a striped mattress pad and thought it looked more like an old quilt and we got out of the car to investigate.  When I flipped the quilt over I saw the toile print and just had a feeling about it and its age so we grabbed it and took it home.  Originally we thought it might make good pillows since it had a sizable hole in the center, almost as if the quit had been placed between a mattress and an old fashioned metal bed spring or a mouse had used the batting for nesting material..  But, I just had a feeling about it.  It smelled as if it was also used as a baby mattress pad…had a really bad stink.  We spread it out on top of the hammock and there it stayed for the weekend and was put out for a few more weekends when we were at the cottage so it would air out. 

Long story short, I did some research on the print and then on the age of the thread and the prints on the backing.  The quilt is two sided with the front being whole cloth made up with the panels of the print and the back  sewn stripes of two different prints, A floral and a stripe.  A few years later I was at a workshop about dating and appraisal of quilts where we were asked to bring some old quilts to discuss during the class.  I hesitated to bring “old stinky” with me, but in the end did.  Before this class we brought the quilt to The Museum of Textile History in Andover, Mass, where the curator told us that it was most probably a Victorian knock off of an old print and was pretty dismissive of my research on the date of 1820. She told us that her area of expertise was much later than the early prints, 1860 to the present.   So fast forward back to the appraisal class….I finally pulled old stinky out for the class’ discussion and the appraiser running the class got really excited and ran to get the teacher from the other appraisal class who specialized in very early fabrics.  What I’d felt all along and researched proved to be correct and the print was from 1820, copper roller printed  in England.  I felt vindicated when that appraiser confirmed my date.

I’ve since found pictures of an entire bedroom done in the print in the same colorway and read that it was also done in black and white, brown and white as well as the blue and white. 

And when Paula  finds the quilt from a recent move, she will snap a photo and I'll share it with you!!

I'm not sure what I'll do with my toile, but probably something similar that Marsha did with hers in the book. 

Let's all have an amazing week!


  1. when i lived in CT, we called the dump "hollyhock island" and there was always somebody heading that way to check it out...lovely toiles!

  2. I had the Yenter repro in pink. Had planned to do a medallion with it but ended up giving it away.

  3. What a wonderful treasure! Fun story!

  4. Gorgeous! I was lucky to find a used copy of the first Blended Quilts book and have been drooling over the luscious toiles ever since. Seems they're as scarce as hen's teeth anymore, especially yardage. Loved the story of the dump quilt.

  5. That is a lovely panel!
    I had never seen that book of Marsha's. Didn't know there was a book I or book II.
    Oh, that story of the dump quilt is wonderful! Thank you for sharing it with us. :)

  6. Fun story!! One of the many reasons we love to quilt!

  7. Your Panel is gorgeous and I’m sure your quilt will be too !

  8. I love toile, as you may recall. And what a great story!Tho the picture of the bedroom done entirely in her quilt's toile cannot date from 1820 [photography really didn't happen till a decade or so later] and a room done in 1820 prob wouldn't have survived til modern times in its original condition. I wonder if she ever cleaned the old treasure? And if it was ever repaired or photographed?

  9. Oh what a great story! Our dump here in Georgetown is now a transfer station but we an area we call the "Georgetown Mall" with a roof overhead where people place their gently used unwanted items. The good stuff doesn't last long! Have fun with your panel!

  10. What a lovely soft looking panel...
    and a great story behind it...hugs, Julierose

  11. Oh, what a wonderful dump story! I also have one of those panels--in pink--and I still haven't done anything with it :)

  12. Very interesting story. I remember old style dumps and people hunting for things among the rubble but more from stories than anything else.

  13. What a great story! I can't imagine how many "treasures" in the way of old quilts are decomposed in landfills.

  14. what a great dump story. I could see me and jill and susan doing this.
    I have a piece of that somewhere in the SR. I had the light red colorway

  15. Love the story! I have some toile and I know it is reproduction but I love it just the same. Thanks for sharing. This gives me some ideas of what I can do with it when I get around to it. I have some with red and some with black.

  16. Great story and I look forward to the next post when your piece has been made into something. As a kid out in the country we would go to the dump at night to "see the bears"......

  17. Hi Lori, how do we purchase the books for your fundraiser on February 1st? I want to be all set but don'tknow how it works. Thank you. Krissy B.

    1. Hi Krissy, I'll post them right here on my blog- probably shoot for 5AM pacific time.

  18. Wow! A wonderful panel, a link, and two great stories about it! I’ve seen that toile before but never in person. The link to Winterthur had excellent detail photos. Can’t wait to see the quilt you make and the “stinky dump quilt”. (Great post title too—I gave it a double take.) Ha!

  19. How about just a toile challenge of some kind? Not just with that particular panel.

  20. What a treasure! We used to go to the dump, before they wouldn't let people go check things out anymore, and find some really nice things! It is a pity that people just do not appreciate old things anymore. I feel so neglected! I'm old too. LOL, 69 in just over a week!


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