The Table Quilt


I got a lot of questions about this quilt after I posted photos of it on my dining room table during the party and also when I used it to cover my display table at Heritage Days. This quilt was given to me by one of our friends here at Chickens in the Road, a grande dame known in the comments section as MMHoney. (You can meet her in this post.)

The quilt was made by her mother in 1941, when MMHoney graduated from Walton High School. Embroidered on the quilt are the names of her classmates and their towns. (Back then, there were many tiny towns flourishing in this county….like Stringtown. Those tiny towns aren’t much today, but the school in Walton still pulls from the surrounding rural areas.) The colors in the quilt are green and white because those are the Walton school colors. (Go, Tigers!)

As an aside, the small high schools were eventually closed in favor of one county high school, where my kids attend, but the k-8 school in Walton took on the school colors and mascot. I’ve posted lots of pictures of Morgan in her Walton Tigers sports uniforms. My father also graduated from Walton High School. I kinda wish they still had the small-town high schools here, though they do have a wonderful new high school with great facilities, so there’s the good and the bad. (The old Walton High School building has been many things over the years. Currently, it’s being used as a church.)

The quilt is made in a Friendship block pattern.

Most of the cotton prints in the quilt came from MMHoney’s dresses.

It’s seen a lot of hard use in its day and some of the corners and edges are quite tattered.

When she gave me the quilt, MMHoney suggested that maybe I would like to cut it up to use for various craft projects.

I wasn’t quite sure what I was going to do with the quilt, but cutting it up wasn’t on the list. When I took it to Heritage Days and used it on my display table, a number of people passing by the table recognized names on the quilt, and that settled it. This is a quilt that needs to be seen. I covered the table at the party with it and again people recognized names on it.

It’s on my dining room table right now. I probably won’t keep it there all the time, but it makes a nice special occasion tablecloth–especially when people are here to see it. I believe special things are meant to be used and enjoyed.

The Walton High School graduating class of 1941, at their 50th reunion in 1991:

(Front row, left to right: Warren Harper, Dewayne Canterbury, Lakin Ryan, Marie Starcher, Dorothy Looney, Nellie Kee, June Harper, Lorraine Ferrell, Jack Bransford. Back row, left to right: Jason Conley, Dotson Raines, Donald Lowe, Oral Henderson, Bruce Westfall, Wayne Robinson, Helen Strickland, Glendine Hunt, Addie Knopp, Thural Henderson.)

The class of 1941, in their senior yearbook:

(1. June Harper, 2. Dewayne Canterbury, 3. Thural Henderson, 4. Helen Strickland, 5. Harry Strickland, 6. Oral Henderson, 7. Wayne Robinson, 8. Nellie Kee, 9. Robert Taylor, 10. Warren Harper, 11. Joe Bailey, 12. Dotson Raines, 13. Loretta Harris, 14. Edward Knopp, 15. Goldie Romine, 16. Lakin Ryan, 17. Ralph Williams, 18. Addie Knopp, 19. Josephine Hill, 20. Dorothy Looney, 21. Jason Conley, 22. Lorraine Ferrell, 23. Rita Fields, 24. Marie Starcher, 25. June Taylor, 26. Clay Westfall, 27. Bruce Westfall, 28. Donald Lowe, 29. Glendine Hunt, 30. Marie Jones, 31. Jack Bransford, 32. John Taylor, 33. Hughie Williams.)

Tips for Cleaning Vintage Quilts

Several people asked about cleaning issues when using an old quilt on a table. Vintage fabrics require personal attention. Don’t use your washer and dryer. Soak old and fragile fabrics in cool water with a mild soap–as long as necessary, all day or even overnight. For a quilt, you can use a large tub. Swish the material around in the water to release spills, don’t rub. Rinse several times, gently, in more cool water, then squeeze the water out (don’t wring) and lay the material out to dry–in the sun and fresh air, if possible. For stains, you can spot-treat before the soak. Dab some white vinegar on the stain and see if that helps. If you want to use a product, try dabbing on a paste of something like OxiClean or an enzyme cleaner like Biz–these are safe for cottons, but be careful about embroidery. Test a tiny spot first to see if the colors run.

And remember that stains and tatters are a vintage fabric’s laugh lines, so relax.


  1. Mermonster says:

    Such an awesome quilt. I love all of the history. I am so glad you are not cutting it up. :woof:

  2. Judy says:

    That is a beautiful treasure. Thanks for the cleaning tip…I have a quilt that my grandmother had made and I had no idea how to clean it. Thanks!

  3. marymac says:

    It would be a shame to cut up such a quilt. I just shared it with a friend who may know some of the people on the quilt. What lovely memories. It could actually be quite valuable too

  4. hershiesgirl says:


    I like that. 🙂 I have two vintage quilts – one hand made by my grandmother around 1920, one made of quilt squares hand-sewn by my other grandmother, that my mother hand-quilted for me
    in the 70’s. I can’t wait until I have a place to display or use them!
    So glad that now I know how to care for the and mostly, how to fully enjoy them!

  5. Connie of Ohio says:

    I wish I had at least one of the quilts my Grandma Lambert made. I enjoyed this post. The names Westfall and Raines are in my WV genealogy.

  6. Charlene says:

    What an absolute treasure! So very generous of MMHoney and obviously, she gave it to the right person. I just inherited a quilt. Your cleaning info is appreciated. I know how to revive old doilies which I also love. Now, can you tell me how to clean old crocheted baby clothes? I’m thinking about displaying them in a shadow box.

  7. MMHONEY says:

    Suzanne. You did a wonderful job. The pictures are as good as what you had to work with. You may want to Note that the class had four sets of brothers and brother & sister. The Hendersons, the Knopp, the Strickland and the Williams.
    We played football in a cow pasture. I better not give to many details. ha ha I appreciaate the effort you put into your blog.

  8. Barbee says:

    What a lovely post, and a lovely use for the quilt.

  9. Tobey says:

    I would like to add, I soak and then spin my grandmother’s crocheted table cloths in the washer. No agitation! I do reach in and swish for a few minutes about every hour. I think it is gentler on them than trying to wring or press out the excess water by hand. They are over 50 years old and still look wonderful.

    You might try that with the quilt.

    I did use the Biz/Oxyclean combination to get rid of some set in old stains, and was quite pleased with the results. The stains remained after soaking (hmmm…could have been the old jar of Oxyclean) but did come out with rubbing a paste of Oxyclean into the stain and letting it sit for a bit before soaking then washing.

  10. QuietStorm says:

    What a wonderful treasure to have…

  11. Ramona says:

    What a great gift she gave you and I’m glad you didn’t cut it up.

    Thanks for the tip on cleaning vintage quilts. I was wondering how to do that.

  12. Donna Mc says:

    Quilts are treasures! Don’t ever cut it up. Use it, love it, enjoy it, and treasure it.

    AND on those cold winter days…go for it. Learn to make your own!!

    Quilting is my passion. It’s my personal therapy, feeds my creative juices, and keeps me sane….and its a lot cheaper than a shrink!

  13. Kacey says:

    What a treasure you have there! It look fabulous on your table! So many memories wrapped up in that quilt.

  14. jodee says:

    Hello Suzanne,
    What a wonderful quilt!
    I have several antique quilts and remember reading somewhere that you can have those areas that are coming apart restored–it would keep the damage from spreading.
    You certainly have a treasure there.
    I love the look of the quilt on the table, and dug through the ones I have and found a smaller one that fits on our farm house table–perfect for this time of the year.
    Thank you for sharing the sory of the quilt.

  15. debbie says:

    That is amazing! What a wonderful idea and such a precious treasure! Thanks for sharing.

  16. Karen says:

    Beautiful quilt and wonderful that you are keeping it intact for people’s memory’s!

  17. One Sunny Acre says:

    Man, I wish I could get the hang of quilting. It has proven too tedious for me, although I am proficient in many other crafts. I just love old quilts and what a wonderful heirloom to pass down.

    I have 3 very old quilts that were made by my great-great-grandma. She made so many that all of the children got several, which have in turn been passed down to the grandkids, their kids, and now my generation. I got mine when I married. They are so special to me! I rarely take them out though for fear of ruining them and they are fragile. Thanks for the cleaning tips!

  18. Blessings says:

    Beautiful quilt! I think I shall decorate our table for Thanksgiving with my quilt from my Grandmother…The “Grands” would surely love seeing a quilt on the table…

  19. Cousin Sheryl says:

    If you are storing old quilts/linens for long periods of time, you should refold them every couple of months to prevent “crease lines.” Or if you have the storage room, they can be rolled which prevents the creases.

  20. Emma Dorsey says:

    What a wonderful table of memories you have there! Thanks for sharing such a special treat!

  21. Janice says:

    What a lucky quilt to be given to someone who will honor its history.

  22. JOJO says:

    I like the idea of a table quilt so much, I put one on our dining room table–and I love the way it looks, it makes the whole roon look so warm and cozy, what a nice way to enjoy our old quilts.
    Thank you.

  23. Christina Donahue says:

    Wow… I am so glad to find this. I have an old quilt from the 1930’s that was given to me, and it is not so much worn as it is, well, STINKY! It has an unpleasant musty smell, and I have been really wanting to clean it without it falling apart. It IS rather worn, but I think it will be OK if I use your suggestions. Thanks for posting these.

    I love love love your site! I joined the forum a year ago (as Marionette), and read it all the time, but haven’t posted in a year. Thank you for being such a great source of real information that really works for those of us who like to be self-sufficient!

    You ROCK Suzanne! 🙂

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