To quilt heaven and back: Lancaster PA

Have you ever splurged on something without a single regret? Earlier this summer I found a collection of vintage quilt tops for sale on Instagram. They’d been used to cover tables at a country wedding. (Lucky, lucky bride!) The handful of photos were itty-bitty but I could see the quilt tops were made of amazing old fabric. It was a now-or-never moment. So I bought all five of them!

stash of vintage quilt tops

Look at these colors! Look at these patterns! How could I choose just one?

Fast forward a few weeks, and two friends invited me to go fabric shopping in Lancaster. I took two of the vintage quilt tops along.

team of working horses in Lancaster

Now this is life at a slower pace!

Our first stop was Goodville Fabric Outlet in East Earl. I took in this crazy diamond top.

vintage quilt top crazy patches with pink sashing

Lots of Barbie pink and crazy scrap diamond patches. It looks so happy!

crazy vintage quilt block detail

I hope these blocks flatten out with pressing, otherwise they’ll be a challenge to quilt. I’m definitely not starting with this one.

I fell in love with a turquoise and rose print for the quilt backing and a wild yellow print for the binding. And the prices were great–only $4.99 and $5.99 a yard.

turquoise and roses fabric quilt backing

Nothing like a happy color clash!

Our next stop was lunch at the Squire Side Cafe in New Holland. (Everyone else was up the road at the industrial-sized smorgasbord at The Shady Maple. Parking lot full of buses? Hundreds of customers? Meh!) The food was fresh, creative and delicious. I’d definitely go back.

We skipped dessert so we could stop at a local tourist trap, the Bird in Hand Bake Shop. I wasn’t enticed by the bakery stuff (we get the exact same things in our local Dutch Country Market), but I bought a new Amish handcrafted broom. Then we were off to the Log Cabin Quilt Shop. I took in a second top:


I’m guessing this wonky nine-patch top was assembled in the 60s because of that loud green. This pattern is thrifty insanity.

vintage nine patch quilt top detail

It looks better close up. How about that faux woodgrain fabric? I wish I could find more for binding the edges.

I struck out on finding the perfect backing fabric for it at the Log Cabin. But I bought several other clearance rack fabrics that I loved. For only $2.99 a yard it was easy to say “Yes, I’ll take what’s left on the bolt, please!”

blue floral stripe fabric

This pretty much matches my entire house. New curtains, perhaps?

yellow red jadeite stripe fabric

Jadeite green! Red! Of course it all came home with me.

I also found another print that will make a fun backing for a third quilt top that didn’t make the trip.

blue dot and flower fabric with vintage quilt

I intended to use this blue-dot-and-flower print on the back of the nine patch up above. But something better happened at the next shop.

Our next stop was The Quilt Shack. where I found the perfect backing fabric for the nine-patch. All it needs now is a black-and-white binding.

yellow and rose floral fabric vintge quilt backing

Yes, yes, YES to yellow! I loved the way the color and prints coordinate between the quilt sashing and new backing fabric.

I bought enough fabric to keep me busy for a loooooong time! On the way back home we stopped at The Shady Maple Farm Market (a warehouse-sized grocery store) and Good’s Store. Lots of Mennonite ladies were in line in the extensive fabric department (where we all bought even MORE fabric!) I was delighted to find ready-made Frock Coats and matching pants in the men’s department.

mennonite men's suit

Off-the-rack vintage styling in Good’s Store

Great day, great company, and I can’t wait to go back again! There are so many more quilt fabric shops we didn’t get to see. It would take days and days to visit them all. Sounds like a plan…

3 Comments on “To quilt heaven and back: Lancaster PA”

  1. luray says:

    What exactly is “Swedish knit”? Is that frock-coat fabric really a knit?! Oh, and the quilts are wonderful—you are going to have fun with them!

    • luray says:

      I just answered my own question. 🙂 It’s polyester doubleknit, much beloved by the ’70s.

    • janeray says:

      Well, there won’t be any quilting fun just yet. We’re going to have houseguests staying in the sewing room/guest room for a bit. Maybe I should start learning how to crochet first!