Recently, however, I took a look at vintage quilts on eBay, specifically those labeled "cutter". There are TONS of them, and they generally sell for under $40. Vintage quilts in good condition (not labeled "cutter") were selling for hundreds of dollars. Clearly there is a distinction between them, and sellers realize they will get more money for a usable, intact quilt, so my fears were put to rest.
I put bids on a few of the cutter quilts, and I ended up winning three of them. The first one was mine for just $10! I could hardly wait to get my hands on it, to see the actual condition. Here it is:
It's a full-sized scrappy quilt, with a large and interesting variety of fabrics, which I love! One edge is completely frayed and shredded, and there are MANY holes and missing pieces of fabrics, especially in the middle. The first thing I noticed as I took it out of the box was that it smelled of cigarette smoke, so I had to wash it. The picture above was taken as it was drying on my back porch--(it would have gone to pieces in the dryer).
Here you can see one of the intact areas of the quilt:
This quilt was entirely pieced together by hand! The quilting was done by hand too. I think the big, uneven quilting stitches are charming, and this quilt will be perfect for re-using.
The picture below shows one of the many damaged areas. Some of the fabrics have completely disintegrated:
It probably won't surprise you to know that the first thing I've made with my cutter quilt is some hearts:
I want to salvage as much of the quilt as possible, so I cut the small blue checked heart (below) from a scrap.
The fabrics are beautifully faded and soft.
On this heart (below) I used a piece of the backing (from an area where the front had a big hole) as the base of a small collage of fabric and buttons.