I have been obsessed with vintage quilts for the past decade. Once I finally had a family of my own, the warmth, the history and the values that ancient fabrics represent has been very appealing. The idea of someone cutting, mending and sewing beautiful fabrics with love and art is simply too strong for me to resist. I love the history of antique quilts and quilts and have become an enthusiastic student of the characteristics and meaning of each type.
The information on most types of quilts is pretty straightforward, but I still find cutter quilts to be very subjective and mysterious. That’s because the phrase means different things to different collectors, artists, and craftsmen.
Some see a true cutter as a unique piece made from scraps of vintage fabric. These textiles are generally old and prized items such as ties, christening gowns, wedding dresses, suits, and lace or velvet patchwork. Sometimes the leftovers are more common and utilitarian like the food sack. From time to time, these pieces are also called crazy bedspreads. Dealers who have this view of cutters generally see them as not defined by their damage but by the type and shape of the fabric used.
Others see these types of quilts as nothing more than damaged pieces to cut and turn into something else entirely. This is not as bad as it sounds. If a piece is really irreparably damaged, it is advisable to want to save and preserve it. There are only a limited number of genuine feed bags or turn-of-the-century textiles available. Many quilters and collectors love old fabrics, but find torn or worn pieces undesirable.
Others see a cutter quilt as a valuable antique at a bargain price that just needs to be lovingly repaired and restored. Because some dealers will discount defective parts, many see these items as an unbeatable bargain.