montgomery rag

by Grace Bonney

Growing up, I really hated quilts. They smelled funny, were torn and reminded me of my Grandma’s basement. None of which were helping me cultivate what I thought was (and now realize was the opposite of) the coolest high-school room ever. But now as my thirtieth birthday grows closer and closer,* I find myself going back to all the things I loathed (like Blue Willow) and wanting to fill my home with them.

The beautiful quilts above and below are vintage designs being sold at a great company called Montgomery Rag. Founded by Kellen Tucker, Montgomery Rag restores quilts and refinishes antiques with a very specific aesthetic. Kellen likes to focus on things that are “primitive, mid-century modern or industrial.” Kellen recently decided to open up a shop in Athens, GA, (where all things cool seem to be based right now. Go, Georgia!) to sell her collections. I’m partial to the quilts and the patterned mirrors and boxes on the site, but you can check out (and shop) Kellen’s beautiful curated collection right here. I love a shop that can appreciate the beauty of worn-in and “loved” objects. xo, grace

*Seriously? How did this birthday sneak up so fast? I was only 23 when I started this blog. I feel majorly old.

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  • I used to complain all the time that my parents’ house was full of crusty old things that belonged to dead people and furniture that you couldn’t sit on. But they visited a few weeks ago to help us with a few projects around our house and to go antiquing. My dad said, “I never thought I’d see the day when you’d be working on an old house and buying antiques.” Seriously, when did that happen?

    And my mom has cabinets full of Blue Willow! It’s always so homey and special when she pulls it all out for a family meal. Love it.

  • These are so pretty. I’m with you on the feeling old thing- I have a passion for tea towels and wooden spoons that my 15-year-old former self would’ve rather died than admit. I can’t believe I just said that out loud- a passion for tea towels and wooden spoons?! Move over, old ladies!

  • Something must be in the air. Growing up my mother’s china was Royal Daulton and it came out for every holiday. When she passed away, it came down to me and now I have to say I love it. Funny how that happens.

    And Athens, that town is so special and so very close to my heart. Went to college there and stayed for 3 years after I was finished. One of the best places that nurtures creative people.

    P.S. Happy Birthday ;)

  • Yesterday was my 28th birthday. I know exactly what you mean about it sneaking up. It’s just a number though! It just means you are a year more fabulous.

  • Grace – I think you are going to love being in your thirties – I do! If my friends and I are a good test case one’s 30’s have less drama and more real happiness than one’s 20’s. You have so many options available to you due to your successes and self knowledge. And yes, admitting to a love of the old and dusty is one of the perks of growing up!

  • 30?! You are a mere baby! My 30s were great, the one decade in life (so far) I’d go back and do again.

    Love the quilts. I have two quilts in my attic, waiting to be finished. A grandmother’s garden which my grandmother didn’t quite finish, and a sunbonnet sue made by her grandmother which needs a good cleaning & some restoration. This post was a good reminder to get cracking!

    Happy birthday, and enjoy a glorious decade.

  • I just have to mention that as a little kid I was OBSESSED with Blue Willow, and I have always loved old quilts! At around 12 I adopted a much-loved hand-me down quilt with a pattern similar to the second-to-last picture– its one of my favorite things! Basically I have eternally been (insert age)-going-on-elderly!

  • When I read your New Years intentions I was reminded of lists I made when I turned 30. Now it makes sense! I like to think about 20s vs 30s as the difference between dating and marriage. There are great things about both, but you are more committed, purposeful and working from a foundation now. Have a fabulous birthday! You make 30 look good.

  • Those quilts are beautiful! I too, feel differently about quilts than I did in high school;) Thankfully my husband’s grandmother (from Georgia:) was a huge quilter so we have a bunch now. So nice to know there is a place that will restore them with love when need be!:)

  • growing up in the South i’ve had quilts my whole life & have one my great grandmother made 65 years ago. ALSO, hope this is ok, when i was staying in India 3 years ago, i met mr. swami & his wife who run a school called Purkal. part of the program is the women in the village make quilts to earn a living. i have one i love & have ordered them as gifts. costs are reasonable, go to a good (and legit) cause & come shipped in a crazy cool cotton bag with hindi writing & wax seals. you can order them here if interested. http://www.purkalstreeshakti.org/

  • I too felt the same way about quilts (and afghans for that matter) and love both now. As a teenager, I saw quilts/afghans as not being able to afford the newest fashion of the minute. Now I see quilts and afghans as a luxury – someone took the time to handcraft an item for mine or someone else’s home. My grandmother, aunt, and mother all nod their heads knowingly. Thank goodness they refrain from “I told you so.”

  • i feel the same way about things like this; I’m from Appalachia, and grew up surrounded by handmade crafts and items like quilts and TOTALLY took it for granted. If I could do one thing differently, it would be begging my great-grandmother to teach me to quilt before she died.

  • Hi! Love your page! I’m wanting to make the first quilt shown (Its the circle pattern) but I don’t know the name of it. DO you know the name or where I can find the pattern. THANK YOU SOO MUCH!!

  • Love this post! I inherited a quilt my great-grandmother made and fell in love. I used it daily, though I probably shouldn’t have. I finally learned to quilt and have fallen in love with that, too. It’s sort of addictive!

    I love all the comments about the Blue Willow. My sister and I split my “Bubba’s” collection and they make any meal feel like a special occasion.

  • Re: Melissa Brooks’ comment about the project in India – I live in Dehradun, the town where StreeShakti is based and I have two of their quilts. The project is wonderful and the quilts are incredibly beautiful. And Grace, it just keeps getting better. Nothing wrong with feeling old! Old is wonderful. Trust me.

  • You wrote, “I feel majorly old.”
    You lament at approching 30.
    To which I write, “You’re in the prime of your youth, I promise! So, enjoy every day!”
    One day you’ll awake and it’ll be your 60th birthday, like I did this morning. Talk about feeling “majorly old!”
    Love the quilts and your blog!

  • wow to JO CHOPRA small world. i studied yoga in rajpur with swati & rajiv chanchani. i love it there.
    yes, the quilts are really beautiful and very well made. quilts are timeless. whether they’re from a village in India, or hand made by your great grandmother (like mine, Ora) – they’ll always be a great piece to have in the home. AND they work with any style – from danish modern, to shabby chic.

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