Old quilt from a new friend in its new home on Martha’s Vineyard


In mid-December I got an email from a fan in Florida.  The subject line was, “Could you pass a nautical quilt along to someone who would enjoy it?”


Dear Cynthia [she wrote]:

I have enjoyed all your Victoria Trumbull books, and also Martha’s Vineyard (what beauty!)

I saved the quilt [she attached a photo] with lighthouses and  sailboats from a thrift shop here in Florida.  I mended a few seams, and then found out it is way too hot for our climate.  Thinking about your island, it occurred to me that this quilt would be much more at home there!

It measures 70″ long and 84″ wide — good for a single or double bed.  Looks like a quilt some boy would love.  If I send it to you, would you find a home for it? Or put it in a church sale or thrift shop so someone who would like it would find it?

In looking up your mailing address, I discovered that you’ve written a new book (Bloodroot) so I have just ordered from Amazon.  Looking forward to it for holiday reading — my gift to myself!

Yours truly,

Jamie Johnson

She could not have found a more receptive home for the quilt.  I wrote back:

Dear Jamie:

Just last week I sent an email to my daughter-in-law that included this passage:


Quilt from Paducah, Kentucky

“When I was little, we always slept under hand-made patchwork quilts and walked on rag rugs my great aunt Alvida made, and we used and abused them until they plain wore out.  Some of the ragged quilts are still  around the place.  Some of her rugs we’re still using.  A couple of years ago I went to the National Quilt Museum in Paducah,  Kentucky, where they had an exhibit of new, very modern quilts that used fabric squares from ancient worn quilts, so I sent a couple of Aunt Alla’s quilts to the museum for their annual fund-raising auction.  Some of the ancient quilt fabric squares are now quite valuable.

“When my mother and I opened the B&B  in 1988 to cover the mortgage she took out to renovate the kitchen/cookroom/woodshed, we decided we would like to acquire hand-made quilts and rag rugs to continue the feeling of Aunt’s quilts and rugs. . . “



Quilt in the East Chamber from Vermont



So the answer is a resounding YES, I would love to have the nautical patchwork quilt.  It looks lovely in the pictures.  I would like to pay you for it, or at least pay postage. It will be coming to a home where it will be  welcome.


Hallelujah!, [she wrote]  I’ll mail it out in the next day or two.

Glad it will be of use in someway for somebody.

No need to reimburse shipping … you’ve enriched my life through your books,and you’re doing me a favor by taking the quilt.


Dear Jamie:

The quilt arrived before Christmas — what a nice Christmas present! It is now on its bed in the Porch Chamber, the little attic room over the kitchen. I would love to know its history — who made it and when and for whom. But I guess that’s hidden in the migration of people moving from one place to another where a warm quilt is no longer a necessity.

Thank you ever so much. It means a lot to us and to this old house.







About Cynthia Riggs

CYNTHIA RIGGS, author of eleven books in the Martha’s Vineyard mystery series, has a geology degree from Antioch College, an MFA from Vermont College, and a Coast Guard Masters License (100-ton vessels). She recently married Dr. Howard Attebery, who came back into her life after 62 years.
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  1. Sandy Baxter says:

    That quilt looks so appreciate for you and your home. What a wonderful save and gift!💕 . We are looking forward to our cruise with Phyllis in May. Sure hope she is up to it. She is one tough cookie! Hope all is well with you and Howie. Love Sandy Baxter

    Sent from my iPad


  2. Ruth Nixon says:

    Loved this blog. I will be 82 in January and when I was born my godmother made me a crazy quilt out of the silk ties of the men in my family and I still have it. Looking forward to April and The Trumpet of Death

  3. Sheila Lees says:

    Oh Cynthia, a lovely story. Your descriptions of the handmade quilts and rag rugs makes me miss the Cleaveland House, and you and Howie, even more than I already do!

    John and I send you both the absolutely warmest and best wishes for everything wonderful in 2017.

    Fondly, Sheila


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