Thursday, June 6, 2019

Small Quilt Exhibit

Last Thursday, on the spur of the moment, a friend tracked me down at the YMCA and asked if I was interested in going to the quilt exhibit in a nearby town that afternoon with another friend. The timing was good and so we went!

The Museum of Early Trades & Crafts in Madison, NJ, was originally the James Library built in 1889 by philanthropist Daniel Willis James. 

The interior boasts 20' high ceilings, 7 chandeliers, 56 stained glass windows, 3 fireplaces, and stencilled and hand-painted brick walls. 

The current exhibit Narrative Threads: New Jersey Quilts & Textiles features several quilts and artifacts pertaining to quilting. Love these madder blocks!

The displays are all behind glass making it a little difficult to get good photographs but this quilt 'spoke' to me right away. It is from the museum's collection and represents an example of a pieced quilt comprised of many small pieces of fabric that are stitched together to make a large quilt. And since this is a 'learning' museum, there are questions on the story cards e.g. "How many different types of fabric can you see?" 

A simple tied One-Patch.

This lovely quilt contains 30 pieced Pine Tree blocks. At the base of the tree trunk on the right are the initials 'JAS.'

An example of a quilt made by a child who was learning how to sew. 

Downstairs this beautiful c. 1830 medallion quilt was displayed high above a fireplace. 

A detail.

This strippy was displayed behind a sheet of clear vinyl which prevented visitors from touching.  

Lots of wonderful early fabrics . . .

. . . and a nice combination of simple 9-patches and border strips :)

Have a great week!

Copyright 2019, Barbara Schaffer


  1. Wow! Terrific quilts and I love the show setting!!

  2. Beautiful exhibit - so good that is a “learning” museum that encourages the viewer to participate and in such wonderful surroundings. Studying the quilting on the Tree of Life quilt - will refer back to that once my own blocks are together. Love the softness of that last strippy could study the fabrics for hours. Thank you for sharing your visit.

  3. Oh what fun! I love those oldies.

  4. Beautiful building, beautiful quilts, and that red rug on the floor is beautiful too! Thanks for sharing about a place I'd never get to see otherwise. ---"Love"

  5. What a nice little show. That nine patch strippy is wonderful!

  6. What a wonderful display and what a fabulous building! They don't build libraries like the used to! I have often wanted to do a coffee table book about wonderful libraries (and Grange Halls!). Of course I stink at photography so it will never happen. Thanks for sharing these wonderful images.

  7. What a cool venue for the show. I really liked seeing these vintage pieces. The one that caught your eye would be a fun one to replicate (someday. Thanks for the close-ups of fabrics!

  8. Thank you for sharing Barbara ! The quilts are amazing...especially the one made by the child !! So touching !

  9. I just love seeing these old quilts. Its been way too long since I've seen any antique quilts on display! Thanks for making the effort to take such nice photos, and share them with us.

  10. How exciting to be able to see these! Thank you so much for sharing!