Tuesday, May 15, 2012

The Minister’s Quilt --

I could have spent my whole time on Huguenot Street with just this ONE quilt. It was that amazing ---

Like many gift quilts of the era, blocks were gathered to honor a Minister who served more than one local church building.

Ministers would often travel from place to place to deliver their sermons and serve their congregations. This congregation was from a Methodist church in Ramsey, NJ. The date is approximately 1850 – but I’m waiting for Susan to get back to me on that for sure ---

The women who made this quilt as a remembrance gift for their beloved minister excelled in fine needlework.

Each block is more stunning than the next with detail so miniscule and whimsical, it was all I could do to keep my squeals of delight under my breath --- but let me tell you, behind my dazed eyed stupor with my mouth hanging open --- I was jumping up and down loudly inside my head!

I wish this quilt had been hanging so I could have photographed it flat out, instead of draped on an exam table ---and I tried to get as many block section photos as possible – and I am hoping I didn’t miss anything!

The quilt is filled with all things flora and fauna from trees to flowers to birds to foxes and even dogs and deer ---and don’t forget the fish! You can spend forever just examining each and every block.

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Just a glimpse from the side ---LOVED the solids used in this quilt! Doesn’t it make you want to get CLOSER?!

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The blocks turn in toward the center from side to side.

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Love the drooping tulips with the C A initials!

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Do you see how small that bird is between the dogs?

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Does my finger give you an idea? Caroline Murray did quilt the embroidery!

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Some more initials – L. C. S. and a very cute corner pear block with appliqued hearts. Most of the fabrics were solids, but there are a few prints --- fun ones!

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This block was REALLY interesting! Someone fussy-cut out a bunch of paisleys from the print, and appliqued them down broderie-perse style! What a fun bird on the tree in the block to the left of the paisleys.

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S. A. V? or V. A. S.? I adore heart motifs in antique quilts…how do you like them cheery cherries in the next-door block? Do you think these ladies were having a contest on who could do the BEST block?These are all so out of the ordinary!

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Here’s another section…I see M D with the D being backwards….and I love the block with the big red swirling daisy and the Christmas cactus pots in the corners!

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I kept walking around the table hoping not to miss anything. There is a tree heavy laden with pears ---next to pineapples. Do you see the woven basket on the left of the photo? 2 colors of fabric in that basket, wonderful work!

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Here’s another basket --- we laughed….it looks like it’s filled with chicken drumsticks or pork chops --- Church Pot-lucks, you know? ;c)

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A deflated balloon plant ;c) With hearts!

((Hey, it’s cheddar, it’s all good by me!))

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Some blocks had pen & ink signatures, some had embroidery – and some – like this one, had miniscule cross stitch!

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And some --- had even TINIER birds in the most wonderful delicate satin stitch embroidery. He even has something in his beak!

What makes me smile is the scale of this bird to the stem that it is perched on….SO folksy!

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Around and around the quilt I went, afraid to miss some detail! Miss Ann Fox put a bird on her apple tree --- what about the size of them apples?! The whole interpretation is just wonderful. Check out the bird on the top berry on the block next to it….see him up there?

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Here’s another block with Christmas cactus in the corners ---and if you look catty-corner from it – another Christmas cactus variation adorns the corner of the block on the farthest bottom left. The pots are all slightly different too.

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At one point in time, these flowers were artfully pleated and tacked, so the petals looked 3D. Over time, they’ve lost their folds, but the stitches remain as white tacking stitches within the red flowers.

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This oak leaf and reel looked almost out of place amongst its contemporaries. The fabrics are all prints, and the whole block is less detailed than the others. Another bird just perching on the block next door!

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Roses and hearts and a pineapple…and a very small fish!

There were several pineapple blocks in a row on this quilt….again, that’s the difference between “now” and “then”. We try very hard to NOT have like-kinds together ----and in antique quilts, blocks with things in common, be they fabric, color, or items, are often grouped together ---

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I loved this rose block with the cheddar star in the center. Wonderful!

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A pair of regal stags keeps watch over a pot of roses…hoping to not get hit by falling urns ;c)

((Okay, I’m getting too silly over here ---I just LOVE this quilt!))

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I love tulips in all their variations ---so classic!

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Two more pineapple blocks….the sign of hospitality.

I could have studied this quilt for hours more. Do you see the crescent moon at the upper left? It was just the most wonderful quilt, and I wish I knew more about the women who made it.

Will any of our quilts be treasured such as this one? I can only hope that someday someone in the future is poking fun at my use of scraps and weird fabric combinations ---and if I make them LAUGH --- then that is my gift to them, because it lightens burdens and lifts the spirit.

As this posts, I’m winging my way toward Chicago! I’ll be meeting with the Village Quilters in Lake Bluff, IL, and then onto the Pride of the Prairie Quilters in Plainfield, IL ---I hope to see you there!


  1. My gosh these blocks are beautiful! I have to admit that I complain about not having enough light to do my quilting and embroidery - but look at the work these ladies did with the kind of lighting they had. WOW!

  2. This is the most wonderful quilt! Thank you for taking so many great photos to share. I'll be returning to study them many times, I'm sure!

  3. What a treasure. Thanks so much for the pictures of this quilt. By far better than the Baltimore Album quilts we so treasure. Thank you again and safe travels.

  4. I feel a kind of love towards these women. They must have planned this carefully to have it turn out so well. I wonder if they drew out their blocks so there was no duplication. I wonder what their lives were like. Can you send best wishes back 150 years?

  5. Anonymous8:21 AM EDT

    Just Amazing!! Bonnie, it is no wonder you were so thrilled with this quilt, such a delight. Who can imagine the thought and detail which went into so much work. I am sure the Minister who was the recipient was most grateful for such a wonderful gift.
    Safe journey...
    Faye in Maine

  6. OMG Bonnie! What a wonderful quilt! Thank you so much for sharing this quilt and the so many others that you find.

  7. Thanks again for sharing these antique beauties. Aren't they fun fun fun!?!

  8. Anonymous8:30 AM EDT


    Cynthia in Oregon

  9. Beautiful quilt! Thanks so much for sharing so many photos. I agree that there is so much to see on this quilt, it would take days to take it all in. I would love to hear what these ladies were saying while putting it all together, wouldn't you? Such workmanship. Lovely!!!

  10. Anonymous8:52 AM EDT

    A few years ago we went to a plantation in Charleston and I went nuts over a quilt - I think the whole thing was Broderie Perce (sp) and they woould not let us take a single photo of it.m So glad you were able to take so many lovely photos of this wonderful quilt - I would never have seen this quilt if you had not shared it with us - thank you so much.Bobbiespann@yahoo.com

  11. Wow, it's quilts like this that make me want to practice hand applique immediately. :) Beautiful.

  12. I LOOVE this quilt! It makes me want to take up appliqué. I'm so glad they let you take pictures so we could all enjoy it. If you ever get permission to do a block of the month with the patterns on this quilt, I'm in:) At the very least, it inspires me to let my imagination go and design my own blocks without worrying about it.

  13. Beautiful quilt! What size were the blocks? I love that they used solids - it's hard to find them these days.

  14. Breath taking!! I can see why you wanted to spend all day with this quilt!

  15. Such an amazing quilt! Thank you for sharing so many detailed pictures. I loved studying every single one of them.

  16. So nice to see all of these pictures. One of my children's gr.gr.-something uncles (on their dad's side) was a revered minister and an album quilt made for him (by women of his congregation) is in the Smithsonian. I'm hoping to get pics/postcards of it.

    trilliumcreates AT gmail DOT com

  17. Such sweet blocks in this Quilt! I helped make a quilt in the 80's for our Bishop. I wonder who has it now that he is passed away? It mostly had names of the families in the congregation. Nothing as fancy or elaborate as these beautiful Blocks. Thanks for sharing.

  18. Anonymous9:48 AM EDT

    Wow! I love this quilt. Thanks for showing us so many blocks up close. I wish the quilt could talk; I am sure it would tell such an interesting story of its creators as well as the recipient. It is absolutely beautiful! If you find out any more details about it, please tell us!


  19. Anonymous10:02 AM EDT

    I ditto Angela's Block of the Month comment.

    This quilt is SPECTACULAR. Brenda

  20. Anonymous10:23 AM EDT

    If time travel were possible, wouldn't you love to chat with and watch just ONE of the ladies who who made this wonderful quilt? Imagine what we could learn.

    I like the over all almost naive-quality of the applique pieces. The workmanship is beautiful.... ohs and ahhs just don't cover what I want to say.
    Smiles to all

  21. WHAT A QUILT!! Wouldn't you love to sit and stitch with these ladies for an afternoon. What creativity! What artistry! What skill! These quilts you are sharing are incredible. What a collection they have - and how marvelous that they are letting you share these pictures with us.

    1. Rosemary Fox11:04 AM EDT

      When I look at this quilt, the first thing it says is `Love` ! These women were very blessed with sewing skills. They were probably the best of the best. I don`t think they were into competeting to see whose block was the best. They wanted to offer up a nice gift of appreciation to a minister they must have had a great affection for. The verse that comes to mind is `all things, bright & beautiful`. They added such items to their quilt.Perhaps they thought on these things ! How wonderful !

  22. Oh it really is lovely, like you I just want to linger over it. The balloon plant is really lemons I think.....have you ever seen lemons on a little tree they are so big and heavy they pull the branches down. Makes me want to finish my Baltimore Album quilts, their half finished packed away. thanks for this close up look at this beautiful quilt.

    Safe travels and Happy Sewing

  23. What an AMAZING quilt!!! I wonder what kind of documentation they had on it. Don't you think that quilt would be a fabulous subject for a book?

  24. So very beautiful! I third the block of the month for this quilt, especially the stags. I wish that we could see the flowers pleated how the designer had intended. This quilt is just wonderful. I like it (as if you couldn't tell, huh?!)

  25. What fun to join you on your tour. You are sharing some wonderful quilts and handwork. Thank you. I wonder if the basket of chicken drumsticks is really a basket of figs? I love the pineapples, and like you, the folksy nature of all those blocks. Thanks for bringing us along.

  26. It brings tears to my eyes! Wow!

  27. What a wonderful quilt!!! Now I can see where your love of cheddar comes from. Ramona in Maine

  28. Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful. Thank you.

  29. Thanks so much for sharing that beautifu quilt.

  30. What an amazing piece of history. So glad that someone preserved it for others to see. Thanks for sharing.

  31. All I can say is WOW! I would love to be part of creating something like this! Often the quilts that impress us the most are a collaboration of many people. Today quilts are more often created by just one or two people. I am also curious about the choices they made for their blocks and what the messages were to the recipient. It's interesting that the blocks aren't more religiously based if the recipient was a minister.

  32. All I can say is WOW! I would love to be part of creating something like this! Often the quilts that impress us the most are a collaboration of many people. Today quilts are more often created by just one or two people. I am also curious about the choices they made for their blocks and what the messages were to the recipient. It's interesting that the blocks aren't more religiously based if the recipient was a minister.

  33. Anonymous12:31 PM EDT

    WOW! That is beautiful.
    Thank you for sharing again.

  34. Oh my goodness - the birds take my breath away! Thanks so much for showing this to us.

  35. love it. everyone not worrying about what one another were doing - just knowing they'd all go together fine.

  36. The detailed motifs just take my breath away. There is so much going on, and all of it done so beautifully. You could take a year to study each block in detail and still not see it all. WOW!!

  37. Such beautiful and careful work. The color scheme is so simple and effective. Love it! Thanks for sharing.

  38. What an incredible quilt! Thanks for sharing it with us...hard to believe it's 150+ years old! Amazing!

  39. Fabulous! Thank you for sharing. How lovely to see it in real life!

  40. Wow! So fabulous!!! Thanks so much for sharing!

  41. Lovely quilt!!! As an amateur genealogist I wish someone would list all the ladies names and/or initials & what ever else is known about the quilt. It could add so much to lots of family histories & even to the church history.

  42. I wonder if the embroidered? fish is part of a rebus signature for M Fisher

  43. Anonymous10:24 PM EDT

    Praying you'll be on your way home by the weekend, Bonnie....
    Thanks for sharing the quilt in so much detail. Yes exquisite!
    I love the whimsy of it, as well!
    Kathy Kirby

  44. Well....I'm just swooning here! I have earmarked this so I can come back and 'stare' at it some more!!

    Thanks for sharing all the photos!!

  45. Wow, what a beautiful quilt! Thank you so much for sharing the pictures with us. :)

  46. That's one fantastic quilt. Any chance anyone will produce a pattern for it ?

    Great picture's- thanks for sharing.


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