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Pieced Crib Quilt, Log Cabin Variation

Probably 1890-1910
Origin: America, Pennsylvania, Berks County (possibly)
48" x 46 7/8" (121.9 cm. x 119.1 cm.)
Pieced wools; cotton-wool blends; wool edge trim (braid); cotton edge trim stitching thread.
Museum Purchase
Acc. No. 1986.609.3
Multi-colored crib quilt with predominate colors of red, orange and brown, with four repeats of a "Windmill Blades" pattern, a variation of "Log Cabin." The center motifs are surrounded by a border of diagonally placed strips. One red plaid and one pink polka dot fabric are used to form several pieced strips on the front; the remaining textiles are unpatterned. The backing is pieced of two different but compatible printed fabrics in similar turkey red coloration but with different designs. Edge trim is a magenta wool braid. Cotton stuffing. The quilting stitches follow the pattern design, though they are not visible on the front.
Label:Mennonite Crib Quilt; maker unknown; probably Shartlesville vicinity in Berks County, Pennsylvania; 1890-1910; pieced wools, cotton-wool blends, and wool braid edging; 47 x 48"; 1986.609.3.

This visually dynamic pieced quilt features radiating strips of fabric that combine to form a pattern usually known as Windmill Blades, a variant of the Log Cabin pattern. This quilt combines woven plaids, printed dots, and solid wool, cotton, and mixed textiles, all pieced by hand. While most Amish quilt makers confined their use of printed textiles to backings, Mennonite makers such as this were freer in their use of patterned fabrics. The hand-quilting stitches, which follow the pattern design, are not readily visible on the front.

The quilt was purchased in Berks County, Pennsylvania, from the DeLong family. Although the family members were not Mennonites themselves, they may have purchased the quilt from a Mennonite maker nearby.

Most of the Mennonites in Pennsylvania were originally German-speaking people from Europe. Like their Amish neighbors, Mennonites have retained their strong Christian faith, worn relatively plain clothing, and held to beliefs in nonviolence and service to the community. However, from the beginning, Mennonites tended to assimilate into the broader cultural group. This tendency is reflected in their quilts that use printed textiles and more up-to-date patterns.
Provenance:Purchased from an estate sale of the DeLong family of Shartlesville, Pa.; Marilyn and Ron Kowaleski; Don and Faye Walters.