Description of Collection

Historical Comment

One Family's Quilts

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MENNONITE QUILTS OF WATERLOO COUNTY -- A CATALOGUE OF THE COLLECTION

  • Please click on images below to see larger images and, in some cases, details.
  • All the quilts are from Waterloo County, Ontario, Canada (please click here for a map of the region)
  • Descriptions in italics are from the sellers or from the curator of the People's Place Museum in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania.
  • It is very difficult to get accurate images of quilts. Color, tone, and brightness in the images below are "estimates." We have tried not to exaggerate the artistic beauty of the quilts. But, to see them in person is to get a very different experience. In many cases it is a more powerful experience. In other cases it may not be as impressive. In all cases, it is a very different kind of experience.
  • Most of the quilts were originally purchased from family estate sales. The towns given below are the towns where the sales occurred. Most of the families had been living on their farmsteads for decades before the estate sales.
  • We are not quilters and have not tried to describe quilting techniques or stitching.
  • We have found that titles vary from person to person. The titles below were given to us and should not be taken as gospel. "Unknown Pattern" means unknown to us.
  • The information below is accurate to the best of our knowledge. Where possible we have cross-checked information from different sources. Please note that, in the few cases where there is any doubt that a quilt is Mennonite, we have noted this in italics.

46  Eight Point Star
c.1910-20
cottons
Condition: crisp, unused but with a spot on back that shows through vaguely in one place
71.5 x 85
Town: unknown
Maker: unknown

47  Double Irish Chain
c.1910-20
cottons
Condition: unusued
63 x 72
Town: Floradale
Maker unknown; from Noah Leah Gingrich

nice weight

from same family as 15
48  Variable Star
c.1930
cottons
Condition: washed, good
69 x 80
Town: Alma
Maker unknown; from the Musselman family

49  9 Patch Variation
c.1930-40
cottons
Condition: unused
71 x 82
Town: unknown
Maker: unknown

may not be Mennonite

50  Puss in the Corner
c.1910
cottons
Condition: good used
66 x 77.5
Town: unknown
Maker: unknown

probably not Mennonite

51 Unknown Pattern
probably c.1930's-40's
fine wools, polished cottons and some unidentified fabrics, with white plaid lining
Condition: fine
75 x 88
Town: near Wallenstein (?)
Maker not known; from the estate of Cleason Brubacher estate
52  Log Cabin
c.1930
bright coloured sateens and dark coloured fine wools (near identical with number 3 but with black and blue fine wool triple border_
Condition: crisp, unused
69 x 84
Town: St. Jacob's
Maker: Lydia Martin for her daughter who married Cleason Brubacher; from the estate of Cleason Brubacher

"rare and unusual pattern made almost exclusively by Waterloo County Mennonites"
(this collection has three of four nearly identical quilts made by a mother for her four daughters -- there are variations of borders, size, and some colors -- leading to each having a different effect -- numbers 3, 52, and 57)
-- please see One Family's Quilts

(for the work of Lydia Martin and her family, please see also 3, 18, 19, 28, 32, 45, 57)

“The overall design that results from the way Lydia Martin assembled her Log Cabin blocks is unusual and was done almost exclusively by the Waterloo County Mennonites of Ontario.
“Lydia’s great-grandfather, Peter Martin, migrated in 1819 from Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, to the Waterloo County area. The Martins were farmers. Lydia (1892-1987) is described by her son Aaron as a person who “didn’t have much to say,” who “didn’t lift her head much,” and who “was not outgoing.”
“Her daughter Mary Gingrich remembers that her mother made a quilt similar to this one for each of her four daughters. Despite Lydia’s reserved nature, Mary characterizes her as “very particular” with her quiltmaking; in-fact, she “had to come up to the best. She tried to fill our hope chests, using patches left over from making clothes. Sometimes she bought the main color for her quilts.”
“This quilt has several striking features: Each hearth is a double-block, made up of a yellow and a red square. The blue and green logs that sit next to each other in alternating blocks are pleasantly compatible. A completely black pieced block anchors each corner in the outer “rippling” ring in the quilt’s interior. The same is true in the inner “rippling ring.”
“A blue border sits almost unobserved between inner and outer black borders. Quilting stitches appear only “in the ditch” in the pieced blocks and borders.
“This quilt was masterfully planned and executed.
“Martin found her voice in her quilts.”
(Phyllis Pellman Good)

53  Philadelphia Pavement
c1950's-60's
cottons, bright rayons(?)
74 x 76
Condition: pristine
Town: unknown
Maker: unknown

a "Sunday quilt"

54  9 Patch Variation and 4 Patch
c.1920-30
cottons
Condition: good used
Town: Wellesley(?)
Maker: unknown

"not Mennonite but from Germanic background and area settled by Pennsylvania Mennonites, Continental Amish and Germanic immigrants"

55  Eight Point Star
c.1890
cotton material of calico's and solid fabrics; sheaned cotton floral border; backing of paisley printed sheaned cotton
Condition: excellent
73 x 83
Town: unknown
Maker: unknown

56  Variable Star
c.1890
cotton, 19th Century calico's
Condition: very good used with some fraying on one corner
76 x 85
Town: unknown
Maker: unknown

one expert says it may not be Mennonite
57   Log Cabin
c.1930
bright coloured sateens and dark coloured fine wools (near identical with number 3 but with black and blue fine wool triple border_
Condition: crisp, unused
80 x 96
Town: St. Jacob's
Maker: Lydia Martin for one of her daughters

"rare and unusual pattern made almost exclusively by Waterloo County Mennonites"

(this collection has three of four nearly identical quilts made by a mother for her four daughters -- there are variations of borders, size, and some colors -- leading to each having a different effect -- numbers 3, 52, and 57)
-- please see One Family's Quilts

(for the work of Lydia Martin and her family, please see also 3, 18, 19, 28, 32, 45, 52)

58  Fan
c.1910
wools
Condition: excellent
64.5 x 79.5
Town: unknown
Maker: unknown

nice detail of design with simple quilting stitch

from the Amish/Mennonite community of Waterloo County


59  Mennonite Star / Tulip
1880's
calico cotton
Condition: excellent with a few minor spots
69 x 70
Town: unknown
Maker: unknown

combination pierced and applique workmanship (tulip applique surrounding the star pattern)

60  Bow Tie
c.1930
cotton, fabrics came from the Arrow Shirt Factory of Kitchener, Waterloo
Condition: excellent
67 x 75
Town: unknown
Maker: unknown

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