Then and Now


A couple of weeks ago Kathy and I went to a quilt exhibition in Middletown.  Notice I said “exhibition” and not “quilt show”.  This was not a display of newly made and judged quilts. No awards were given for Best of Show or Best Hand Quilted. There were no vendors present to sell quilting needs.  This was not sponsored by a national quilt show. There was no charge to enter.

Instead, this display was organized by the Middletown Historic Society.  Yes, there were recently made quilts, but they were paired with their antique counterparts.  Although the quilts had the same or similar patterns, one might have been made within the last ten years while its partner was made during the 1800’s.  It was something to see them side by side.  Depending on which part of the country the quilt came from the name changed,  Here is a pattern know as the Lone Stat or Star of Bethlehem.  Looking at the four can you figure out which is the oldest and which is the newest?



I’m not saying.

Looking at these two crazy quilts again one is new while the other is not.  In many instances the fabric is the clue to the age of the quilt.


A popular applique pattrn is that of Sunbonnet Sue.


Here is a traditional Log Cabin and a Log Cabin Heart.  Sometimes a traditional pattern is given a new twist by the design in which it is used.


I will finish with the Flying Geese Pattern.  Here are three quilts utilizing that pattern.  Again, the new is paired with the old.




I am amazed at how well the antique quilts have held up.  Yes, they show some wear and are worn thin in parts.  But, after all, these quilts were made to be used and not just put on display.

Beside the quilts, there were many other historical artifacts on display at the historical society.  Some day we might take another trip to look more closely at them.  I am glad that Kathy saw the ad for this unique display and that we decided to go.




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34 responses to “Then and Now

  1. Thanks for the visual treat. I’ve always loved handmade quilts and you generously give us an opportunity to “virtually” appreciate them.

  2. Your visit was even more enriching because you had an expert to point out the nuances that I would have missed. Now that was a fun outing for you and for me to read.

  3. What a fascinating display. I love old quilts. I have one on my bed – and I got it for $2 at an estate sale. Best buy ever.

  4. Is it still happening in Middletown? If so, would you mind emailing me the info? Ari and I are always looking for things to do. 🙂 {Read: My computer isn’t out and I’m not working unless he’s napping.}

  5. lindabaie

    Always love this sharing. I think I can tell the older ones. In the first pic, on the left? But maybe not. Unless faded, it is hard to tell. My favorite is the log cabin pattern, but I’ve never seen the love one-awesome! I have lots of old quilts from family, and a favorite is a signature quilt, all blocks made and signed from people in my husband’s hometown. It is a treasure. The ones I use are from my mother and my aunt, not so old, but very loved. Thanks again for telling more about quilts!

    • It is something how a pattern can update the look of a traditional block.

      • lindabaie

        I was prepping for my post for tomorrow and wanted to share a book with you and your wife. I think you’ll like Sewing Stories by Barbara Herkert. It’s about a slave who created story quilts, and only two survived, now hanging in the National Museum of American History and the Boston Museum of Fine Arts.

      • Thanks, Linda. We have seen different kinds of story quilts so this book looks interesting. I will pass along o ng the information to Kathy and I am sure she will share it with her quilt as well.

  6. So fun to see! I have an old family crazy quilt in our extra bedroom and a quilt I need to finish in my office. Love looking at these.

  7. This is so cool! I love the blending of old & new…. Everything old is new again!

  8. I recall your quilt posts from the past. I always enjoy reading and viewing them. This one is no exception. I love the geometric shapes and the symmetry. Thanks for sharing, Bob. They are a real treat!

  9. Your’e welcome, Amy. There is something pleasing about symmetry.

  10. Terje

    This was fascinating to see. The quilts don’t seem to age. Both old and new look amazing.

  11. That’s awesome ! I would love to go to that ! Thanks for sharing !

  12. Wow the older quilts have really held up well. I really could not tell which was which among most of them. Especially the Texas Star set. Nice.

  13. Lisa C

    I would love to go to an exhibition like this! There are many companies that are reproducing antique fabric designs. I’d love to see an exact replica just a few years younger.

  14. Judy C.

    These old quilts have many stories to tell. They are so beautiful and have held up well during the years when they were made to be used not just displayed. Thanks for sharing.

  15. I love when you share these pictures, Bob – the incredible talent and perseverance it takes to create these quilts is always amazing to me.

  16. Old and new side by side- that’s a great idea. I hold on to way more old things than I should, but this makes me miss an old quilt that got away.

  17. Loved looking at these pictures and seeing the tradition carried on through the years. So interesting. Do you have lots of quilts at home?

    • We have a few. Because the cats like to sleep on the beds we don’t use them. Instead, we have $20.00 quilts from Boscov’s. That way we don’t get upset is the cats she’d on them.

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