Ranging from 1850 to 1940, SJMQT showcases classic quilts from San Jose Museum of Quilts & Textile's permanent collection. Curated by Ashley Elieff, Collections Manager at SJMQT, this show highlights the bright, high-contrast, and bold prints of the museum's diverse quilt assortment. (From our 2019 past exhibitions)
Nine Patch (1850) by Unknown ArtistSan Jose Museum of Quilts & Textiles
These quilts date from the second half of the 19th Century and are some of the oldest in the Museum's Collection.
Here is a Nine Patch quilt with a striking pink and green Sawtooth border. The checkerboard design was turned into a diamond shape rather than placed straight on.
Birds in the Air Quilt (1860) by Unknown ArtistSan Jose Museum of Quilts & Textiles
Also referred to as "Flying Birds" or "Flock of Geese", this pattern is simple and easily recognizable with its triangle design and variations. This traditional block represents freedom and the work of the abolition societies. It is a vital piece of American history and has been considered a classic quilt block since the end of the Civil War.
Techniques: Hand pieced, hand quilted
Eight Point Star Quilt (1880) by Unknown ArtistSan Jose Museum of Quilts & Textiles
Pieced stars with tumbling block border. There are eight pointed stars, each one touching the next one, and each star done in a single fabric.
Techniques: Hand and machine pieced, machine quilted
Star of Bethlehem Quilt (1890) by Unknown ArtistSan Jose Museum of Quilts & Textiles
A hand pieced and hand quilted Star of Bethlehem dated to c. 1890. You can still see the pencil markings on it used for the quilting. The colors are cheddar, turkey red, and indigo.
Pickle Dish Quilt (1900) by Unknown ArtistSan Jose Museum of Quilts & Textiles
These quilts were made from 1900-1910.
Although this quilt is thought to have been purchased in Kentucky or Tennessee, it is likely originally from one of the plains states, where this pattern is also known as Indian Wedding Ring. The color brown is susceptible to shredding over time. The white thread quilting makes it look like a log cabin quilt from the back, yet fits into the curved rings in an unusual way.
Bear Paw Quilt (1900) by Unknown ArtistSan Jose Museum of Quilts & Textiles
The background fabric is two shades of pink printed in a very small, dense design on white. This quilt was machine pieced and hand quilted.
The blue calico features tiny insects and was known as an object or conversation print.
You can see the intricate design used for the quilting.
Lone Star Quilt with Tulip Border (1900) by Unknown ArtistSan Jose Museum of Quilts & Textiles
The Lone Star on its own, has universal appeal for obvious reasons, and has been adopted and adapted by quilt makers all over the nation. Here we see the center star surrounded by two boarders of bright orange tulips giving this quilt a fresh take on a classic design.
Techniques: Hand pieced, hand quilted
Prince’s Feather Quilt (1900) by Unknown ArtistSan Jose Museum of Quilts & Textiles
This quilt has four large blocks, each with a red and dun Prince's’ Feather applique.
Each circle of plumes has an orange star with circles in its center. A simple cross hatching quilting is done on the piece, but there is no quilting on ‘leaves’.
Techniques: Hand appliquéd, hand quilted
Strippie Quilt (1910) by Unknown ArtistSan Jose Museum of Quilts & Textiles
A British Stripy quilt made c. 1910.
The fabric at the center bears the image of Queen Victoria, possibly printed to commemorate her Golden Jubilee of 1887. But the quilt was made later as suspected by the utilitarian piecing and fabric type.
Modified Nine Patch Quilt (1920) by Unknown ArtistSan Jose Museum of Quilts & Textiles
During the 1930s and early 1940s, there were a lot of quilts being made and within a similar color range. Depression-era quilts, can be divided into two categories, ones from patterns that were published in newspapers and quilts that were made the old-fashioned way. Grandmother’s Flower Garden is a traditional pattern, and in the ’30s it was called Martha Washington’s Flower Garden.
This modified Nine Patch Quilt is hand pieced and made with shirt and dress fabric from the late 1800s.
Crown & Thorns (Variation) (1930) by Unknown ArtistSan Jose Museum of Quilts & Textiles
A simple black pattern, traditionally it is done with just two contrasting solid colors, but some versions use a medium print for the triangles that represent the thorns.
This quilt is dated to c. 1930. This quilt is hand pieced, hand quilted
Lady of the Lake Quilt (1930) by Unknown ArtistSan Jose Museum of Quilts & Textiles
The quilt design is composed of six pieced blocks across by eight down with no alternate blocks. The stitches are composed of cross hatching within the pieces and cables and ellipses in the borders.
Techniques: Machine pieced, hand quilted
This particular quilt is thought to have originated in an Amish community in Ohio. The quilts of the Ohio Amish reflect this diversity and are developed from a large repertoire of pattern designs, with two-color block quilts like this one being quite common.
Field of Daisies Quilt (1940) by Unknown ArtistSan Jose Museum of Quilts & Textiles
Nothing is more emblematic of the joys inherent in the long, lazy days of summer than the sunflower (really a daisy). The stylized version of the sunflower depicted in this well-loved, is still bright with the colors of summer and echoes the influences of the Art Deco movement.
Typical of depression-era quilts, the generous use of the distinctive color known as Nile green ties it closely to that economic depression in our history. The quilt is machine pieced, hand quilted
Photo Credit: James Dewrance Photography