New England Quilt Museum

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This is the Etsy Shop of the New England Quilt Museum, located in historic Lowell, MA. 2012 marks our 25th Silver Anniversary! All proceeds from the sales in this shop directly support the mission and programs of the New England Quilt Museum, a 501(c)(3) charitable organization.


A SLICE OF CHEDDAR: Antique Pennsylvania Quilts
July 11-October 6, 2013

This summer, a stunning collection of bold and colorful antique quilts from the heart of Pennsylvania Dutch Country comes to the New England Quilt Museum in Lowell, Massachusetts.

What these pieces all have in common is that they feature “cheddar” in greater or lesser amounts.

No, not that cheddar…

In the 19th century, a popular color used in many quilts was called “chrome orange” or “antimony” — based on the lead-heavy amounts of that chemical used to produce the color. This was long before the poisonous nature of lead was understood. In the 20th century, the name of the color shifted to the much more healthy-sounding “cheddar.”

The antique quilts in this exciting exhibition are part of the collection of Arlan and Pat Christ, collectors from Berks County, Pennsylvania. The Christs have long admired the colorful folk art and quilts of the Pennsylvania Dutch, and the New England Quilt Museum is delighted to exhibit a substantial group of their wonderful finds.

In the 19th century, southeastern Pennsylvania was a melting pot of German and other immigrants known collectively as “Pennsylvania Dutch.” Their love of Pennsylvania Dutch love color, which is reflected in their folk art and quilts. The bold, bright, and sometimes unusual choices of colors are distinctly their own during this time period.

This exhibit is all about color, with a focus on the use of cheddar. You will find the color cheddar used in a bold fashion or perhaps as a simple accent. During the nineteenth century the color was referred to as chrome orange or antimony. Antimony was a store bought powder used to dye fabric in the home. It was unknown at the time that the dye was a dangerous substance due to the lead content. “Cheddar” is the color name used starting in the twentieth century.

Guest curators Arlan and Pat Christ live in the Kutztown area of Berks County, Pennsylvania, which is often considered to be the heart of the Pennsylvania Dutch. The collection of these wonderful quilts was purchased directly from local estates, auctions, family members and quilt dealers

~ Guest Curators: Arlan & Pat Christ