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Sunday, July 11, 2010

The Kinnelon Friendship Quilt in the Kinnelon Library

Kinnelon Friendship QuiltIf you've been on the second floor of the Kinnelon Library, by the elevator, you may have noticed a framed quilt.  This quilt is the Kinnelon Friendship Quilt and it has a marvelous story which I share with you here thanks to Ron Leavesley and the conversations we shared about the Kinnelon Center for Lifelong Learning [CLL] and the Friends of the Kinnelon Library.

I asked him about the Kinnelon Friendship Quilt and he shared the following with me:

The history behind the quilt is interesting as it goes from OLM to the Library and the individual efforts of the ladies who created the panels. Rather than me just writing the details, enclosed is an article we put in Bookmarks a few years back.

The article refers to 'purchasers of the quilts'. That refers to the copies of the Kinnelon Friendship Quilt that the Friends had made and used as a very successful fundraiser from late1998 to 2005. The quilts are no longer available.

The Friends of the Kinnelon Library have been involved with the maintenance of the quilt and funded a protective glass cover in 2008.

From Bookmarks:

The Kinnelon Friendship Quilt - A True Community Effort
(Article Originally ran in Bookmarks, November 17, 2005)

Many purchasers of the quilt have asked about its origin since the Friends first reproduced it in 1998. At that time we solicited information on how it all came about but with limited success. We knew it was given to the library and done by a number of local ladies, but not much more. Recently we found out the rest of the story and here it is...a true cooperative community effort to "create a picture of unity". Thanks to Lorraine Bravante for her efforts in putting together "the rest of the story".

However, the story isn't over. The Friends are planning a reception in the spring for all those who contributed with their determination and hard work.

On display, in the hallway of the Kinnelon Library's second floor, is the original 'Friendship Quilt' that was created in 1983 by a group of talented Kinnelon women who deserve the thanks and recognition of our community. If you look closely at the quilt, you will see that some of the quilted blocks are signed, some are initialed, and some show no ownership recognition. The few that are signed are: Willie Lummer, who initiated the idea to share the history of the quilt. Willie created the Kinnelon Volunteer Fire Company design, Alma Koontz, Violet Pavlak, Moya Shannon, Marion McKeown, and Peg McLaughlin worked on the Our Lady of the Magnificat design. The Tri-Boro First Aid Squad design was executed by Pat Moore. Frances Lopez and E. Talle completed the Smoke Rise Village Inn design. The balance of the creators remains a mystery.

It would be helpful if our readers would help solve the mystery and recall the names of the unknown creators. They are: P. E. Biczak whose name appears on the Kinnelon Town Seal, SH, for the Methodist Church, Pat D, for the Horse Farm, ME, for the OLM Chapel, MK and MS, and the Miller Barn. Totally unknown are the designers and creators of the squares for Silas Condict Park, Kiel School, the Kinnelon Library, the Fredericks House, St. David's Church, the Reformed Church in Kinnelon, St. Hubert's Chapel, the Smoke Rise East Gate, the Borough Hall, the Community Church of Smoke Rise, and the Butternut Tree. If you can identify any of these individuals, contact the Friends of the Library at (973) 838-1321.

The initial idea for this project came from Monsignor John Ryan, Pastor of Our Lady of the Magnificat Roman Catholic Church. Monsignor Ryan, while visiting another parish, noticed a community quilt that sparked his idea for Kinnelon. Observing that Kinnelon was a community of three major areas, the Borough, Fayson Lakes, and Smoke Rise, Monsignor Ryan was looking for an opportunity to use as a magnet to pull all areas together as one.

The force, he felt, could be a cooperative effort from the organizations in all the areas of Kinnelon to join together and create a project where the final result would be a picture of unity. To this end, Monsignor Ryan's project was a success. The Friendship Quilt is a lasting legacy to his memory and insight.

The project was initiated by Monsignor Ryan and a committee was formed of members who represented various Kinnelon organizations. The consensus was that each organization would submit a design for a 12x12 inch square that would be representative of their organization and the Kinnelon Community. This design would then be submitted to a group for juried approval.

Upon completion of this first stage, the real work was started. According to Willie Lummer, local women met at the library two to three times a week transferring the accepted designs to a quilting type form. The designs were then appliqued and hand stitched. Alan Koontz designed and completed the wooden form that holds the quilt. His mother, Alma, velcro-ed the frame and the quilt together. This established an attractive vehicle to display the beautiful finished product. The project took on the aspect of an old time quilting bee where determination and hard work created a unique and lasting masterpiece.

The Friendship Quilt was on display in the foyer of the auditorium where Our Lady of the Magnificat held Sunday Mass before the new church was completed. After a time, Monsignor Ryan felt that the quilt belonged to the community. With that thought in mind, he graciously donated the Friendship Quilt to the Kinnelon Library, where it is on display for all the community to enjoy.

Thanks, Ron.  Next, an article from the Star-Ledger about the Kinnelon Friendship Quilt.
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