My Favorite Obsession

From Quilts to Kanthas
My Favorite Obsession

I have always loved quilts…it’s part of my adult DNA. When I was a young mom, I learned to make them for my “babies” and give as gifts. This lead to me launching my first business (BH, Before Hammertown), Patchworks by Joan in the mid 1970’s. I pieced and quilted baby bibs, purses, pillows and bedding which I sold to specialty stores and I also made the rounds to craft fairs. It was my very first entrepreneurial venture and I was hooked!

My bedroom wall highlights two of my collections: Kanthas and Samplers. Craft and needlework is evident in every nook and cranny.

In the beginning, I collected American quilts and textiles. These pieces represented comfort, love and home. Each square design had history and meaning and was hand-stitched by someone with care and love. While my American collection remains, over time Indian Kantha quilts have become my favorite.

This is one of my favorite American quilts layered on top of an indigo Kantha.

As any visitor to our stores can attest, these textiles have become staple pieces in any Hammertown interior. I love them on beds, made into pillows or used to upholster furniture. But honestly, in their basic true form, they are the best. Thrown over the back of a sofa or end of a bed, one Kantha can make the entire interior sing.

A melange of Kantha pillows….pattern explosion. Just one or two are all you need to make your bed sing!

I started collecting Kanthas over 18 years ago when I was going through a difficult time in my life and they are held near and dear to my heart. Kanthas originate from Bangladesh and the eastern states of India where women stitch layer upon layer of old saris and cloth scraps to create the throws used in blankets and cushions. I have spent hours combing through piles of these lovely textiles when buying at trade shows and have developed wonderful relationships with the vendors who supply them.

My previous home’s Master Bedroom. Kantha on sofette, French quilt on bed.

My daughter and I have bonded over these sessions. We’ve created some lovely shared memories finding just the right Kanthas to bring back to our stores. That’s not to say that I don’t become attached to them — the ones I find really special become “keepers” and I love giving them as gifts as well. Each quilt tells a different story, and now they have become part of my own life’s patchwork. Nugget of happiness to be sure!

The entry at Hammertown Barn in Pine Plains has a rotating collection for you to peruse….we can’t wait until our doors are open again!

Hammertown has a great collection of Kanthas at all stores. We look forward to a time when you can come and explore for yourselves and start creating  your own special memories.

Please email us for any details on current stock. We are working mostly away from our stores now right now and in the process of getting them up online soon, so stay tuned!

Hope to see you all safely again soon!


  • Sallie Rynd says:

    Do you have any of the wonderful popover shirts in size extra large that you usually sell at Trade Secrets or scarves?

  • Eileen says:

    Joan and “Hammertown Barn”…I just recently signed up for your newsletter…I enjoy it so much…We are a big fan of Hammertown Barn when we lived in NY 8 years ago…we were at your store probably every weekend as our go to from Walden, NY…we loved the Rhinebeck store too…

    We have plans for August to fly to NY from Naples, FL..and one of our stops will be at Hammertown Barn!! Thanks for such fun quilts, antiques and so much more…we love it…I’m so looking forward to spending some time there after our visit to the Woodstock Inn, Woodstock, VT..another favorite place of ours..

    Be well Joan and family!!

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