Quiltmaking and patchwork have been popular pastimes in the U.S. since the 1700s, and today quilts are highly collectible as works of folk art with historical significance (or just nice to look at). Antique quilts vary widely in design and materials, and can be hard to date definitively because they may have been assembled in phases from older quilts or blocks.

Made from a variety of materials, from elaborate fabrics to scraps of old clothing and sometimes even old feedsacks, quilts have both a functional and social significance. Groups of women often gathered to create quilts together, and the finished result was sometimes given as a gift for a special occasion (like a wedding) or as a symbol of friendship. Quilts can also document a family’s history as the pieces sewn together can come from baby blankets, old clothes, etc.

Antique quilts are typically categorized by style (broad classification) and pattern (of the individual blocks). Some notable styles include central motif, log cabin, album, circular, star, patriotic, thematic, representational, whole-cloth, charm, utility, signature, medallion, redwork, appliqué small block, applique 4-block, strippey, Colonial Revival, Amish and crazy quilts, among others.

Some notable patterns (of individual blocks) include Sunbonnet Sue, fan, log cabin, Rose of Sharon, 9-patch, Lone Star, Whig’s Defeat, Pot and Flowers, hole in the barn door, bowtie, and so on. There are some situations when the pattern (block) name was also used as the style name (this was common in the 20th century), such as Sunbonnet Sue, Grandmother’s Flower Garden, Dresden Plate and Double Wedding Ring.


Best of the Web (“Hall of Fame”)

The Quilt Index

The Quilt Index

This collaborative project provides a visual index of almost 2,000 antique quilts across multiple museums and colle… [read review or visit site]

International Quilt Study Center

International Quilt Study Center

This University of Nebraska-Lincoln affiliated site showcases a spectacular collection of more than 3,500 quilts fr… [read review or visit site]

Sewing Machine Collector

Sewing Machine Collector

Geoff and Norma Dickens' reference site on vintage toy sewing machines from the late 1800s. Browse the images alpha… [read review or visit site]

LACMA Luxury Textiles

LACMA Luxury Textiles

Textile collectors shouldn't miss this microsite from the LA County Museum of Art, a great reference on European an… [read review or visit site]

American Folk Art Museum

American Folk Art Museum

The American Folk Art Museum's website showcases current and past exhibitions along with their permanent collection… [read review or visit site]

Sensibility Vintage Images

Sensibility Vintage Images

An extensive collection of photos and ephemera illustrating changing fashion styles from 1795 to 1959. Includes por… [read review or visit site]

Anonymous Works

Anonymous Works

This blog combines American primitive folk art, vintage vernacular photography, outsider art, and other interesting… [read review or visit site]

The Outsider Art Pages

The Outsider Art Pages

A modern look at folk and outsider art with a focus on what people are doing to keep these traditions alive. The si… [read review or visit site]

Folk Art in Bottles

Folk Art in Bottles

Whether you call them Bottle Whimseys, Whimsey Bottles, Puzzle Bottles, or Whimsies, this site showcases great folk… [read review or visit site]

Index of American Design

Index of American Design

The Index of American Design project (1935-1942) was an effort to catalog American decorative arts objects from the… [read review or visit site]

Stoveburner.com

Stoveburner.com

A stunning collection of 162 images of stoveburners, those corroded cast iron elements that power stoves, broilers,… [read review or visit site]



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Recent News: Quilts

Source: Google News

Quilting artist at Gallerie 909
Weekly Challenger, March 26th

“There are people who collect antique quilts,” she affirmed. “They get to be something that can be passed on or passed down, and for me that's rewarding to produce something that may be around for quite some time.” The way Washington sees it, The ...Read more

Waynesville museums prepare for new seasons
Myguidon, March 25th

“We have a small quilt collection, with some dating from the late 1800s; we have a variety of farm tools and mechanical items,” Seevers said. “We have a camera collection and a room set up to resemble the old one-room school houses. … Another thing...Read more

Sanibel Antique Show's grand finale will be March 28-29
Island Reporter, March 25th

She brought with her some beautiful antique quilts which made for a great addition to the appearance of the show. She sold several of these quilts and her selection of French Quimper included some extremely rare pieces which were all more than 100...Read more

Spreading History: Quilts have stories to tell at community show
The Daily Star-Journal, March 25th

ANTIQUE QUILTS piled on a bed are turned over one at a time and the history of each is explained. Going through the process, from left, are Diane Weigard, Jane Netsch and Shirley Moore. The Antique Bed Turning is a show within a larger show, the Quilts ...Read more

FRESH FROM THE PAST
Great Bend Tribune, March 24th

This year's June Jaunt, celebrated by cities along K-96 from Tribune to Ellinwood, has a heritage theme with barn quilts featured along the way (Great Bend Tribune, March 20, 2015). “We'll be showing some of our own quilt collection,” Komarek said...Read more

Quilt show contains show within show
The Daily Star-Journal, March 24th

QUILTS from the Hoffman Challenge attract the interest of Connie Strobe, Clinton, and Linda Inman, Bolivar, during the quilt show Saturday at First Christian Church, North Holden and Gay Streets. Find this story of a show within a show on Page 2...Read more

Vintage quilt show at Siskiyou County Museum
Siskiyou Daily News, March 6th

Vintage quilts from the Siskiyou County Museum and Fort Jones collections, and Marion Davies quilts made at Wyntoon (Hearst Corporation's private estate near McCloud), will be on display at the Siskiyou County Museum from March 10-28. With a $1 ...Read more

Charlotte Quilters' Guild to host annual show
Charlotte Observer, March 4th

One of the highlights is an exhibit of about 35 antique and vintage quilts from the 1800s through the 1950s. To be included in the display, an antique quilt had to be at least 100 years old, and a vintage quilt had to be at least 50 years old, said...Read more