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]

Anonymous Works

Anonymous Works

This blog combines American primitive folk art, vintage vernacular photography, outsider art, and other interesting… [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]

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]



Clubs & Associations

Other Great Reference Sites

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Recent News: Quilts

Source: Google News

New Era Quilt Show scheduled July 31-Aug. 1
Muscatine Journal, July 3rd

There will also be the usual 140-plus quilts including the new quilts and wall hangings and the antique quilts. The Art Figures of the Quad cities is formerly the Hello Dollies group, This is a group of people from eastern Iowa and Illinois that makes...Read more

Plan to attend Everything Quilts on Oct. 3
Kawartha Media Group (blog), July 3rd

The Olde Gaol Museum is donating two vintage quilts and all artists in the show are giving a piece to be raffled off in a bag draw. Visitors can sit and sew a quilt celebrating the United Way's community gardens, then visit the purse parade section...Read more

Bourne news briefs
Wicked Local Bourne, July 2nd

Coffee house license. Selectmen approved a common victualer license for the new Cataumet Coffee House opening at the intersection of County Road and Route 28A in the premises last featuring the Beach Plum Bakery. Council on aging vacancy...Read more

Additional money needed to cover senior center repairs
ThisWeekNews, July 1st

Plus, she said, the stove needed replaced and many items, including the carpets and a number of antique quilts that hung on the walls, required professional cleaning. The cost to replace the commercial-grade stove alone was estimated around $13,000...Read more

Quilting Display at the Culver-Union Township Public Library
WNDU-TV, June 29th

On display now at the Culver-Union Township Public Library are a large collection of old and antique quilts courtesy of the Wesley United Methodist Church Susanna Circle Quilters group. The quilts of many different sizes are on display throughout the...Read more

Summit historical society stitching together plans for new quilt show — Mary ...
Akron Beacon Journal, June 26th

In addition, people will be invited to display antique quilts or quilts that are special to them or their families — quilts that won't be judged, but that will allow the owners to share a part of their own histories, said Leianne Neff Heppner, the...Read more

Vermont Quilt Festival is this Weekend
The Northfield News, June 25th

Thousands of quilt enthusiasts from around the world arrive to enjoy several exhibits of new and antique quilts, lectures and classes presented by noted quilt artists, quilt appraisal services, free gallery talks, demos, and great shopping in the...Read more

Forge Mill Museum welcomes rare quilt collection
Redditch Standard, June 20th

The quilts are English and American and are made using a variety of fabrics including cotton to velvet and silks. Each has its own unique story and has been collected, researched and restored by Jane and Peterson Cobbett. There is no additional charge...Read more