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]



Clubs & Associations

Other Great Reference Sites

Most watched eBay auctions    

Vintage Quilt -"improve 9-patch" Feedsack Fabrics-excellent Condition..(a2)Fantastic Ca 1900 Mini-basket Quilt, All Hand Quilted @ 10 Spi W. 156 Baskets! * Feedsack Quilt "mosaic" Colorful Vintage 1940s-50s~76" X 62" Cutter/repair/tlc!Antique Original Red Quilt Glass Lightning Rod Ball! Quilted Pattern! Early Orig Very Appealing Ca 1830's-40's Red & White Geometric Sun Design Quilt Gorgeous Irish Chain Antique Quilt ~ Loaded W/quilting!1950's Vintage "water Lily" Progress Applique QuiltStunning Large Antique Hand Stitched Edwardian Durham Quilt - White WholeclothBold Late 19th C Flying Geese Variant Quilt, 80" X 64", No ReserveQuite Beautiful Original 1870's Blue & White Quilt Diamond Border -very StrikingVintage Quilt - Feedsack Fabrics-excellent Condition..(a1)Rare 1930's Hand Stitched Hawaiian Quilt "ohia Lehua Buds" Pattern - King Size!Early 1900's "broken Star" Antique Quilt ~ Cotton Seeds ~ Massive QuiltingVtg Grandmas Garden Cutter Hand Pieced Quilt Top-56+ Usable Flowers-nice FabricsVintage Quilt Wedding Ring Handdone 50s Old Cottons 80/86" Vintage Lot Of Dresden Plate Feedsack Quilt Blocks + 538 Cut Pieces---colorful!Hand Pieced Double Wedding Ring Quilt Top King Size 100% FeedsackAntique Grandmas Flower Garden Hand Stitched Quilt - 58" X 78" - PinwheelAntique Hand Stitched Calico Irish Chain QuiltVintage 1940s Handmade Hand Sewn Sawtooth Star Patchwork Quilt Top 63" X 73" VncVintage Spring Flower Basket Quilt Green White Hand Stitched Applique 79" X 88"Vintage 1930's Era Hummingbird Or Snowball Quilt Fixer Upper Or CutterVintage Hand Stitched Quilt Top Hole In The Barn Door Red & Cream 82"x72"Old Vintage 1930 Cotton Friendship Basket Quilt Top Signatures 72 By 80 AntiqueFabulous Antique Vintage Tulip Flowers Appliqued Quilt Hand Made Bedspread 86x98Antique Vtg 30's Dresden Plate Quilt Top Feedsack Juvenile Fabrics Hand PiecedVintage Quilt Pin Wheel 66/80" Handmade 50s Cotton BeautifulVintage Antique Patchwork Quilt Cotton 87 X 75 Sold As Is Cutter QuiltVintage Hand Sewn 100% Cotton Star With Diamond (tumbling Blocks) Quilt TopVtg Quilt Top Star Hand Made Vtg Circle Wheel Pattern Quilt Perfect Condition Well Made Turquoise Colors!!!!Vintage Handmade Fan Quilt Feedsack 1930's Hand Quilted, 76" X 76", Very NiceVintage Antique Quilt Top Cotton 1940s Fabric Patchwork Star Hand Piece 75x90"Vintage Hand Sewn QuiltFine Vintage Red & White Classic Country Tradition Diamond Triangle Yarn QuiltScottish Antique Large Applique Paton Family Ayrshire Baronial Linen Quilt CoverVintage Feed Sack Fabric Strip Patchwork Quilt Top 92"x72" #3Gorgeous Vintage Handquilted Hand Sewn Double Wedding Ring Quilt!! Rare Yellow!Lot 30 Lg Pcs Vtg Feedsack Cotton Fabric Quilt Scraps All Diff. Colorful PrintsAntique Quilt Block Lot,49 Flower Garden Hand Stitched Blocks,some Feed SackVintage Estate Solomon's Puzzle Purple & White Hand Sewn Quilt 84.5" X 67"Vintage Quilt Hand Made Multiple Colors Floral Repair Cutter Re Purpose 78 X 94" Vintage Quilt Top W Modified Flower Garden Pattern 1920's "indiana Puzzle" Antique Quilt W/printed Feed Sack BackVtg 1930-40's Floral Applique & Embroidery Quilt Top - Cotton - Feedsack 67"x85"Vintage Antique Handmade Quilt Texas Star Star Of Bethlehem Quilt 67" X 85"Vintage Antique Quilt Top Cotton 1940s Feedsack Fabric Patchwork Star Hand PieceHandmade Amish Wedding Quilt ~ LovebirdsHandmade Vintage Unfinished Quilt ..top Only 72 X 78 In. - Exceptional Handwork!Vintage Quilt Red White 78 And 1/2" By 94" Fabric Repair Pillows Cutter Vintage * Handmade * Hand Stitched * Cross Stitched Quilt * Approx. 92 X 84Vintage 1930 - 1940 Era Tapestry Or Scrap Bag Cotton Quilt Top Extra Large SizeVintage Antique Quilt. Full Size Bed. Hand Quilted. Sweet Lot Vintage Antique Flower Garden Pieces & Quilt Top 1930 Calico CottonSpectacular Antique Hand Stitched Country Calico Flying Geese Quilt69x80 Vintage Quilt Vintage 80x180 Hand Pieced Quilt Top Grandmas Flower Garden Scrappy Exc CondAntique Quilt Block Lot,30 Blocks+ Pieces Flower Garden Pattern, Feedsack PrintsVintage Hand Applique Quilt Rosebuds Ribbons Floral Hand QuiltedVintage Four Patch Variation Hand Quilted Cutter Quilt Some Feedsack Cotton

Recent News: Quilts

Source: Google News

Maritimer of the Week
CTV News, March 27th

For the past 13 years, Marilyn Peabody has been volunteering with the New Brunswick Museum. It is home to hundreds of artifacts from centuries gone by, including a quilt collection, with some dating back as far as the 18th century. “I'm removing the...Read more

GMAHS announces Charley Harper quilt debut at Promont
Cincinnati.com, March 27th

We will have a variety of Charley Harper gift items and vintage quilts available in the Promont gift shop; and the Harper prints from Row House Gallery will be available for purchase.” For information on the RiverCity Quilt Guild, visit www...Read more

Look: 79-year-old model outshines all others at China Fashion Week
Shanghaiist, March 27th

Netizens joked that the clothes were "Chinese vintage quilt style". 79-yo-model6.jpg. Wang looked confident as all hell in the getup nonetheless. 79-yo-model4.jpg. Wang, a Shenyang-native, has acted in various films including The Forbidden Kingdom, ...Read more

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

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

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