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

SHOPPING: Quilt raffle part of Camp Tuck show
The Times (subscription), March 1st

Additional activities will include a silent auction, consignment table, quilts for sale, an antique quilt and antique sewing machine display, quilt raffle, trading card exchange, vendor mall and concession stand. For updates or more information, visit...Read more

Quilt shows: Hand-quilted covers 'made with love'
OregonLive.com (blog), March 1st

The Latimer Quilt & Textile Center in Tillamook accept vintage quilts from owners who want the fabric cleaned, the pattern categorize and their piece of history preserved in a climate-controlled repository that houses quilts and textiles from the 1700s...Read more

At David B. Smith, upping the game for contemporary art in Denver
The Denver Post, February 28th

Detail of Sanford Biggers' "Lloottuuss," made with antique quilt fragments, spray paint and tar at the "Constructed Histories" exhibit. The show offers a reflective, revisionist take on our recent past. (Cyrus McCrimmon,The Denver Post) ... The two...Read more

Mid-Atlantic Quilt Festival is more than just blankets
West Point Tidewater Review, February 28th

Mancuso said the key to the festival is finding a balance — appealing to novices and experts, featuring both modern and antique quilts, and offering both showcases and educational seminars. "It's definitely a niche market," he said, "but so many...Read more

Victorian elegance gets quirky in Skagit Valley's La Conner
The Olympian, February 27th

Rescued from neglect, it's now home to the Quilt and Textile Museum, where antique quilts (including a delightful tablecloth “signed” with embroidered names) inhabit the first floor, and contemporary art quilts occupy the upper two. As I came back down...Read more

Museum Center At 5ive Points Accepting Submissions For Quilt Show
The Chattanoogan, February 27th

m. Saturday, March 14. This year, awards will be decided by the visitors, through public voting. Prizes will go to the winners of The Ruth Hale Viewer's Choice Award, and First Place in each of four other categories (antique quilt, small quilt...Read more

Anthon Berg celebrates Chinese New Year with Quilt collection
MoodieReport, February 8th

Danish confectionery company Anthon Berg has created a limited-edition Quilt range to celebrate the Year of the Goat. The Quilt is said to be of rich historic and cultural importance to the Chinese, symbolising the support, care and bond among family ...Read more

Colossal quilt collection tells 400 years of stories
Orlando Sentinel, February 1st

'Lucy Terry Prince: The Griot's Voice,' by South Carolina artist Peggie Hartwell, is one of more than 65 quilts in the exhibition 'And Still We Rise: Race, Culture and Visual Conversations,' which debuts Feb. 7 at the Orange County Regional History...Read more