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]

Antiquequiltdating.com

Antiquequiltdating.com

Though not an actual online dating site, the subject here is certainly love... of quilts. Kimberly Wulfert has put … [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]

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]

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]

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

November 2014 Heartland Antiques Show Gets Digital With Antique Social
Virtual-Strategy Magazine (press release), August 31st

One of our dealers, Cindy Adams from Colorado, will feature antique and vintage quilts. Customers will also find many pieces of painted furniture—pie safes, dry sinks, blanket chests, and more. These pieces are both functional and decorative. Be sure...Read more

Take your pick
Fort Wayne Journal Gazette, August 31st

Oct. 25 and 26: Callithumpian Quilt Show, Riverside Center, 231 E. Monroe St., Decatur; 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Oct. 25, and noon to 3 p.m. Oct. 26; antique quilts, vendors; $; 260-416-4907. November. Nov. 1 and 2: Traders Days, Chief Richardville House, 5705 ...Read more

Made It: Pillow Makeover
The Hillsdale Daily News (blog), August 30th

While perusing a local flea market earlier this summer, I came across a colorful vintage quilt patch. I was taken with it, in part because one of the fabrics used was identical to a piece of fabric I'd bought decades ago at another flea market. That...Read more

Wathena festival offers something for everyone
News-Press Now, August 30th

WATHENA, Kan. — Parade goers set up lawn chairs in the shade of Main Street's brick storefronts as children lined up to begin the Children's Parade. The second day of the Wathena Fall Festival on Saturday focused on family-friendly events. The...Read more

Annual Quilt and Textile Arts Exhibition draws to close Saturday; still time ...
Lake County News, August 30th

Displays feature a variety of colors, techniques and patterns and themes from pastel nursery to vibrant holiday. “We also have an antique quilt in this year's show, with ties to the Middletown area going back to the 1800s,” Alameda said. Alameda said...Read more

Daily Mail: A great-great grandmother's gift
Charleston Gazette, August 29th

Her name was Mary Anna, and she was only 34 when she died. Yet something of her endures. Her DNA, of course, flowed to her two sons and presumably to their children and their children's children. Since I am her great-great granddaughter, perhaps I ...Read more

Ouray County Historical Society displays vintage quilts
Montrose Daily Press, August 24th

For about 15 years, the Ouray County Historical Society has been holding a quilt show, displaying vintage quilts pieced together before 1960. This year's show will be from Aug. 26 to Oct. 11 at the Ouray County Museum and will include a quilt from the...Read more

Delta Museum displaying antique quilts
Delta-Optimist, August 13th

In honour of the annual Quilt Walk Classic Car Show, the museum is pulling out a number of antique quilts from its archives for its Historical Quilt Walk display. The museum has an assortment of handmade quilts dating back to the mid-1800s in its...Read more