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

Turning scraps into art
Springfield News-Leader, September 19th

Hear the stories of antique quilts during a bed turning (a viewing of quilts) at 11:30 a.m. or watch a wearable art fashion show at 2 p.m. The event also features special exhibits, a silent auction and vendor mall. Admission is $6, and free for...Read more

Honolulu Cookie Company Launches Aloha Quilt Collection
Marketwired (press release), September 19th

HONOLULU, HI--(Marketwired - September 19, 2014) - This fall, Honolulu Cookie Company launches their new Aloha Quilt Collection in time for the Annual Aloha Festivals. Conveying the look, feel and luxury of a special gift from Hawaii, this new...Read more

Red Devils Booster Club hosting 45th annual antique show and sale on Nov. 29
Hunterdon County Democrat, September 19th

Available for purchase will be fine country furniture, folk art, antique quilts, estate jewelry, stoneware, basketry, pottery, antique prints, books, tools, rugs, dolls, glassware and Christmas items. For further information, email HunterdonAntiqueShow...Read more

Craftsmanship on Display at Quilt Show
OzarksFirst.com, September 18th

The Ozark Piecemakers Quilt Guild hosts the event. The guild has about 300 members and will display more than 400 quilts. The event also includes antique quilt bed turning, a silent auction, a fashion show, vendors and door prizes. Event Chairperson ...Read more

Delco's oldest Presbyterian church celebrates Colonial Era
Delco News Network, September 18th

corn and brown breads, home-made applesauce, fruit pies and Colonial cookies – will be available for purchase. There will also be a vintage quilt displayed for raffle. From noon through 3p.m., various games and crafts will be offered for children...Read more

Historical commission to host quilt show at Little Old House
Cleburne Times-Review, September 18th

Cleburne resident Wilma Reed displays quilts her mother and grandmother pieced in 1928 while awaiting Wilma's birth. They and other area quilts will be displayed during the Friends of the Johnson County Historical Commission's Sept. 27 quilt show at...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