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

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

Jackson County Apple Festival Quilt Show
Jackson County Times-Journal, August 28th

Jackson County Apple Festival Quilt Show will be held at the Jackson City Library. Registration for quilters entering quilts is Monday Sept. 15, 5 p.m.-7 p.m. and Tuesday Sept. 16, 9 a.m.-noon. There is a limit of two quilts per person with a $2...Read more

What's Happening for August (UPDATED Aug. 28)
SunHerald.com, August 27th

Women's Business Center workshop: 9-11 a.m. and 6-8 p.m., CLIMB CDC Women's Business Center, 1316 30th Ave., Gulfport. Subject: Grow your business on Google. Details: 864-6677. Semiannual book sale: 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Aug. 28-30, Lucedale-George ...Read more

80-year-old mystery remains unsolved
Wahpeton Daily News, August 27th

LaVonne Guenther and Shirley Elsner look at antique quilt blocks that have a mysterious origin. The names on the quilt blocks appear to have originated in Lidgerwood. But once the quilt blocks were put together and a name was stitched into the fabric...Read more

State Fair's generational quilting is a patchwork tale
Statesman Journal, August 26th

"People get nervous because it's open to the public, because antique quilts can be damaged by touch," Bowden said of the owners' concerns. "Most of these quilts are mine. I had to show people it's OK to display them." SAL0827-Fair Quilting secondary...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

Quilt Week wraps up at DeVos Place
WZZM, August 23rd

GRAND RAPIDS (WZZM) -- Quilt Week wraps up on Saturday at DeVos Place in downtown Grand Rapids. More than 10 thousand people attend the expo to take in the beauty and art of more than 450 quilts on display. Bonnie Browning, the Executive Director ...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