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

Film festival is a triumph in style
Toronto Sun, September 2nd

For bedding Linen Chest has The Opus Quilt Collection $89.95 - $139.95 and add majestic colour with Emma feather filled pillows $39.95. Hollywood loves the Hazelton. Located in the heart of swanky Yorkville, the Hazelton is a go to for A-listers all...Read more

Quilter's creations recast from the past
Walla Walla Union-Bulletin, September 2nd

a style all her own. She loves vintage quilts and creates new ones that resemble those classic items. ... When viewing one of Walker's new quilts on display at a recent quilt show, an experienced quilter was convinced it was a vintage quilt. This...Read more

Project Fairway brings out the designer in you
Moore American, September 1st

Bradley Shine and Karrie Janes of White House Black Market discuss the criteria for judging accessories at the Project Fairway competition. The event will be Saturday during the Cleveland County Fair and was developed to showcase fashion design talent...Read more

Lincoln exhibition on stitched signatures to open
MiamiHerald.com, September 1st

House is an academic program of the Department of Textiles, Merchandising and Fashion Design in the University of Nebraska-Lincoln College of Education and Human Sciences. The museum is home to the world's largest publicly held quilt collection...Read more

Case-Barlow Farm Annual Harvest Festival to feature VIP guests
Hudson Hub-Times, August 30th

Upstairs, attendees can see a quilt show featuring a newly donated antique quilt frame. A visit with the silhouette artist offers the chance to get an old fashioned "selfie" in black and white. Musical entertainment will be provided by "Pitch the Peat...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

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