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]

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]



Clubs & Associations

Other Great Reference Sites

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Ca 1880 Cotton 9-patch Calico Quilt, 80" X 64", Hand Quilted, Never WashedLarge Double Antique Victorian Patchwork Quilt, Circa Mid - Late 19th Century.Rags 1870's Indigo Print , White Applique Quilt New York State, Pillows, CutterBold Ca 1900 Blue & White Star Quilt, Hand Quilted, 69 1/2" X 68 1/2" No ReserveCa 1930 Friendship Knot Quilt, 76" X 68", No ReserveWonderful Ca 1900 Ocean Waves Quilt, Hand Quilted @ 11 Spi, 92" X 74"Beautiful Vintage Handmade Hand Pieced Sewn Sawtooth Star Quilt Top 77" X 96" VgAntique Hand Quilted Double Wedding Ring Vintage Quilt~blue Pink Feed Sack`76x78Ca 1930 Cotton 9-patch Variant Quilt, 81" X 65 1/2", Hand Quilted, No ReserveGrandmother's Flower Garden Quilt Ca 1930, With Border, No ReserveRags 1870's Reverse And Appliqued Crib Quilt, Very SpecialGreat Old Dresden Plate Quilt ~vintage Feed Sacks ~primitive Fall Colors ~clean Ca 1930 Blue And White Drunkards Path Quilt, 80" X 69", No ReserveCa 1900 Cotton Patchwork Quilt, 75" X 74", Hand Quilted, No Reserve30 Vtg Novelty Feedsack Fabric Quilt Scrap Quilting Flour Sack 1940s Lot 25 X 25Autumn Leaves Fine Vintage Earth Tones 8 Eight Point Star Grannys Cutter QuiltPottery Barn "providence" Queen Quilt And 2 Shams24' Scalloped Border From A Vintage Cutter Quilt ...great For Crafting! PastelsVintage Homemade Full Size Quilt Patch 92 X 92" Clean Red Green White SquaresHuge Vintage Hand-quilted Grandmother's Flower Garden Quilt. Lot Of 2 Vintage 1920s 1930s Butterfly Applique Quilt Tops Feed Sack CretonneAntique Scrappy Half Square Triangle Quilt Complete 16 +/- Stitches/inch Nr YqzVintage Antique Doll Patchwork Quilt YellowsVintage Antique Cutter Quilt Grandmother's Flower Garden~great For CraftingExquisite Vintage Vibrant Bold Mariner Star Sunburst Brillant Bright Star QuiltRags 1870's Browns, Madders Calico Star Quilt Top, Lots Of Different FabricsVintage Cotton 8 Point Star Quilt Hand Quilted From EstateVintage Handmade Wedding Ring Patch Work  quilt 70” X 86” 7 SpiCa 1920 Star In Square Quilt, 83" X 65", No ReserveVintage Antique Cutter Quilt Star Pattern....great For Crafting! PastelsGrandmas Gingham Fine Vintage Denim & Barn Red Squares Butterfly Cotton QuiltBeautiful Vintage Hand Pieced / Sewn Grandmothers Flower Garden Quilt 79" X 94" Primitive ~ Squirrel On Antique Quilt Mini Pillow ~ Original Folk ArtLovely Lot Antique Quilt Pieces Victorian Textile Reuse Vintage Patchwork CalicoAntique, Hand Stitched Yellow And Multi-color QuiltVintage Red Quilt Top Topper Cotton Hand-stitched CutterLog Cabin Star Bear Crossing Vibrant Barn Red Coal Black Vintage Cotton QuiltVintage QuiltAntique / Vintage Geometric Design Pink & White Hand Stitched Cotton Quilt123 Vintage Grandmas Flower Garden Quilt Squares Pieces 1930s Fabric Lot Of 30- Vintage Machine Sewn Quilt Blocks- 21 Feedsack, 10"x10"- 9 CottonC1940s Windmill Pattern Feed Sack Cotton Light Weight Quilt Excellent 85x74"Beautiful Lap Quilt Made By A Supporter With A Dachshund & Bone Design 43"x 29"Vintage Double Wedding Ring Quilt 1930-40-50s Fabrics Full Bed Size 76" X 68"800+ Vintage Feedsack 3"x3" Quilt SquaresAn Early , Blacksmith Made, Rolled Iron, 4 Place Hearted Quilt Pattern, Beautiful Antique Patchwork Quilt 86" X 68 1/2"Aafa 19th C Pine Slide-lid Wallpaper Box With Six Signed Friendship Quilt TopsRags Early Fabric #9 ,many 1870-1900 Indigo Prints Perfect For Quilt Repair7 Pillows To Finish! Made From Vintage Cutter Quilts And Chenille ~ Pink WhiteLemoyne Star Crib Quilt Ca 1920, 57 1/2" X 44", No ReserveFantastic, Postage Stamp Quilt. Hand Quilted. Excellent Condition. 91" X 75"2 X Lot ~ ~ ~ Cutter ~ Quilt ~ Vintage Antique Old Holes Pink Green / Red & WhiVintage Ufo Double Wedding Ring Handmade Machine Quilt Top Multi Pinks 68x84Green Nine Patch Pastel Vintage Cutter Quilt Vintage Antique Appliqued Hand-made Umbrella Quilt Top 1930's ? 1940's? Pretty!!Stocking From 1900-1920s Quilt~hearts & Gizzards Pattern~turkey Red And White~Vintage 100% Cotton Lone Star Quilt, Needs Some Tlc; 83" X 72"Rare Set Of 8 Vintage Huge Wooden Quilt Blanket Hanging Clips Clothes PinsVintage Antique Cutter Quilt Grandmother's Flower Garden~ Piece

Recent News: Quilts

Source: Google News

Get your 'passport' for second annual quilt tour
Chippewa Herald, October 19th

Demonstration bed turning of antique quilts by Jill Noreen at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m.. St. Joseph's Parish Hall (910 Wilson Ave., Menomonie). St. Joe's Quilters and Grain Bin Quilters. Demonstration of Origami Flower Fabric Folding at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m...Read more

'Autumn Gathering' Oct. 25 at Nye Homestead & Museum
Wicked Local Sandwich, October 19th

Across the mill stream in the Grange Hall, a beautiful collection of antique quilts will be on display, organized by Sandwich folk artist Elizabeth Friend. Features will include a Sandwich “friendship quilt” and a mid-19th century quilt made by sisters...Read more

"Quilted Treasures" quilt show this weekend
The Daily Progress, October 17th

A special section will also be devoted to the display of antique quilts. “It's neat to see the patterns and fabrics that were used and how quilting has changed over time,” Coppedge said. Also on display will be the guild's Dear Jane quilt. Based on the...Read more

Gretna United Methodist Church makes a joyful noise
Omaha World-Herald, October 16th

Kane looks forward to future community events. “Next month we will be having an antique quilt trunk show,” she said. “We want our neighbors to come, even if you don't attend this church. It's the concept of: when we open up our hearts and minds and...Read more

Quilting captures our imagination
CT Post, October 16th

"Quintessential Quilts: Piecing Together Danbury History", an exhibit of dozens of antique quilts in the museum collection, is currently on display. The quilts created the Fabric Friends will be donated to cancer patients at Danbury Hospital. Photo...Read more

Out of town events for Oct. 19-15
Richmond Times-Dispatch, October 15th

“A Celebration of American Quilts,” 12 vintage quilts from the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation. Through May 2016. CONCERTS. Waynesboro Symphony Orchestra in “Symphonic Masquerade — An Evening of Suspense and Romance,” 7:30 p.m. at The ...Read more

The £799 Chesterfield sofa from Tesco, the vintage quilt from Asda...Heavenly ...
Daily Mail, September 29th

Given the choice that supermarkets now offer, with everything from fashion to electricals, it seems a long time since they were once for food alone. Now they're branching out into homeware — and the ranges are so fabulous it's hard to believe the...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