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]



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Recent News: Quilts

Source: Google News

Antique quilts show hidden messages, history
The Philadelphia Tribune, December 19th

So, the Mount Airy United Fellowship Church in East Falls had a quilt collection donated to them by member Howard Carroll on display. For several weeks the quilts drew those who participated on an Underground Railroad tour, North Philadelphia youths ...Read more

Gloucester Goings On
Gloucester Daily Times, December 15th

The Sawyer Free Library will host a free antique quilt lecture titled “From 1840s to Mickey Mouse” on Tuesday, Dec. 16, 6:30 to 7:45 p.m., in the Friend Room. Long-time quilt dealer and collector Elizabeth Enfield will show patchwork, applique, folk...Read more

Beidler House welcomes the holidays
Reading Eagle, December 13th

This year, a display of antique quilts was on hand. "They always try to add more," Reed said of the food and decorations. "Every year, a little bit more." This event has been happening for at least a dozen years, and they aim to make the event bigger...Read more

Quilt fundraiser underway at cancer center
Walla Walla Union-Bulletin, December 1st

#A variety of vintage quilts are up for silent auction at the Providence St. Mary Regional Cancer Center, 401 W. Poplar St. The bidding will end at 4 p.m. Dec. 19. #The center in years past has decorated its halls with quilts for the enjoyment of its...Read more

The Hite Amish Quilt Collection
KJCT8.com, December 1st

The Western Colorado Center for the Arts is to show Henry and Angela Hites Amish Quilt Collection this year. Previously The Art Center has shown The Hite's collection of Hawaiian and Maryland Appliqué . The Hites are dedicated and passionate quilt ...Read more

Local Vintage Quilts Wanted for Depot Display
Waitsburgtimes (subscription), November 26th

Local Vintage Quilts Wanted for Depot Display. DAYTON – The Dayton Depot is looking for quilts to exhibit beginning in January as part two of “Our Old Quilts.” Part one, which displayed vintage quilts from the Depot and the Boldman House collections...Read more

Antique quilt finds a home in Austin
Tyler Morning Telegraph, November 9th

had an ability to think for herself.” Mary Perry's quilt is currently in the hands of The University of Texas Dolph Briscoe Center for American History in Austin, Mrs. Burkett said. It is on display with other period quilt pieces from the Ima Hogg...Read more

BORN AGAIN QUILTS' VINTAGE QUILT FEATURED IN “COUNTRY LIVING ...
The Waynedale News, October 24th

The rolling star quilt now transformed and featured in Country Living Magazine. Yes, it's true. Of the 30,397 vintage quilts on Etsy, Country Living Magazine chose five to highlight in an article in their November issue, one is from Born Again Quilts...Read more