Very Old Vintage Antique Quilts To Keep You Inspired


Pineapple Quilt in Denver

This antique pineapple quilt is on exhibit now at the Denver Art Museum. It was made in New England around 1850 by an unknown maker. I thought shirtings started around 1870. In any case this is an outstanding quilt, don’t you agree?I’m glad they allow visitors to take photos so I can show you this one.

Thousand Pyramids

This antique Thousand Pyramids quilt is from way back in the 1900’s. Haha.

Sawtooth Center Medallion

I’m getting hives thinking about all those half square triangles. Gorgeous quilt.

This antique quilt from the 1800’s is pictured in an old quilt magazine.

I like this unique design: a feathered star type center medallion surrounded by three borders full of tiny triangles. This quilt would take a month of Sundays to make! I wonder what it’s story is!

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Antique Improvisational Sampler

This incredible antique improvisational sampler quilt, known as the “Coate/Pemberton Quilt” was made by an unknkown quilter around 1900. It measures 92″ x 68.” The names on the quilt are descendants of Miami County (Ohio) Quakers. This quilt is from www.ohioswallow.com

Yellow Whig Rose Variation


This beautiful Whig Rose Variation quilt by an unknown maker from the 1860’s is unique for its bright yellow background. It’s from the collection of the Minneapolis Institute of Arts, http://www.artsconnected.org/. What a unique and lovely quilt. I think the yellow background really makes the quilt and allows the applique to stand out.

Woven Ribbons on a Crazy Quilt

This antique crazy quilt by an unknown maker was brought to a quilt show in PA to be evaluated and appraised. I liked this detail, woven silk ribbons. It has held up well over the years!

What Is The Origin of Quilting?

Some of us believe that quilting began in New England as an outgrowth of a limited, affordable supply of fabric coming from Europe.

Others credit the Amish and Mennonites. According to Rachel Pellman and Joanne Ranck in their book “Quilts among the Plain People,” quilting is an ancient art, dating back to Egypt, China and India.

These cultures discovered the insulation value of layering three fabrics together, and created clothing using this technique. The Crusaders carried examples of this craft literally on their backs — as quilted clothing under their armour — and introduced quilting to England.

Lest we get carried away and deny the Americans their due, the combination of patchwork and quilting did merge in early America.

While exquisite quilts were made in Europe, the hardships of the New World and the scarcity of fabric caused the women to become resourceful, thus patchwork quilts were created from whatever scraps of clothing, bed sheets, drapes, flour sacks, or any other thing that resembled fabric.

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Quilts in Merry Old England

Centuries ago, quilts in England were made of linen and used by both commoners and aristocrats. Aristocrats preferred the finer texture of the higher quality linen, even though it was not as sturdy as the linen used by “those of the cottage.”

In England, the wife was the keeper of the quilt frame and custodian of all quilting designs. Daughters were taught quilting by their mothers when their chores were done. The lessons were conducted with the mother instructing and supervising while the daughters did the work.

Since the girls knew that they would be responsible for making the coverlets for their beds after they got married, they worked to create a large enough store of bed covers to last until their daughters were old enough to begin quilting. The goal was for each girl to have a bakers’ dozen (13) quilts before marriage.

These quilts were all designed for the girls and included quilting designs that had been passed down through their family. Each quilt was unique, and the quilts made early on by the girls were fairly simple, increasing in complexity as the young ladies became more skilled.

When the young lady was pledged to marry, the family designed and made the 13th quilt — the Bride’s Quilt. It was by far the most elaborate quilt in the bride’s dowry.

Egyptian Patchwork

It seems that every time I look at a history book about quilts, I find that patchwork is even older than I thought.

The most recent input comes from American Patchwork Quilts by Lenice Ingram Bacon.

Lenice contends that patchwork consists of both piecing patches together and what we call appliqué.

She asserts that the earliest tangible evidence of patchwork is found in Egypt as long ago as the time of the Pharaohs. The Museum of Cairo claims to have a piece that is made from gazelle hide and composed of beautifully colored pieces, and served as a canopy for an Egyptian queen about 960 b.c.

The Egyptians developed processes for making fine wool, linen and cotton fabric, and discovered methods for dying these fabrics in order to create fine works of art. Their art preserved their history and religion and gives us an insight into their way of life and the things that were important to them.

This type of patchwork is still popular in modern Egypt, and current pieces continue to use ancient designs and sacred emblems of the past such as beetles, scarabs, and lotus flowers.

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