The Quilt Heritage Museum (QHM) has nearly 100 antique and contemporary quilts in the collection. QHM currently displays the collection through small exhibitions and trunk shows, but our vision is to have a permanent home for the quilts.
By our definition, an antique quilt is one made in 1949 or prior. The one here definitely qualifies as an antique.
Those quilts made after 1949 are considered contemporary. Just like their older counterparts, contemporary quilts vary widely in the methods of construction, embellishments, and many more aspects.
Red, Green & White Quilt
This is an example of a red, green, and white quilt which was popular from 1830 through 1900. The early examples in this period were made of cut-out chintz motifs from the 1830's. Block-style album quilts became popular in the 1940's and the red, green, and white trend lent itself well to album quilts.
Embroidery on Quilts
Embroidery on quilts have appeared in many eras in America. Like many other popular techniques or styles, they were more popular in some periods than in others.
For example, in the mid-1840’s Baltimore Album quilts often included elements of fine hand-embroidery. Historians think many signature quilts were created specifically for family members who joined the Gold Rush or traveled the Oregon Trail. Some of the kit quilts of the 1920’s also included embroidery accents. Today, with high-tech sewing machines, entire blocks within quilts are being machine embroidered. So what is old is new again.
Signature block quilts are related to a number of other historically popular quilt styles: friendship quilts, fundraiser quilts, commemorative quilts and album quilts. Early signatures were penned in inks, which sometimes ate through the fabric due to the ink content. Signatures were sometimes hand-embroidered. On large fundraiser blocks, sometimes one person with nice handwriting was designated to affix all the signatures of those contributing. Other signature quilts bear many types of signatures leading us to believe each person made their own signature on a block.