Antique Quilts

Quilts have been made, not only for warmth, but for their decorative qualities (and for the maker’s personal satisfaction) for several hundred years.

British antique quilts have distinctive styles which are largely different from the American “block” style of patchwork.

Vintage quilt made of Blue and white pieced hexagons
Illona Jones hand-pieced hexagons and diamonds to make this typical Mosaic patchwork “Grandmother’s Flower Garden” coverlet
Patchwork tended to be Mosaic (an allover design which tessellates together, such as this hexagon  coverlet, or Frame quilts (similar to Medallion quilts) such as the Dorset Frame Coverlet, where a succession of pieced borders surround a central block.
Antique quilt made of Red, grey and black tessellating diamonds
Tessellating diamonds are arranged in the “Tumbling Blocks” design
Mosaic patchwork may be made with a single shape, such as a diamond, square, equilateral triangle or hexagon.
Antique patchwork close-up showing a blue and white star made from diamonds
Single pieced star in Silk Ribbon patchwork
Many designs however, use more than one shape to form a more complex design, such as the diamonds, rectangles and triangles in this amazing miniature Silk Ribbon patchwork.
Antique quilt with red and white circular motifs
Red and white “Rob Peter to Pay Paul” quilt
Straight seams are the most common, but curved seams are known too, such as in this “Rob Peter to Pay Paul” design

However, many British quilts were not pieced from many small scraps, but used the quilting stitch alone to create the design on Wholecloth or Strippy quilts.

Antique welsh wholecloth quilt in pale yellow
Welsh wholecloth quilt made in the late nineteenth century
Antique red and sand strippy quilt
Strippy Quilt made in the North East of England in about 1900

Click on the quilts to go direct to more information and photographs of these beautiful examples in my collection.

Click here to see more Wholecloth Quilts

Or here to see more Strippy Quilts

A type of quilting rarely done now is corded quilting.

Click to see a beautiful 18th century example with an intriguing design

Heart motif on corded whitework quilt

I am gradually adding more pages about the many antique quilts I own. If you would like to be kept in touch when other quilts come on line, then why not sign up for my occasional Newsletter (see link in Menu on left)?

If you are interested in the heritage of British quilting, then why not look at the extensive collection owned by the Quilters Guild of the British Isles?

For those particularly interested in studying more, the British Quilt Study Group is to be recommended.