Album Quilts

A Mormon album quilt, c. 1930's. A Mormon album quilt, c. 1930's.

An album quilt is a type of commemorative quilt, which is still popular among American quilters. It is also called an autograph quilt. This type of what is in fact a patchwork quilt started to appear around the 1840's in Baltimore, Maryland (USA), among Methodist women, who travelled from one religious service to another, sharing designs at the same time.

During the nineteenth century Baltimore was a prosperous port city and these quilts were frequently made with new fabrics imported from France, including fondue and ombré cloth.

This type of quilt usually consists of 25 blocks that are sewn together. Different women might work on one quilt at the same time, for a mutual friend. Each would embroider or ink her own name on her block, or they would choose the woman with the best handwriting to write all the quilters’ names. Poems or ink sketches are also sometimes stitched or written on the blocks. In the 1840's, inks appropriate for textiles had started to appear on the market and stimulated the popularity of these quilts.

Many blocks also contain cloth appliqués, often in shades of blue, green and red, stitched onto a white or off-white ground material. The appliquéd designs are usually in the form of birds, flowers and ships, as well as images that often have a symbolic Christian meaning.

There is speculation that the floral designs were influenced by German folk art. The quilts were made for display purposes rather than actual use and this has resulted in many still being in a good state of preservation. They were often given as gifts at weddings, made by parishioners (especially Methodists) for their ministers, or presented to boys on their twenty-first birthday.

Digital source of illustration (retrieved 30 June 2016).


Last modified on Tuesday, 24 January 2017 17:10
More in this category: Star Pattern »