Inspired by antique quilts: 3 stunners + their remakes

Antique quilt block from Fancy to FrugalSee if you’ve ever been in this situation as a quilter: you’re at the quilt show, the antique shop, or the museum.

Suddenly your jaw drops. You let out an audible gasp. You cup your hands over your mouth.

Your eyes quickly move from side to side, top to bottom, taking it all in.

(You look around. Does anyone else SEE what you’re seeing?)

It’s the most gorgeous antique quilt you’ve ever laid eyes on!

If only you could take it home…

If you’ve ever been inspired by antique quilts, you’re certainly not alone. Vintage quilts ignite the creative passions of many Martingale authors. And when those authors can’t take an antique quilt home, what do they do? They create present-day quilts that honor the historic quilts they adore. (Of course, along the way they update the techniques the original makers used. Only the most recent quiltmaking methods employed here!)

Below are just a few examples from designers who have re-created the beauty of the past with the ease and speed of techniques from the present. See if you fall in love with these antique quilts and their remakes as much as we did.


“Garden Spinners”
From the book Candy Store and More by Kay Connors and Karen Earlywine

Garden Spinners quilt

Kay and Karen write, “The quilt-block design for ‘Garden Spinners’ was found in a box of old newspaper clippings. Someone had trimmed away the text and source information, so the origin is a mystery. The large blossoms, constructed from colorful triangles, demanded a striking border with even more angles. The result is dramatic!”

Discover more stunning remakes of ’30s quilt blocks >


“Pumpkin Peel”
From the book Small Pieces, Spectacular Quilts by Mary Elizabeth Kinch and Biz Storms

Pumpkin peel antique quilt
Left: “Wagon Wheel,” c. 1920, 66″ x 79″. Maker and location unknown. From the collection of Nancy Ray. Right: Updated “Pumpkin Peel” quilt from the book Small Pieces, Spectacular Quilts.

Detail of Pumpkin Peel quiltMary Elizabeth writes, “‘Wagon Wheel’ is graphic and bold. Inspired by this antique, Biz extracted a two-row segment and married it with its mirror image to form an elliptical shape reminiscent of a Double Wedding Ring or Orange Peel pattern. Sixteen elliptical shapes later, and she’d created a four-block quilt evocative of the blocks found in the original quilt!”

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See more striking small-piece antique quilts and their updates >


“Aunt Amy’s Sampler Quilt”
From the book Quilts from Aunt Amy by Mary Etherington and Connie Tesene of Country Threads

Aunt Amy's sampler quilt
Left: Aunt Amy’s sampler quilt, circa 1898 (when Amy was 21 years old). Can you spot the block that inspired the “21st-Century Bull’s-Eye” quilt on the right?

Mary and Connie write, “Our reluctance to piece curved seams gave birth to the raw-edged Bull’s-Eye block. This is the most relaxing quilt we’ve ever made! We cut the circles freehand, and nothing had to match except the corners of the squares. Machine washing the quilt after it was quilted added texture. Since the circles and fabrics don’t need to match, this quilt would make a perfect group project. We’ve had more positive feedback about ‘21st-Century Bull’s-Eye’ than about any other quilt we’ve ever done.”

See 19 more designs inspired by Aunt Amy’s sampler >


Want to see more quilts inspired by antiques?
Click on a book cover to add more jaw-dropping moments to your day!

Candy Store and More Small Pieces, Spectacular Quilts Quilts from Aunt Amy
Fancy to Frugal Small Blocks, Stunning Quilts Link to the '30s


What’s your take on antique quilts: love ’em or leave ’em? Tell us in the comments!

Simple Applique


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