Historical Influences

Every quilt is a new creation, but many quilts show the influence of quilts made long ago.  The books in this list deal with quilt makers (and events) in the past and how modern quilt makers have been interested in them and tried to emulate their work or express their emotions about them through quilting.  Some of these books are inspired by the quilts of the 19th century or even earlier.  Some look back to quilts our grandmothers would have recognized.  Others are inspired by events, as old as biblical stories and as recent as the destruction of the World Trade Center. Updated July 6, 2019.


Antique Quilts Recreated. House of White Birches, 1997. 128 pages. Book #1798. (This book gives instructions for recreating 17 popular historical quilt patterns.) [Tags: Historical Influences]

Aug, Bobbie, Sharon Newman, and Gerald Roy. Vintage Quilts: Identifying, Collecting, Preserving & Valuing. Collector Books, 2002. 222 pages. Book #0708. (Written by quilt historians and appraisers, this book lists the value as of publication date of over 600 pictured quilts.) [Tags: History, Collecting Quilts]

Brackman, Barbara. Civil War Women. C&T Pub., 2000. 128 pages. Book #0702. (This book tells the stories of 9 women who lived during America’s Civil War and pairs each story with instructions for a quilt from the era.) [Tags: Historical Influences, Civil War]

Bresenhan, Karey. America from the Heart: Quilters Remember September 11, 2001. C&T Pub., 2002. 128 pages. Book #0618. (This book documents the special exhibit at the 2002 International Quilt Festival, with over 300 photos of quilts made in response to the attack on the World Trade Center, and the stories behind these quilts.) [Tags: Historical Influences]

Campbell, Eileen. U Is for Unicorn: Medieval Designs for Applique. Quilter’s Workshop, 1998. 80 pages + pattern. Book #0120. (This book gives instructions for making an alphabet quilt and other related projects using motifs derived from 15th and 16th Century wood blocks.) [Tags: Historical Influences, Medieval]

Campbell, Patricia B., and Mimi Ayers. Jacobean Rhapsodies. C&T Pub., 1998. 160 pages. Book #0112. (This book adapts 16th century crewel embroidery to 28 applique designs for quilts.) [Tags: Historical Influences, Applique]

Carlson, Linda Giesler. Roots, Feathers & Blooms: 4-Block Quilts, Their History & Patterns. AQS, 1994. 127 pages. Book #0116. (This book analyzes 6 historical image patterns, shows color images of numerous historical 4-block quilts, and gives instructions and full-sized patterns so readers can reproduce them. There is also a section on 9 states that have many historic 4-block quilts.) [Tags: Historical Influences, Regional, 4-Block Quilts]

Causee, Linda. Symbols of Faith: 44 Quilt Blocks. ASN, 2002. 53 pages. Book #1678. (This book gives patterns and instructions for popular symbols of Christian, Jewish and other religions. All motifs are foundation pieced.) [Tags: Historical Influences, Images, Paper Piecing]

Fassett, Kaffe, and Liza Prior Lucy. Kaffe Fassett’s Museum Quilts. Taunton, 2005. 160 pages. Book #3136. (Here Fassett gives instructions for 23 colorful quilts inspired by the collection at London’s Victoria & Albert Museum.) [Historical Influences]

Makhan, Rosemary. Biblical Blocks: Inspired Designs for Quilters. 2e. That Patchwork Place, 2001. 80 pages. Book #1252. (This book features a 21 block patchwork quilt, with variations. Instructions for each block are accompanied by bible verses.) [Tags: Historical Influences, the bible, patchwork]

Martin, Nancy J, and Marsha McCloskey. Pieces of the Past. That Patchwork Place, 1986. 152 pages. Book #1689. (This book has three parts. The first part gives an illustrated history of patterns, colors and fabrics of United States quilts. The second—and shortest—part concerns “Contemporary quilts in the traditional style.” The last half of the book contains patterns and instructions for many of the traditional quilts shown earlier.) [Tags: Historical Influences, Traditional to Modern, History]

Martin, Nancy J., Comp. Threads from the ‘30s: Quilts Using Reproduction Fabrics. That Patchwork Place, 2000. 112 pages. Book #3046. (After a brief overview of fabrics and motifs from 1930s quilts, instructions are given for 11 projects by 11 different quilt makers.) [Tags: Historical Influences, Reproduction Fabrics]

Newbill, Carol Logan, Ed. Quilts from the Bible. Oxmoor House, 1996. 48 pages. Book #1718. (This book gives patterns and instructions for 10 quilts with biblical sounding names.) [Tags: Historical Influences, the bible, patchwork]

Papadakis, Brenda Manges. Dear Hannah: In the Style of Jane A. Stickle. AQS, 2003. (A sequel to the author’s Dear Jane book, here the author combines letters to her granddaughter Hannah with quilt blocks replicating those from antique quilts. There are instructions and patterns for 144 small blocks.) [Historical Influences, Home and Family]

Papadakis, Brenda Manges. Dear Jane: The Two Hundred Twenty-Five Patterns from the 1863 Jane A. Stickle Quilt. EZ Quilting, 1996. 161 pages. Book #1570. (This book was inspired by the author’s study of a complex sampler quilt made by a 19th Century Vermonter. It contains line drawings of each of the blocks and a diagram of block placement.) [Tags: Historical Influences]

Wiss, Audrey and Douglas. Folk Quilts and How to Recreate Them. Main Street, 1983. 143 pages. Book #3070. (The authors examine the history of quilts made in North America and give directions for reproducing 30 popular patterns. They favor natural materials and strong colors.) [Tags: Historical Influences, United States]

Weiss, Rita. Grandmothers’ Quilts and How to Make Them. ASN, 1989. 44 pages. Book #0705. (This mostly black and white book shows photos of 12 antique quilts and gives patterns and instructions for recreating them. Each quilt is identified by owner and maker, if known.) [Tags: Historical Influences, Patchwork]

Wright, Linda Beltzell. Ed. Scrap Quilts from the Depression. Oxmoor House, 2002. 48 pages. Book #1808. (After a brief introduction to quilt making, instructions for 11 depression-era quilts are given.) [Tags: Historical Influences, the Depression, Scrap Quilts]

Zimmerman, Darlene. Granny Quilt Décor. Krause, 2004. 127 pages. Book #1802. (After an introduction to quilts of the 1930’s, this book offers quilts and other projects to be used in 5 areas of the house.) [Tags: Historical Influences, Beyond Quilts, 1930’s]

Zimmerman, Darlene. Granny Quilts. Krause, 2002. 128 pages.  Book #1822.  (This book opens with a discussion of “What makes a 1930’s quilt?” and follows with patterns and instructions for adaptations of 19 quilts from the 1930’s) [Tags: Historical Influences, 1930’s]


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