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The style of a quilt is the first thing I see when I view a quilt, whether online, in an antique shop or booth, on exhibit or in an auction.A quilt’s fabric is hard to date from a distance, but the style jumps right out and gets the dating process under way quickly.
And even when dates are on it, a quilt’s age and value is determined by its newest feature, not its oldest.
Signature and raffle quilts tell us about families, community organizations, and churches.
Crazy quilts tells us about the maker's interests as well as her hand sewing ability.
The study into quilt history is a rapidly growing area of research in American history: the important role women played in our history; domestic life in the 18th-20 centuries; development of the textile industry in the Asia, India, Europe and America; the purpose for making quilts; their pattern and style development over time; current reproduction fabrics; and last but not least, dating a quilt or a single piece of fabric by its dyes and the method used to print it.
Quilts also reflect social history, such as the westward expansion, pioneering on the Plains, wars, political and religious campaigns and symbols, working women, interior design through time and more.