Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Photographing Your Antique Quilt Collection

So last night I was looking at a quilt reference book called the Index of Aunt Martha quilt patterns by Rose Lea Alboum. I was looking to see if the doll patterns I posted about were maybe from Aunt Martha.

But I found something else, a quilt I own.  I was able to go to my pictures and verify that, yes this is the quilt in my collection. I was very excited by the find.

Rosy Wreath

Which made me so happy that I have photographed my antique quilt collection. Even if you only have one antique quilt, please get busy and photograph your quilt. Take the time to get them photographed for your own records.  Then you will have them available to share easily on a website, email, or facebook pages. I have a huge collection of quilts and have been organizing and photographing them since retirement.  There is no way I can keep track of them without a visual aid.  I spend hours just looking at my own quilt pictures.  That is the reason I started the FB group Quilts-Vintage and Antique in 2009.  I really wanted others to see my quilts, which will never be in a museum or book.  I also thought “I know there are others who have antique quilts they love and would like others to see”.  You only reach so many people with trunk shows. The FB group is now over 1600 members and over 5000 pictures of vintage and antique quilts. The group page has been instrumental in identifying quilts and patterns. There has been many connection made between owners of quilts that have the same family history, or a quilts made by the same person. It is this networking that is so exciting in the quilt world. And it is not going away. The digital age is here to stay. I do not feel proprietary in regards to my quilts or the information I have gathered.   I am their care giver and guardian for a while. After all what good does any of it do if we can not pass the information to others interested quilts and their history. Who will come after me? 

There are many different programs you can use to store your digital photos on your computer.  My personal favorite is Picasa by Google.  It is free to download, I like the way I can have albums and then files within the album. They easily get imported directly to Picasa from my camera. I can crop them, straighten them, add text, print them, email them, export them, and include a watermark on them.  I am not the best photographer, but I am getting better.  And I love to look at my quilts on my computer or my iPad.  I am now going through old paper photos of quilts I no longer have and scanning them so they will be digital on my computer.

I understand all your excuses for not photographing your quilt.  Probably the biggest is no space to take the photo.  Digital pictures are so easy to take and store on your computer.  Outside on a clothesline is a great place to photograph quilts.  Enlist the help of two friends or family members to hold your quilt while you photograph.  If you have a lot of quilts, invest in a quilt stand and some clips to hold your quilts. Take it to your quilt guild meeting and ask for help.  Ask your local quilt store if you can bring it in to photograph.  You can get reasonable good pictures. The worst place is on a floor or bed.

I can hear some of you now, but my quilt is nothing special.  It is special to you.  Please share your antique and vintage quilts somewhere, anywhere.  Don’t hide them under the bed.  Yes, you know who you are!!


  1. OK- you have motivated me! I'm in your FB group but have not posted any photos as yet. Partly because I have not taken pics of my vintage quilts and tops. I did buy a Craft Gard display rack, and I will get busy and shoot those quilts. I love olds quilts... and they really don't get seen enough. So thanks for this post.

  2. Three cheers, Lynn, for photographing all your quilts! I think I have a piece of this pattern that someone started and never finished!

  3. Hi, I am not a quilter, but I do love them. I am a fabric freak and yet dont sew..anyways I do photo a lot of my blankets and will photo this new quilt I got on ebay. Im wondering if anyone here can look at this auction I just won on ebay.. The auction has ended so you will have to click on the top of the page to view original listing. Its a real beauty and I will take it to the cleaners when it arrives to try and remove or lessen the stain. The fabric on the back is puffy and appears to be a woven fabric. Any ideas on age or fabrics used in the quilt. It has wool batting which doesnt scare me as Wool is my fabric..and thats what I was looking for when I came upon this beauty. I love it and I feel I got a wonderful bargain.. Please take a look.. Sorry Im new here and just jumped in on this thread. I did notice the stitches near the stain are kinda big...Any info will be appreciated. Thanks so much.

  4. Sorry about that link, it doesnt work. If you go to ebay and type in this number under ebay search you will see it. 400643939429, thanks again for any info you have. Ive always believed when you want to know something go to the ones who know..

  5. Thanks for reminding us about this post. It is quite motivational and I appreciate your openness and philosophy on sharing the pictures and inspiration. I am disappointed when dealers withhold information on the history of the quilts they sell. I understand their motivation from a business perspective but think how much history is lost because of them. Three cheers to the dealers who do keep the information with a quilt. I haven't photographed my collection and am sometimes surprised by what I have. I most appreciate that doing so will help those we leave behind dispose of them in a responsible way, preserve their stories, and get them to a new generation who will appreciate them.