Antiques: Textiles & needlework info


In one phase of antique collecting, we turn to the crafts practiced by women in the home. These are needlework and textiles. Before the days of large spinning and weaving mills, American women practiced all the stages of converting the raw materials into finished cloth.

Then, with thread, needle, and scissors, they gave vent to their artistic impulses by creating various things for home decoration. Sometimes they were so proud of their accomplishments that they signed and dated their work with fine stitches in crosswork or other design, but more often they neglected this detail. Therefore, in many cases we can only approximate the age of a piece and guess about its place of origin. Much has been written about the various kinds of needlework done by the women of America which are collectibles today.

This section is given over to three distinct types of work about which rather less has been recorded. The door panels of the Pennsylvania Dutch are characteristic of that distinct racial group and the colouring and fineness of the needlework make them antiques of the first order.

The quilting bee has been associated in prose and poetry with a social event at which work, good eating, and a lively interchange of gossip and local news blended. But the primary purpose was the completion of a quilt that the hostess had pieced according to an original design or one common to her locality. As antiques, these old quilts have particular interest because of their colourfulness and intricacy of design. They form one of the most important of the American folk arts.

Equally interesting is the hooked rug, now so highly regarded by collectors. Its raw materials were a reasonably large piece of strong heavy material and a bagful of rags. But the patterns, like those of the quilts, were many and varied. Some were entirely original and often most naïve; others of the Victorian era were more conventional. Either type lends colour to the home and so has strong appeal for collectors or for those who like antiques for their decorative individuality.

Basic antiques

Finding antique

American fireplace
American mirrors
Baltimore furniture
Common clocks
Queen Anne furniture
Romantic furniture
Sanderson & Salem
Secret drawers
Small sideboards

Glass American
Glass knobs
Sandwich salt dishes
Vermont glass company

Look of antique

Metal wares
Antique Andirons
Birmingham brass
Pewter, Brass, Copper

Chinese influence
Penny banks

Porcelain, Earthenware
Adam Caire
Antique dishes (Dutch)
Yang Stai

Prints & Paintings
Advertising lithographs
Robert Fulton
Samuel F.B. Morse

Drawers & Beds
Furniture hardware
Pewter, Silver, China
Tables & Chairs

Silver & Imitations
Huguenot silversmiths
Silver towns
Women silversmith

Textiles & Needlework
Pennsylvania panels
Quilting bee
Rugs hooking