Friendship & Album Quilts : A Little History

15 Ladies Album Quilt 72dpi

As Ladies Album fabrics by Barbara Brackman is shipping to stores, we thought we would ask Barbara to share with us a little history about Friendship and Album quilts.

Moda has two new collections celebrating friendship or album quilts. Barbara Brackman has Ladies’ Album and the latest from Lynn Hagemeier at Kansas Troubles is called Token of Friendship. Those Kansans think alike and their collections will mix and match nicely if you are thinking of making a friendship quilt with a vintage flavor.

1 sarah a white

Sarah A .White must have had a stencil to sign her name.


2 hannah

“Hannah A. Barber, Mountholley VT,” used pen and ink, the most common signature technique in the first fifty years of album quilts.


3 -8283-11 w woman

Quilters have been making fabric albums since about 1840, inspired by the paper friendship albums held so dear.

4 mollies


5 Album Block1

Both names,  “album quilt” and “friendship quilt,” go back to the nineteenth century. “Album quilt” might be the older name as in an 1848 account of prizes at a New York fair.  Mrs. William Hill won $1, second prize for” an ingenious Album quilt,” perhaps like this classic album pattern.

6 ---8287-18 and woman

Barbara has been collecting photographs of women posed  with albums and other important books.

7 tis sweet to be remembered

Barbara has found many sweet sentiments inscribed on old blocks.

“Tis sweet to be remembered, Caroline Yearborough, Buckingham, 1848”

8--1853-8 southernstates

Quilters favored several patterns just for album quilts. This Southern quilt in a design sometimes called Chimney Sweep is from the 1850s and similar to the Free Pattern for the Ladies’s Album collection. (See below)

9 --8281-13 w woman

“An album quilt is a pretty idea.” Godey’s Lady’s Book, 1857