BLOCK Friday: Primitive Quilts – Fons & Porter

American Eagle Penny Rug by Marianne Fons & Liz Porter

As you may have noticed, BLOCK Friday isn’t just about quilt blocks, but also focuses on types of quilts. Primitive quilts have created quite a buzz within the quilting community as of late, although the primitive style has been around since the founding of the country. I happen to be a fan of the style – a country-like, nostalgic feel. Primitive quilts are warm and inviting and they take advantage of the art of appliqué, which is a fantastic quilting skill-building technique that opens many doors for prospective quilting projects.

Primitive quilts have several unique characteristics that cause you to look at a quilt and say, “Oh yes, that’s a primitive quilt, alright,” but the style is not so easy to define. As I already mentioned, appliqué is big with these quilts, as is wool and rich, warm earthy tones. You often see this folksy-style with penny rugs, like American Eagle, and appliqué projects, whether they be pillows, table quilt patterns, or bed-size quilt patterns. When speaking of penny rugs, here’s a bit of historical context: in the 19th century, a “rug” was an item to display on a table, bed, or dresser and floor covering was referred to as “carpet.”

Let’s have a look at contemporary versions of this sought-after style:

Summer Sampler - Primitive Quilts
Summer Sampler by Lisa Bongean

The Summer Sampler table quilt pattern uses wool and appliqué in its design. One look at this table topper and it’s apparent that it is indeed, fashioned after the primitive style. The appliqué birds, flowering branches and letters are done in earth-tones and the black background really lets them shine through. This table topper has symmetry, but it has a somewhat free-hand feel, which speaks loudly of a folk-style piece. This one is perfect for a fall table.

Winter Wonderland - Primitive Quilts
Winter Wonderland by Norma Whaley

Winter Wonderland is a primitive wall hanging quilt pattern with a lot of fun details, including plaid Ohio Star quilt blocks in the center of the quilt.  Again, earth tones are the name of the game and this primitive quilt has plenty of appliqué to go around. The folksy scene in this quilt brings a feeling of simpler times into the home for the holidays. The homespun fabrics in muted plaids, soft flannels, and tiny prints appeal to the nostalgic quilter who wants to make this a keepsake quilt that will be a joy to see year after year.

A Cat Fright Sight - Primitive Quilts
A Cat Fright Sight by Jean Devereux

It seems as if we have a holiday theme going here! Primitive quilts do make excellent quilts for festive occasions. A Cat Fright Sight is a lovely example of a holiday quilt for the fall season. This primitive-looking mini quilt features kitty, pumpkin, fence, moon and stars appliqué and is a quilt that will be displayed every year. The stitching in the letters and around the fence, moon and stars is also indicative of the primitive style, adding to the folksy look that helps to define this type of quilt.

Have you made a primitive quilt yet? What do you think of this style? Share your thoughts on primitive quilts with me – I’m always up for learning something new!

Carrie Sisk, Online Editor, Fons & Porter


Happy Quilting!
Carrie Sisk, Fons & Porter, Online Editor

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