Monday, February 8, 2021

Tile Quilts

 Isn't it funny how you can go a long time--even years--without thinking of a particular thing or quilt pattern and then suddenly the universe throws a bunch of them at you.  This is what has been happening to me with tile quilts.

Every time I think of abstract tile work, I can't help remember the movie How to Make An American Quilt and Gladys' ceramic room.  In a fit of emotion, she broke a lot of ceramics and then adhered them to the wall.  At the end of the movie, she forgives her sister and husband and breaks down the wall.

A while ago, some of the quilt historians discussed tile quilts on social media.  It struck me as odd because at the time, I was following a blog where the quilter was making a tile quilt.  

 I'm not sure when they became popular but surely on and off for the last century.  The style might have been a variation of crazy quilts.

The idea of the tile quilt is straightforward.  Applique scraps of fabric onto a background and leave enough space to give the appearance of grouting around the pieces.

Here's one that was once listed on ebay from the 1940s:

Bobbi Finley posted this photo from ebay years ago on her blog.  Notice the date is 1893. 

Finley wrote a book with Carol Gilham Jones that featured these kinds of quilts.  Tile Quilt Revival might be out of print but I found that etsy had a copy of her book for sale and the ad features many photos you can look at here.

Over the weekend, I was just looking through online sites to see old quilts and found this one for sale at etsy.  It's a tile doll quilt:

Before Christmas, I admired the "Sea Glass Quilts" made by Allie at Exhausted Octopus.  She also gives a class on them.  The quilts use the same technique as tile quilts.  You can look at them here.

Lastly, there's a pdf quilt pattern here for Raw Edged Tile quilts.


Totally unrelated:  Free pattern alert!  One of the groups I followed posted this website with free patterns Here.  

Have a safe and happy day!


  1. I adore tile quilts. We call them "Stonewall" here in Maine. I've made a couple and it is one of the most relaxing forms of applique. Just pick up a scrap and stitch it down! The last one I made was only 30" square, but I made it in the potholder method so I can always make it bigger - wink! Thanks for posting this!

  2. I love this idea and have added it to my “make some day” list. Thanks!

  3. Very interesting post. I enjoyed looking at all the variations of this type of quilt. I bought the book you mentioned years ago and keep thinking I'm going to make one. The sea glass quilts were gorgeous.