What qualifies as an “Oregon Quilt?”

The quilt must be in Oregon when it is documented.  It can be old or new, made elsewhere, or it may be going to another location, but it must be recorded within the boundaries of our state.  Quilt tops that have not been quilted, “summer quilts” (with a backing but no quilt padding), tied quilts and quilted garments may also be documented.  As there is a charge to document each item the owner may decide how many she/he wants to have recorded.  The charge, averaging $10.00/item, covers the costs of the documentation.

What is the documentation process?

Documentation Days may be scheduled in any community in Oregon.  They should be organized by a team of local volunteers with an interest in quilts and recording their histories.  The local group should have some training and use the OQP forms to insure consistency and thoroughness.

A documentation consists of two parts: a history of the quilt and its maker, and a physical examination of the quilt.  When a Documentation Day is planned, the local organizing group should make an appointment for each quilt (at least 30 minutes per item).  A Quilt History form (3 pages) should be provided in advance to the owner for each item being documented.  The owner then brings the completed form and the quilt to the Documentation Day.  The form is reviewed with the person bringing in the quilt to make sure it is as complete as possible.  If the quilt owner does not know the history of the quilt or its maker, or is unsure of details, some history of the quilt can still be gleaned from the textile itself.   Inheritors or purchasers of a quilt are often surprised at what the textile itself can reveal!  If you have photographs of the maker(s), recipient or owner, publicity about the quilt or where it may have been exhibited, photocopies should be included.

The second part of the documentation is a physical examination of the quilt itself by a documentation team. The quilt is opened flat on a table and information about the top, back, batting and condition are recorded.  It is measured and its pattern is noted, using several universally accepted reference sources.

This is not a quilt appraisal for insurance or sale value.  The Oregon Quilt Project cannot tell the owner “what the quilt is worth.”  That service should be provided by a qualified quilt appraiser.

After the Quilt History and Physical History are collected, a photograph of the quilt will be taken.  If the owner wishes to share the information and photo through The Quilt Index (see that section) for research purposes, a Release Form will be signed (one form can be used for all of the quilts that are documented).


Recommended Reference Books

We have some recommended reference books for dating and identifying quilts.

Dating Fabrics – two editions by Eileen Trestain:

Encyclopedia of Applique  by Barbara Brackman


Recommended Resources to Conduct Documentation Days

  • large tables (at least 3 that are 8 foot long)
  • a large work space with good lighting
  • digital SLR camera with high capacity memory card
  • quilt stand
  • clipboards
  • A-clamps / or fixtures for hanging quilts
  • pencils, office supplies
  • tape measures
  • reference books
  • Oregon Quilt Project labels
  • volunteers (we recommend at least 8)