What is a Baltimore Album Quilt?

Baltimore Album Quilts are a very popular style of applique quilts made up of square blocks.  Blocks contain a variety of beautiful designs, from floral, ships, birds, baskets, important buildings, animals, and so on.  This very ornate style of quilt began in Baltimore, Maryland in the middle of the 18th century.   The applique was usually sewn on white or muslin squares, but today anything goes!
In the beginning of their popularity, Baltimore was the 2nd largest city in the United States, and it making a Baltimore Album quilt was a sign of position in society.  Blocks were designed by the maker, and were normally made of new fabric (whereas patchwork quilts utilized clothing scraps, reflecting a lower level of status). After the Civil War, many changes in the manufacturing and dying of fabric came about, and these were reflected in the album quilts.  It is normal to see a Baltimore Album quilt with writing in indelible ink by the maker incorporated into at least a few of the blocks.  Poetry, sayings, the maker’s name and date were all popular inclusions. Because each quilt was carefully designed, sewn and quilted, thousands of hours went into their making, thus producing a family heirloom. 
I LOVE Sue Garman’s “Friends of Baltimore” quilt.  This is a perfect example of what a Baltimore Album quilt looks like.

Friends of Baltimore used with permission by Sue Garman
This quilt is available as a Block of the Month:

One can’t mention Baltimore Album quilts without mentioning Elly Sienkiewicz, who brought about a renewed interest in this beautiful quilt style. Elly’s numerous books and patterns are available and will be of great help should you choose to continue practicing your applique with a Baltimore Album of your own!  A few books shown below will help guide you.