From the Collection–Wisconsin Crazy Quilt
The Philadelphia Centennial Exposition was a big event in Victorian society. One of the most popular exhibits was the Japanese pavilion with its fascinating crazed ceramics and asymmetrical art. Women were eager to incorporate this new look into their quilts and with the help of popular women’s magazines the making of crazy quilts became quite the rage. Creativity was wide open with women sewing asymmetrical pieces of fabric together in abstract arrangements. This enthusiasm for this quilting fad continued until about Early quilts made in the crazy style were more show pieces than functional and were often made as smaller unquilted “lap robes” that were used to decorate the parlor. They were fitting showpieces for the lavish interior decoration of the day. These quilts were usually made using velvet, silk and brocade fabric, cut and pieced in random shapes. What a perfect way for women to show off their needlework skills! Using silk thread, women placed lovely decorative stitches on each seam.
“A little scrap for recollection’s sake”: Quilts from the Concord Museum
Crazy quilts became popular across America after the Philadelphia Centennial Exposition. Although the exact origins of crazy quilting are unknown, it is believed that Japanese design inspired this style of quilting. The quilts were constructed using irregular scraps of fabric held together by decorative embroidery stitches. Amelia was born in and grew up in Kutztown, Pa.
She married Daniel Boone Linderman whose initials are embroidered on the quilt on January 29, In November of that same year, they moved to the Leech Lake Indian Reservation in north-central Minnesota, at that time home to the Minnesota Chippewa also known as the Ojibwe people.
Exquisitely illustrated with images of crazy quilts over time, this book is as delightful Crazy Quilts,TheStitcher’s Language of Flowers, and theFabric Dating Kit.
They made the production of a families clothing, MUCH easier, and this, coupled with the ability to purchase ready made cloth, allowed the American woman more time, from what had been a pretty utilitarian need for clothing a family, and to allow her to create with an eye toward beauty There is often a similarity in design, from state to state, and it sure would be wonderful to trace one, from place to place – quilter to quilter.
These 4 block appliques continued well into the s, depending on where the quilter lived In , the American public was introduced, though the World Exposition in Philly, to fabrics and designs from all over the world This helped to usher in the next big change in quilts Woman, freed from the need to produce fabric and hand sew clothing, were now able to create these works of art, and decorate them with wonderful embroidery.
By Mrs. CMC D Originally, the Crazy Quilt was one of the most economical of patterns, using up all the odd-shaped scraps of fabric that might otherwise have gone to waste. By the late Victorian era, however, quilting had begun its metamorphosis from necessary domestic task to leisure pastime. Women now quilted as a means of self-expression, and among their creations were Crazy Quilts of incredible colour and richness.
They often incorporated fabrics of such fragility that the quilt could never have been used as an ordinary bedcover.
Originally, the Crazy Quilt was one of the most economical of patterns, using up who made this quilt worked a monogram and the date, , into her creation.
The term ” crazy quilting ” is often used to refer to the textile art of crazy patchwork and is sometimes used interchangeably with that term. Crazy quilting does not actually refer to a specific kind of quilting the needlework which binds two or more layers of fabric together , but a specific kind of patchwork lacking repeating motifs and with the seams and patches heavily embellished. A crazy quilt rarely has the internal layer of batting that is part of what defines quilting as a textile technique.
Crazy quilts differ from “regular” quilts in other ways as well. Because the careful geometric design of a quilt block is much less important in crazy quilts, the quilters are able to employ much smaller and more irregularly shaped pieces of fabric. In comparison to standard quilts, crazy quilts are far more likely to use exotic pieces of fabric, such as velvet , satin , tulle , or silk , and embellishments such as buttons , lace , ribbons , beads , or embroidery.
Crazy quilting as a textile art is extremely creative and free-flowing by nature, and crazy quilters will often learn as much about specific embellishments as they will about crazy quilting itself. Crazy quilts are extremely labor-intensive. A Harper’s Bazaar article from estimated that a full-size crazy quilt could take 1, hours to complete.
Crazy Quilt History: A Victorian Craze
Its demensions are 67 inches by 77 inches. Photo courtesy of the Marquette Regional History Center. Our research found many interesting connections between Flavia Barbeau Mrs. James Pendill and Margaret Childs Mrs. Frederick Read but none quite as striking as their needlework skills as masters of Crazy Quilting.
patchwork, signature quilts and crazy quilts, most dating from the second half of the nineteenth century. Also included in the exhibition were patterns, quilt tops.
And I think it’s old, but I don’t know how old. I purchased it at an estate sale, the second day of an estate sale. APPRAISER: Well, pieces such as this are called crazy quilts, and they were made all over the United States, so it’s not regional, and they are made primarily of silk fabric, and they were done in America right around , This is the craziest crazy quilt I have ever seen. It is just an absolute explosion of graphics and colors and forms. We have the signature of the maker right down here.
And it’s a woman by the name of Lucy Cox. And it’s interesting that she signed it in such small letters, although she did put a big “L” over here, possibly for “Lucy. And I think the maker of this quilt clearly embraced those theories. In terms of valuation, do you have any idea what your three-dollar investment is, nowadays?
APPRAISER: Well, crazy quilts, we see a lot of them, and typically, the problem with them that holds their value down or makes them in some cases unsaleable is the fact that the silk fabric starts to shred. So condition is a key factor. You’re looking at maybe the top one percent of the crazy quilts here, because the condition is marvelous and it is just, as I said, a visual delight, a visual explosion, and very, very labor-intensive.
CRAZY FOR CRAZY QUILTS
These kind of quilts date back to the Victorian Era. These pieces of fabric often came from garments used for special events i. I am not really a Crazy Quilt kind of girl … I fit more into the patchwork genre. Crazy quilts seemed to be too haphazard; placing all different colored pieces here and there to get a mixed-together design. This fits my personality better.
How the centennial exposition launched the Crazy Quilt craze and how women’s magazines promoted the making of ‘crazies’, a fad that lasted for years.
The crazy quilt was anything but “crazy. This beautiful book traces the bewitching history of the ever-changing but ever-popular “Crazies” from their earliest origins to the present day. Distinguished quilting teacher, lecturer, appraiser, and restorer Cindy Brick follows the crazy quilt through colonial times, the Civil War, and the Victorian era.
She describes the crazy quilts influence on modern-day quilts. And she decodes the meaning of the curious images stitched into these quilts, from flowers to fans and farm animals. Along with this history, the book includes a detailed how-to section on constructing crazy quilts.
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The heyday of Victorian Crazy quilting was circa However, these quilts were made from until the late ‘s. Any Crazy quilt containing a date prior to , would most likely indicate a special date from the family’s history. During the height of the Victorian era, homes could not have enough embellishment. Women wholeheartedly threw themselves into decorating every inch of the floors, walls and furniture. The culture of the times was full of symbolism, poetry and romance.
Read Crazy Quilts: History – Techniques – Embroidery Motifs book reviews Crazy Quilts, The Stitcher\us Language of Flowers, and the Fabric Dating Kit.
Although the technique of quilting existed throughout history quilted items have been discovered in Egyptian tombs, for example, and French knights used quilted jackets under their armor , quilts as we think of them didn’t start showing up on the American scene until just prior to I believe the earliest existing European quilts are a pair of whole cloth trapunto ones, telling the story of Tristan and Isolde dating from the early ‘s.
The oldest quilts in the Smithsonian collection go back to about A side note from The Patchwork Pilgrimage :. In colonial America, thread and needles were expensive. Cotton was not readily available – the cotton gin was not invented until – and so the majority of fabrics used in clothing were linens, wools and silks. What you might have seen prior to were quilted petticoats, worn for warmth. Quilts were almost always made of wool, unless they were remade from bed curtains or quilted petticoats.
However, the idea that all early quilts were made of worn clothing is a myth. Not to say that there weren’t any, but it is far more likely that a quilt would be made out of fabric bought specifically for that purpose, possibly to match bed curtains. It might also use the extra fabric left over after making clothes. While it is true that many women were weaving their own fabrics in the early ‘s, the tremendous time and energy needed to produce hand woven goods was generally not put into a luxury such as a quilt.
A home weaver would be more likely to weave a blanket or coverlet.