Crazy quilts were a popular form of quilting in the late 1800s. At first glance these quilts may seem random and erratic, but these pieces are far from it, hours were spent cutting shapes and trying out various arrangements of the pieces before sewing. Embroidery was also meticulously planned. We find a great variety of stitching styles and embroidered motifs on these quilts; sometimes small pictures were even painted on the fabric. Animals and flowers seem to be the favorite embroidery themes. Some quilters believed that embroidering a spider on its web would bring good luck to the quilter. Crazy quilts occasionally included embroidered verses and information recording family events.
These quilts are one-of-a-kind treasures that reflected a time American history. Historians are not sure of crazy quilts' precise beginnings, but they do agree that their popularity soared in the last quarter of the 1800s, becoming icons of the Victorian era.
Crazy Quilting Today
Modern crazy quilting is still an example of personal expression. It is far more contemporary and easy-to-master, by using modern tools and machines you are able to combine traditional methods with modern fabrics and fibers and create unique quilts that can be treasured.
Caring for an Antique Crazy Quilt
- Hang properly. Appliqué top and bottom casing pockets to the back of the piece. Insert a flat wooden dowel for hanging.
- Allow air to circulate freely. Avoid storing or displaying a crazy quilt behind glass to prevent accumulation of humidity. Also avoid direct sunlight as fabric is subject to fading.
- Never wash a crazy quilt. With outdated dyes and manufacturing methods, antique fabrics are especially vulnerable to bleeding and wear and tear. Treat your crazy quilt as a delicate piece of art.