American Crazy Quilt

American crazy quilt, c. 1885. American crazy quilt, c. 1885.

An American crazy quilt is a form of patchwork quilt, frequently lacking an inner batting, made of irregular shapes with no repeating motifs. Such quilts were often made of a mix of materials, for example, combining linsey-woolsey with calico or linen. Some authorities believe the crazy quilt’s roots lie in colonial America, when every scrap of fabric was utilized and re-used for as long as possible.

Some women would work on two quilts at the same time: one quilt would be to showcase her needlework and fine stitches. This would be sewn during daylight hours. At night, when the lighting was bad, the remains of fabric from this quilt might be stitched together for a second quilt.

Other authorities believe the crazy quilt was influenced by the 'International Exhibition of Arts, Manufacture and Products of the Soil and Mine', a World’s Fair held in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (USA) in 1876. The exhibit from Japan included pottery with a crackled glaze and textile designs with more asymmetrical patterns than Americans were accustomed to.

Crazy quilting became very popular in the USA in the late 1880's (they were still being made up to the 1920's), when middle-class and wealthier women began mixing velvets, tulle, silk, and pieces cut from wedding dresses in the quilts, and decorating them with lace, buttons, ribbons and satin stitches.

See also American crazy patchwork


Digital source of illustration (retrieved 30 June 2016).


Last modified on Tuesday, 14 February 2017 10:08
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