Crazy quilts, made by women as a leisurely pursuit and used as decorative parlor throws, were extremely popular throughout the United States in the 1880s and 1890s. The crazy quilt fad embraced asymmetry and bold colors and made the structured patterns of traditional quilts seem outdated. In this time period, women experimented with different types of fabrics, needlework, and patterns in an attempt to showcase both their skills as seamstresses and their creativity as designers. The quilts were also created as memory quilts with some containing silk-screen portraits, initials, and rings sewn in to memorialize people or events. Some quilts even have pieces of clothing with sentimental value incorporated into the quilt such as a wedding dress, communion dress, or soldiers uniform. This exhibition will trace the brief history of this unique style of quilt in the context of the period’s increasing industrialization and explore how women expressed their creativity through crazy quilts.
Credit: Exhibition overview from museum website
Whether or not you go, Crazy Quilts: History - Techniques - Embroidery Motifs follows the crazy quilt from colonial times, the Civil War, the Victorian era, and through today, decoding the mystery and meaning of these curious quilts. Made from the finest silks, satins, and velvets and stitched together with elaborate embroidery, the crazy quilt is a testament to quilters’ rich imagination and artistry. This beautiful book traces the bewitching history of “Crazies” from their earliest origins to the present day.