|Embroidery and Patchwork Revisited, by Janice Vaine. |
See grahamcrackercollection.com for more about Jan.
Last spring our local quilt shop mentioned that they had some customers who were looking for a crazy quilt class and asked if we would be able to put something together. We of course said yes and put together a couple of samples for the new class that would take place in the fall.
|Kara's crazy quilt sampler|
|Teri's crazy quilt sampler|
In both samplers, we used a few motifs from Jan's book, and found inspiration for others from pictures or in our gardens.
|All velvet crazy quilt, approximately 72-inches square, dated around 1930.|
|Detail: each block is about 18" square. |
Note the tree embroidered in the center, found in the
center of each block, always placed on a red patch.
Our crazy quilting class was such a success and the demand so high that we ended up teaching two classes this past fall and have another one scheduled this month. We were both surprised at the response to our class, but shouldn't have been surprised that many others shared our love for this particular quilt genre. What is it about these quilts that catches our attention, and how did this style begin?
Piecing small pieces of worn out garments into blankets had been a practice since the Colonial times, but it didn't become an art form until the Victorian era. Some crazy quilts were made with nostalgia in mind and might have scraps of garments that brought thoughts of special people or special days. Other crazy quilts were made by wealthy ladies as a way to showcase there needlework talents. Japanese art greatly influenced the motifs and settings in these Victorian-era quilts.
When I was in Maine this past fall, I was fortunate to see an amazing crazy quilt. The stunning quilt was a fine example of a Victorian-era quilt. The embroidery was mostly done in vibrant shades of silk perle, and the motifs and edge stitches were clever and creative. That quilt was a splendid example of why I think crazy quilts are so intriguing—that you almost always see something different every time you look at them.
|Carla's quilt, detail|
|Carla's crazy quilt|
Given our penchant for stories, we found this adorable reprint of a Victorian postcard that depicted Little Red Riding Hood at Grandma's house and have pieced this block using more embellishment. At some point in the future, this will be another class and will allow our students to broaden their repertoire of skills that can be used on their crazy quilts.
|Little Red Riding Hood, as stitched by Kara|
The sky is the limit nowadays as to what a crazy quilt can look like and what fabrics, fibers and details can be used. Some are simple with just embroidery, and some have fantastic embellishments throughout. A crazy quilt can be themed with a story, or with color elements, or even using one type of fabric such as silk or velvets. Every crazy quilt is unique to its maker and his or her tastes, and not necessarily a reflection of the maker's mental state . . . well, okay, we may be a LITTLE crazy!