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Crazy quilting: it's freedom!
Crazy doesn't mean mad. It means no fixed pattern.
Crazy quilters love the freedom that doing their own thing with even the tiniest scrap of ribbon or some satin from a much-loved dress...
One of my students, Margaret, is currently learning how to do crazy patchwork. She's making a quilt for a young girl with crazy patch corner blocks. (One of the blocks is shown in the photo.)
Making-do was a catch phrase of old, but making-do with tiny scraps of fabrics and ribbons to produce quilts must surely be the height of foolishness.
But they are so pretty, and fascinating to explore in detail.
Women collected cigar ribbons to sew into the quilts, while many embroidered oriental motifs into the blocks.
Characteristics of crazy patchwork
quite elaborate work
Crazy patchwork is based on using many differing sized pieces of fabric scraps.
The seamstress applied the tiny pieces to a background foundation of fabric, each piece overlapping the previous one until the whole background was covered.
Often the fabric scraps were from evening gowns or lacy fabrics, and were prone to fraying. The ladies oversewed the seams with embroidery stitches to prevent the patches from fraying.
This made for quite beautiful patchwork, glistening jewel colours in shiny fabrics beside rich deep velvets.
I love the texture and richness of old crazy quilts.
Spider webs, fans, flowers, names
good luck symbols of Victorian times
A spider web is often seen on old crazy quilts, with spider dangling on it somewhere.
Fans of all shapes and sizes are also frequently present.
Many quilts have beautiful floral embroideries on the blocks, and even the names of special people on them.
Cigar silks were sewn in, making shiny accents.
Antique American Crazy quilt - by Granny Irwin
Museum of Appalachia, Norris, Tennessee
Photo from Wikipedia
stitched in lots of colourful threads
Ladies began to show off their embroidery skills while covering the seams with stitches, combining stitches together to make wonderful new stitch designs.
They used floss, silk thread, silk ribbon, wool...
Stitches commonly found - on crazy patch quilts are:
- French knots
- Bullion roses
- Lazy daisy
Some embroidery stitches - for you to followClick thumbnail to view full-size
Crazy but beautiful - gypsy colours or classic creamClick thumbnail to view full-size
Angela and Ian - on their wedding day
Cream laces and satins, apricot silk ribbon flowers the same colour as her bouquet.
no seam embellishment
Modern style crazy patch is sewn by machine and needs no seam covering, as the seams are very strong.
By its nature, modern crazy patchwork is simple, unfussy.
I often use this as a background for the heavily machine-embroidered focal points, like the rosellas below.
Modern crazy patch - Rosellas in my garden
Some crazy links - for you to enjoy
- Crazy Quilting with Attitude
Welcome to the crazy world of the unexpected, stretch of the imagination, color-freedom, whimsy, and outside-the-box
- CQMagOnline.com for Crazy Quilters by Crazy Quilters
A free online quarterly publication covering topics specific to the art of Crazy Quilting. Includes articles, projects and a Reader's Showcase.
- Crazy Quilts: The History of a Victorian Quilt Making Fad
How the 1876 centennial exposition launched the Crazy Quilt craze and how women's magazines promoted the making of 'crazies', a fad that lasted for years.
- 1889 Crazy Blocks Al Dente
1889, crazy blocks, al dente,
- Annies Crazy World
This is Annie Whitsed’s Crazy World a world where I stitch the joys and chaos of life into beautifull crazy quilts.
- Anne's Glory Box - Anne's Glory Box - Books, silk prints, patchwork, cloth doll patterns, fabrics, r
Anne's Glory Box was opened in 1976 by Anne O'Brien and I (hence the name). Originally, the shop stocked quality lingerie, gifts and linens for the glory box or hope chest After some years, Anne retired. The origional philosophy of "giving people wh
- Crazy Patchwork Quilt
From the collection of the Art Gallery of South Australia, AdelaideGift of Dr A W Wall 1972 Creator Rebecca King, artist, 1890-95
© 2009 Jan T Urquhart Baillie