Sunday, December 23, 2007

antique crazies

In addition to making modern crazy quilts, I collect antique crazy quilts. And not just crazy quilts, but needlework booklets, some needlework tools and other vintage linens. There had been discussion on a list about a book which talks about historical quilting news. Mention was made of a catalog which listed items in a crazy work exhibit. I have a catalog similar in my collection. The cover is shown above. Inside, there is a listing of 1808 items on exhibit. There are also ideas for crazy quilt stitches within the catalog.

Not everything listed is of a crazy nature. Examples:
7. Picture, "English Line of Battle Ship," worked by Capt. Thomas Wood, during his leisure hours at sea. For sale.
115. A painting on Velvet, exhibited by Mrs. H. C. Blake.
202. Pillow Shams, drawn thread, exhibited by Miss A. McDonald.
1443. Crocheted skirt, exhibited by Miss Mary Woods.

Some of the crazies:
2. Crazy Quilt, consists of 5,000 pieces, exhibited by Miss Ella McArthur.
19. Pin Cushion of Crazy Work, made forty years ago, exhibited by Mrs. Roach.
29. Sofa Pillow of Crazy Work, exhibited by Mrs. I. W. Derby, made by a gentleman, and contains 2,500 pieces.
42. Crazy Quilt, entered by Miss H.I. Ellis, made of pieces of the dresses of the leading society ladies in Washington.
123. Crazy Chair, upholstered by the exhibitor, Mrs. E. Dunne.
189. Crazy Quilt, made by a lady sixty-four years of age, exhibited by Mrs. Thos. Cahill.
273. Crazy Fan, exhibited by Mrs. H. Hart

Interesting to note that in this 1885 exhibit, #19 was a "Pin Cushion of Crazy Work", made forty years ago. That would make it 1845. I would like to see what the pin cushion looked like! Was it as I define crazy quilting now, i.e., random piecing and decorative embroidery? If so, that would date crazy quilting well before the 1876 centennial exhibition. I believe crazy quilting had been around for a number of years and simply acquired the name of crazy quilting (or crazy patch or crazy patchwork or crazy word) after the centennial exhibition of 1876. The mosaic-like patches in a crazy quilt reminded viewers of the crackled/crazed glazing on Japanese pottery of the time.

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