Thursday, March 12, 2009

Antique Crazy Quilt Motifs

I really love antique crazy quilts. I love to look at them, caress them (carefully of course), study them and admire them. I have a nice collection of not only antique quilts, but antique crazy quilt "smalls". Those are items that have been crazy quilted, but aren't quilts. Things like antique tea cozies, scrap album covers, wall pockets, etc. That's part of the reason I decided to host an Antique Crazy Quilt Study Day on May 9.

Part of the fascination lies in the ingenuity that Victorian needlewomen had when faced with a pattern. Very often, patterns were simply line drawings and it was left to the imagination of the stitcher to interpret the drawing. Here's an example:
This line drawing of a fan was taken from the 1886 Ingall's Pattern book. A lovely fan. Here are some stitched versions of this drawing which I have found on antique crazy quilts.

The fan above was stitched with a metallic thread for the surround. Note the painted flowers and butterflies on the velvet ground.

This exquisitely stitched fan is in the NY State Historical Society's collection and dates from 1884. The fan was in the border of a fabulous crazy quilt. The outer blue portion is a silk ribbon which has been tacked down and then stitched upon.
Here's the same pattern, this time as a block in the middle of a lovely antique crazy quilt. Some of the embroidery is chenille work.
And here is the pattern done in redwork. Okay, bluework. Just an stem stitch, but very effective.

Other options might have been to paint the fan onto fabric. Or to use stuffed, dimensional work for some of the flowers. It's lovely that each pattern was open to the imagination of the stitcher.


GailM. said...

Betty, I love that you found these same motifs in various quilts. That's so cool. Great post. I came to your post from Linda Hubbards post.

allie aller said...

Way cool, Betty, to see the different interpretations of this delectable design.
Have you tried your version yet?

How I wish I could attend your study session in May!!!

Iloisa said...

This looks great. When you see the picture alone is a common one, but in a ready quilt looks totally different.