Crazy Quilting, Cross Stitch and Embroidery Blog


Add This To

Free Patterns

Never Ending Sampler Stitch-Along - Click Here

Little Pumpkin Biscornu Free Counted Cross Stitch Pattern

Little Bird On A Snowflake Free Counted Cross Stitch Pattern

Little Bird On An Apple Free Counted Cross Stitch Pattern

Free Vintage Embroidery Pattern - Peacock

Free Vintage Embroidery Pattern - Bluebirds

Patriotic Cross Stitch Freebie Pattern

Easter Egg Robin - Free Counted Cross Stitch Pattern for Easter

Right click on image and then click "Save As" - Print with any graphic software and Enjoy!

Good Luck Robin - Free Counted Cross Stitch Pattern for St. Patricks Day!

 Right click on image and then click "Save As".  Print with any graphic software.

Free Charted Flower Borders for Crazy Quilting

Right click on image and click "Save As".  Print with any graphic software.
Also, please respect my copyrights and do not share anywhere else on the internet.

Autumn Blackwork Cat - Free Counted Cross Stitch Pattern

Right click on image and click "Save As".  Print with any graphic software.
Also, please respect my copyrights and do not share anywhere else on the internet.

The History Of Victorian Crazy Quilting

The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines a Crazy Quilt as "a patchwork quilt without a design."  That really doesn't tell us much about Victorian Crazy Quilting. defines Crazy Quilts as "unique type of patchwork that reached the height of it's popularity in the Victorian era (late 1800's).  Irregularly shaped scraps of silks and velvets are pieced together, then lavishly embroidered.  The term "crazy" is defined as full of cracks or flaws, as having the appearance of crazed pottery, broken into irregular segments.  These quilts only seem to be the work of lunatics."
And that was the general consensus of non-Crazy Quilters regarding Crazy Patchwork back at its height of popularity during the Victorian age (1837 - 1901).

It is said the first official World's Fair, the Centennial Exposition, held in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, in the year 1876, commemorating the 100th anniversary of the signing of The Declaration of Independence, was a major influence in the commencement of Crazy Quilt Mania.

Until then, quilts were utilitarian, made for the purpose of warmth and comfort.  Mostly worked with geometric patterns and mainly made from used clothing.

The most popular exhibit at the Centennial Exposition was from Japan.  "Crazed" porcelain vases with irregular shapes became the rage.  Women flocked to this exhibit to see the "crazed" artwork and it is assumed that the Japanese "crazed" work was the inspiration for what became known as Crazy Quilts.

Other influences that instigated the Crazy Quilt fad were that of the invention of sewing machines in America in 1850, by Isaac Singer.  The first sewing machine was actually invented in the 1700's in Europe.  Other machines were invented in America but it was Isaac Singer who made the first hands-free treadle sewing machine.

Finally, due to the industrial revolution, fancy fabrics such as silks, velvets, and brocades, which at one time were inaccessible to those of limited means due to being manufactured in Europe, were now readily available in America and actually quite affordable to the middle class.

Keep in mind as well, that American economy during the Reign of Queen Victoria was very good.  Women were now able to afford household help, which gave them more time to pursue the delicate fancywork of needle and thread.

With all that said, Crazy Quilting became the "pastime" of choice for women.  Iregularly shaped pieces of silk, velvet, and other fancy fabrics were sewn down onto a muslin foundation.  No rhyme or reason.  Just sew them down and add fancy hand embroidery stitches to cover the seams.

Sometimes beads were added and small mementos that could be sewn on to the quilt were saved for special places here and there amidst the insanity.  Many beautiful embroidered motifs of animals and flowers were stitched in the centers of the patches and women who were well versed in decorative painting would sometimes paint images onto their crazy quilts.

Finished crazy quilts were never intended as utilitarian quilts.  Their sole purpose was to show off the maker's embroidery skills.  They were used as piano covers and draped across the backs of sofas.  Meant only for the sake of visual beauty.

The Crazy Quilt fad faded out in the 1920's, and was brought back to life in the 1980's, when Penny McMorris wrote a book called non other than, Crazy Quilts.

Today, Crazy Quilting has taken on a more contemporary look.  Extreme embellishment is the rage and with the variety of fabrics, threads, ribbons, lace, beads and other embellishments available to us today, there is no limit to what can be done with this most elegant of needlework art.

Copyright 2010, Pamela Kellogg

Free Charted Borders for use with Waste Canvas

To learn more about using charted borders with Waste Canvas on crazy quilt seams, please see my Elegant Crazy Quilt Seam Treatment books at Magcloud.

Free graphic images for your printing enjoyment! 

Printable Digital Art Tags

My Own Digital Art Postcards.  Enjoy!

Vintage Greeting Cards from my personal collection.

These are my own digital art Fractals.  Computer generated art.  Please feel free to use them in your artwork, send them as postcards or use them on your desktop as wallpaper.

These are antique, hand painted Berlin Wool Work cards from Germany.  They are from Wiener-Stickmuster.  I found them years ago at an antique shop.  I've scanned them at 400 DPI so a print out should be quite readable and easy to stitch from!


Denise Withrow said...

Your work is beautiful! I am a program director for the Tucson Quilter's Guild. I wonder if you teach Crazy Quilting for guilds?

Kate said...

Beautiful designs - thank you.

Related Posts with Thumbnails