Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Crazy Quilt

Some folks are lucky enough to have quilts that have been handed down and now are either collectibles or antiques. I only have one quilt like that, but I am thrilled to have it. It is a crazy quilt that was made by mom's great-aunt; probably sometime in the late 1800's. We don't have a specific date and we don't have any information like why she made it and if she ever made any others. Maybe she just tried to make a crazy quilt on a whim because it was a popular activity back then. Crazy quilts were quite the fad in the 1880's. They were made of a variety of fabrics and heavily embellished and hand embroidered.

My quilt has satin, silk, velvet and even some type of faux fur in it. I had it appraised by a very knowledgeable and certified quilt appraiser. She said that the embroidery in this quilt was quite unusual. Most embroidery in crazy quilts has some meaning behind it. The appraiser speculated that maybe since the quilt was made in Montana that might have been the significance behind some of the embroidery, like the embroidered wheat stalks.

This little frog is an example of some of the embroidery. It is a little uncharacteristic for Victorian crazy quilts to have frogs.

This ornate stork is more characteristic of the typical embroidery on crazy quilts.

From all of the pictures you can see the ornate stitching that adorns the entire quilt. These embroidery stitches are my favorite thing about the quilt. They are so colorful and varied and unique.

Unfortunately there are several damaged areas in the quilt. The appraiser said that since most of the damage was on the silk squares, it was very likely that silk dresses were used. She explained that during this time period the silk for dresses were chemically bonded with a metal salt. This caused the silk to rustle which evidently was highly desirable. Using such a caustic treatment has caused the silk to deteriorate over time. She said that there was nothing that could be done and it was unlikely that there would be that much further deterioration. As a result she encouraged me not to stow this wonderful quilt away, but to display it. So I have. I keep it on a quilt stand in my bedroom. It is an awesome keepsake and I am lucky to have it.

No comments:

Post a Comment