Saturday, August 11, 2012

Crazy Thoughts

Crazy quilting is a genre of quilting that comes and goes. Fortunately the style is really adaptable.If you know a bit about textile history, you might characterize crazies primarily as High Victorian needlework (1860-1900). You'd think dramatic colors of silk patches all embellished with fancy stitching. While Victorian crazies certainly are the best known example of the crazy quilt type, crazies occur in other times, made from materials other than silk, and may--or may not-showcase embroidery.

 Americans in particular adapted the crazy method (random patches sewn over a backing) and recycled wools, blankets, old military uniforms, men's pants, and suiting samples into heavier quilts which were often tied rather than quilted. Call these 'country crazies.' Embroidery when done on wool crazy quilts could be quite bold and women found their inspiration everywhere. Even redwork transfers, available through mail order or in magazines, crossed over into crazy territory. Threads used varied from thin wool yarns to silk floss to perle cottons.

While textile historians speculate as to the exact root of crazy quilting, we can't discount the influence of the Arts and Crafts movement (called the Aesthetic Style in England) that produced all manner of quasi-oriental home furnishings, decor, and dress after the Civil War. Or maybe its genesis was the Philadelphia Exposition of 1876 when many Americans saw Oriental ceramics for the first time. Don't tell me this platter from1878 is not in the crazy quilt style!
Cindy Brick's book on crazy quilts is a must-have if you want to study this slightly off-beat branch of quilting.
 I'd recommend the hardback version since it makes a lovely coffee table book.   Order it directly from her and she might even autograph it for you!