Pieced Quilts:Crazy
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Crazy Quilt

Crazy Quilt

Amish Crazy Quilt

Amish Crazy Quilt

Amish Crazy Quilt

Amish Crazy Quilt


  The Illinois State museum is lucky to have in its collection crazy quilts made in the Victorian style and by Illinois Amish quilters.

A "Crazy Quilt" is a quilt top made of pieces or patches of irregular size and shape, often sewed into square blocks. 

Victorian Crazy Quilts

Victorian Crazy Quilts were made of combinations of silks, velvets, drapery and upholstery fabrics, men's ties, and other bits and pieces. Embroidered and painted motifs like flowers and birds often embellished the quilt pieces. Crazy quilts and throws were sometimes put on sofas, pianos, and pillows, as well as beds.

Amish Crazy Quilts
The Illinois State Museum has a large collection of Illinois Amish quilts. Two of them are rare crazy quilts, created with a unique Amish aesthetic. Amish crazy quilts were usually made of solid fabrics in strong colors. Some Amish crazy quilts, from Pennsylvania and other communities, were embroidered. Perhaps this practice was considered too showy among the Illinois Amish.

Crazy quilting may be a name that Americans used to describe the style of the first Japanese quilted clothing they saw. In 1876, the Philadelphia Centennial Celebration featured exhibits of Japanese decorative arts. Japanese kirihame, a type of pieced silk used in Samurai clothing from the sixteenth century, was probably shown at this exhibit. Americans may have seen some of these Japanese pieced costumes and adapted the technique to quilts that came to be known as Crazy Quilts. 

After the first trade treaty between Japan and the United States was signed in 1853, Japanese silk was cheaper to import to the United States. Quilters could afford to buy it for their quilts and clothing that might be recycled later into quilts.


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