Amish Crazy Quilt

Mrs. Eli Hershberger (Elizabeth Kauffman), Arthur, Illinois. From the Illinois Amish Quilt Collection, sponsored by Illinois Power.

This unusual Amish quilt, from a collection of over 100 made in Illinois, illustrates the unexpected spontaneity and experimentation of Amish quilters in this state. Crazy quilts made from randomly assembled scraps of fabric had been popular among non-Amish quilters since the 1870s but were rare among the Amish. Mrs. Hershberger worked within the confines of her religious beliefs by using plain fabrics and foregoing embroidered ornamentation on her crazy quilt. The large collection of Amish quilts at the Illinois State Museum includes examples of many styles of quiltmaking practiced in Illinois and offers many opportunities for study.