May 16, 2014

Crazy Quilt Embroidery and Family History

Here are some lovely embroidery details from a crazy quilt c. 1890-1900.  Family history has it that this quilt was made by a group of "church ladies", possibly a church sewing circle.  There are certainly some areas of stitching that are done with much more finesse than others, which supports the oral history.  The quilt belonged to the current owner's ancestor, Mabel Connelly, who was a farm wife in central Indiana.  The quilt has had a hard life, very mistreated for many decades.  So there is little left of many of the fabrics. The embroidery still has lots of life left in it though, and the artistry of the makers still shines out.

Lovely embellished initials, probably representing Mabel's husband.

Another set of initials, the person not known to the quilt's current owner.

Pansies are scattered around the quilt.

The velvet stripe on the left is a marvelous fabric.

And there are other flowers as well.

There are animals, too.

And there are references to life in farm country - a sheaf of wheat, and a cow.

Here's a pretty little vase.

And here's a ....... slipper.  I have never seen a slipper on a crazy quilt before!

In some places where the silk is totally missing, the foundation fabrics show, and help date the quilt.

The back fabric is wonderful.  I think it is more recent than the top, still old, but not quite as old.

The quilt owner decided to keep it as is rather than having me repair it.  We had a fine time exploring all the personal touches on this quilt.  Even with so many missing and badly worn fabrics, it still tells a wonderful story of time and place.


  1. Replies
    1. Hey, Mary Beth! Hi! Yeah, this is a really sweet quilt. And the photos manage to make it look in better condition than it really is. I guess I only photographed the more intact places. I really do love that water bird - heron or egret - amongst the cattails.

  2. You know crazy quilts are one of my favorites!