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Quilt, Crazy
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Title: Quilt, Crazy
Identifier: 2006.10.15.1
Donor: Sandra Lindsay
Item Date: 1852 – 1935
Creation Date: 2012
Location: Bradley Museum

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Description: (1) A multi-coloured geometric quilt remnant, measuring 60 cm x 63 cm. It is made up of large patches (20 cm x 21 cm) each filled with geometric shapes. All pieces are sewn together with various embroidery stitches. Eight of the large patches have names embroidered on them: Harry, Josalie, Minnie, Jack, Reta, Mother, Mary, Viblock, May. One large patch has a small (9 cm x 2 cm) section cut out of it, leaving a hole. The patch with the name Minnie also has a hole where a triangular (9 cm x 4 cm) section has been cut out. This removed section is pinned beside the hole and embroidery on it reads: "June 6th 1825".

(2) Another portion (42 cm x 42 cm) of the same quilt as (1), but a smaller remnant of four large patches. Three patches each have a small piece of fabric pinned to them, apparently ready to be embroidered with a name. One patch has a small piece of fabric pinned to it and this piece has the name "Audy" embroidered.

The names on the quilt date from 1852 to the early twentieth century. The names are members of the donor's family. This item was donated by Sandra Lindsay as a "Crazy quilt remnants found among her mother's things." Her mother was Jean Hodgetts Lindsay (1919-2003). Jean was a long-time volunteer of Benares Historic House and a childhood friend of Barbara Sayers Larson.

Crazy Quilts, also known as Puzzle Patchwork or Japanese Patchwork, were made of irregular pieces of fabric, decorated with ornamental stitching and motifs. Influenced by Japanese art and culture, and introduced during the Expositions in London (1862) and Philadelphia (1872), Crazy Quilts fit in perfectly with the heavy and dark décor of the times. The goal of these quilts was to create the most lavish and colourful cover with no straight lines or neat angles. The patches were sewn onto a background and were made from many expensive fabrics like velvet and silk, although more utilitarian fabrics were also used.

Crazy Quilts were usually smaller than regular quilts and were more decorative than functional, since washing of these quilts was difficult due to the very nature of all the fabrics used. Embroidery was a dominant element in crazy quilts. Often women’s magazines supplied popular motifs including flowers, animals, insects and fans. The interest in this style of quilt had died down after the 1880’s and had nearly vanished by 1910. More of a fashionable fad rather than enduring style, these quilts have made a comeback today and have become quite collectable.
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