Crazy quilting

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
This article is about the textile art. For the DC Comics villain, see Crazy Quilt; for the card game, see Crazy Quilt (solitaire); for the unrelated TV show, see Crazy Quilt (TV Series).
Crazy quilt by Granny Irwin, Museum of Appalachia, Norris, Tennessee

The term "crazy quilting" is often used to refer to the textile art of crazy patchwork and is sometimes used interchangeably with that term. Crazy quilting does not actually refer to a specific kind of quilting (the needlework which binds two or more layers of fabric together), but a specific kind of patchwork lacking repeating motifs. A crazy quilt rarely has the internal layer of batting that is part of what defines quilting as a textile technique.

Rebecca Palmer. Crazy Quilt, 1884. Silk, velvet. Brooklyn Museum

The patches and seams are then usually heavily embellished.


Crazy quilts differ from "regular" quilts in other ways as well. Because the careful geometric design of a quilt block is much less important in crazy quilts, the quilters are able to employ much smaller and more irregularly shaped pieces of fabric. In comparison to standard quilts, crazy quilts are far more likely to use exotic pieces of fabric, such as velvet, satin, tulle, or silk, and embellishments such as buttons, lace, ribbons, beads, or embroidery. Crazy quilting as a textile art is extremely creative and free-flowing by nature, and crazy quilters will often learn as much about specific embellishments as they will about crazy quilting itself.


Crazy quilts became popular in the late 1800s, likely due to the English embroidery and Japanese art that was displayed at the Philadelphia Centennial Exposition. American audiences were drawn to the satin stitches used in English embroidery, which created a painterly surface, which is reflected in many Crazy Quilts. The displays shown at the Japanese pavilion of silk-screened work and Japanese pottery with a cracked-glaze inspired the American audiences. Similar aesthetics began to show up in Crazy Quilts, including unique patterns, and stitching that resembled spider webs and fans.[1]

  1. ^ Workt By Hand Hidden Labor and Historical Quilts. Edited by Katherine Morris. Brooklyn Museum. 2012.

See also[edit]


  • 2008: Cindy Brick. Crazy Quilts: History, Techniques, Embroidery Motifs, Voyageur Press. ISBN 978-0-7603-3237-5.
  • 2000: Christine Dabbs. Crazy Quilting: Heirloom Quilts: Traditional Motifs and Decorative Stitches,Rutledge Hill Press. ISBN 1-55853-694-9.
  • 1995: Judith Baker Montano. Elegant Stitches: An Illustrated Stitch Guide and Source Book of Inspiration, C&T Publishing. ISBN 0-914881-85-X.

External links[edit]

Examples of ways of combining patches in a crazy quilt:

Learn more about crazy quilt history.

An example of a crazy quilt from the Smithsonian.

Modern crazy quilting

Crazy Quilt Art World