From the Collections: Crazy Quilts

Crazy Quilt from the Richfield Historical Society Collections

The Richfield Historical Society’s Crazy Quilts are among the most colorful pieces in our collections. Crazy quilting was a popular 18th and 19th century patchwork style which used small and often time exotic pieces of fabric to create a collage with no particular pattern. Quilters would use silks, satins, and velvets – along with more conventional materials – to create brightly colored designs where texture, embroidery, and embellishments were often as important as the pattern itself.

Crazy quilt with more simple patchwork

Making crazy quilts was meant to be fun and creative – a break from the more traditional and rigid quilting patterns also popular at the time. It was also a great way to use up all those odd and uneven scraps that would otherwise have to be thrown out.

Despite being called “quilts,” most crazy quilts, including the ones in our collection, aren’t quilts at all, but just decorative patchwork. Lacking the interior batting and multiple layers, they provided little warmth and were mostly used decoratively. Some were even fashioned into robes or bags.

Tell us about your experiences with Crazy Quilts by leaving a comment or visiting our Facebook page and learn more about are collections by visiting the Richfield History Center on Wednesdays and Saturdays 12-4.

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