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Object Record

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Catalog Number 1980.141
Description Crazy Quilt, 1884. Multicolor rectangular crazy quilt is 24.5 x 35.5 inches overall. The quilt includes a top pieced layer with embroidery, batting, and calico backing fabric with the wrong side of the stitches showing. There are multiple colors of fabric in the construction of the quilt and the predominant tones are browns, purples, blues, and greens. There is a dark purple rectangular piece of fabric at center that is 5.25 x 8.5 inches. "L A F" is hand-embroidered in a white satin stitch in the center of the piece. The outer edge of the rectangle is embroidered with thread that transitions in color from pink to green to blue and the rectangle also has an inner border of half circles executed in the same multicolor embroidery thread. The quilt is composed of satin, velvet, cotton, and silk fabric in both prints and solids. Several patches are embroidered with flowers and several other have hand painted flowers. Each piece of fabric is outlined with embroidery in crazy quilt styles. At center right a rectangular piece of ivory fabric that is 5.325" x 2.25" has "1884" embroidered in black thread. Around the ivory rectangle is an embroidered border with a floral motif of 10 leaves that are half green and half yellow (corn?). At center left there is a similar piece of ivory fabric that has "1819" embroidered in black thread in the center. It has the same yellow and green embroidery around the edges. Both of the pieces with dates are set vertically, perpendicular to the monogrammed center rectangle. In the same orientation, there is an image of a sun below the 1819 piece at center left and an image of a crescent moon below the 1884 piece at center right. All four corners of the quilt have what appear to be pieces of ribbon in stripes that radiate inwards in a quarter circle that is bordered with a piece of maroon ribbon. The edging of the quilt appears to be brown cotton ribbon. The quilt backing is green calico with a coral floral motif. A white patch of fabric with an inscription in black ink that was added later to the quilt is sewn on the back at top right. The inscription reads, "Thelma Wahlen / 111 W. Third Ave. #2 / San Mateo, 94402."

Item formerly belonged to Mrs. Hans Wahlen (Thelma Beard).
Object Name Quilt
Collection 3D - Art
Title Crazy Quilt, 1884
Date 1884
Creator Unknown
Role Fiber Artist
Inscription Text "L A F" (Center, embroidered in white thread in a satin stitch); "1884" (center right, embroidered in black thread in a chain stitch); "1819" (center left, embroidered in black thread in a chain stitch); "Thelma Wahlen / 111 W. Third Ave. #2 / San Mateo, 94402" (black ink on white cloth rectangle hand sewn at top right on back)
Provenance Item formerly belonged to Mrs. Hans Wahlen (Thelma Beard).
Notes Crazy quilts are "quilts composed of pieces cut from many different textiles, often including rich velvets, satins, or brocades, usually in irregular shapes and sizes, and often embellished with fancy embroidery stitches. Done in press piecing, usually tied rather than quilted, and rarely contain batting." [¬e=&english=N&prev_page=1&subjectid=300198186-9/21/2016]

"Early quilts made in the crazy style were more show pieces than functional and were often made as smaller unquilted "lap robes" that were used to decorate the parlor. They were fitting showpieces for the lavish interior decoration of the day. These quilts were usually made using velvet, silk and brocade fabric, cut and pieced in random shapes...To the Victorians the word "crazy" not only meant wild but also broken or crazed into splinters; a good description of the look the various triangles and other odd shapes gave to these quilts. Although crazy style quilts may appear haphazard they were carefully planned. Hours were spent cutting shapes and trying out various arrangements of the pieces before sewing. " []

Dimensions H-24.5 W-35.5 D-0.125 inches
Medium Textile
Search Terms Art
Subjects Quilts
People Wahlen, Mrs. Hans