Tuesday, April 20, 2021

The Cost of a Crazy Quilt

 "A certain girl has pieced a 'crazy quilt' containing 9,000 bits of ribbon.  It must have taken at least three minutes' sewing to the piece.  That would make 27,000 minutes--an hour a day for a year and nearly three months.  In that time this foolish girl might have learned a modern language, become an accomplished cook and housekeeper, studied no end of history and science, or have done benevolent and educational work among the ignorant and poor that would have lasted to the eternities."--The Morning Call 

This blurb was found in an Allentown PA newspaper in 1884.

This is in my file about number of pieces per quilt.  Newspapers (or perhaps quilters) loved to share the amount of pieces in a single quilt well into the twentieth century.  I've often wondered if quilters shared the number of pieces in a quilt so that their work would garnish more respect.

I also dislike the editor's comment about the "foolish girl" who could have used her time better to study history or science...for what end?  Women were excluded from those fields at this time.  There's a lot we don't know about this girl.  Did she work in a ribbon factory and collect scraps that were to be discarded?  Was she infirmed and spent her days making her life more beautiful by creating this piece?

One of my favorite pieces in my collection is my crazy quilt dated 1883.  Today's eye candy features this lovely piece.  To me, crazy quilts are often like textile scrap books, full of images that were meaningful to the maker.  What do you think?

Have a safe and happy day!


  1. Isn't that amazing?! I've never been inclined to sew a crazy quilt, but they sure are fascinating to look at. I loved the article about the "foolish girl" and your questions for the writer. I don't think she was foolish at all!

  2. some day i intend to make a crazy quilt... have collected fabrics for it.