Sunday, April 29, 2018

1885 Crazy Quilt Puzzle

1885 C.W. Crazy Quilt - 40 blocks
Over the past several months I have been competing with other bidders for blocks from a crazy quilt dated 1885, with the initials C.W. elaborated embroidered on a bright red backing.  There were 40 blocks in total, with the overall quilt measuring 59 x 89 inches.  The blocks ranged in size from about 9x9 to 10x10 with some extensions to make the quilt into a rectangle.  The blocks were carefully cut apart and sold individually by the seller.  The quilt had some red bleed-through on several of the blocks, so were soaked prior to selling.  The blocks eventually found homes with 11-12 individuals and sold for about $3,000 combined.  I was lucky to get 11 of them.  The layout of the quilt in its entirety was never provided until the very end, in a snapshot an appraiser took in 2009.  Being the puzzle maker that I am, I collected the images for each block and ‘pieced’ them together based on the edges – matching the colors and stitches of each block.  It was always a thrill when I could place blocks sets together, find the corner pieces, or assemble the edge blocks in proper order.  The above is a result of those endeavors.  It was a great treat to see the lovely quilt in its complete form, there were so many great motifs, beaded designs, felt flowers, bits of lace, velvet appliques, silk puff flowers, etc.  There are several Kate Greenaway images; many bugs, bees, butterflies, grass hoppers and spiders (and webs of course); snowflake designs; fans, frogs, cats, mice, birds, anchors, interlocking rings, and American flag; and a lot of silly little stitched drawings – such as: a kangaroo, a wheelbarrow, cupid with an easel, skull and crossbones, a cat playing a fiddle, a baby sitting on a pillow, a little girl playing a drum with a dancing bug, a furry little man, a stick figure with an ax (x2), a fish, a man riding a rat, a mouse dressed in a tux holding a top hat, a parrot, a pair of cupids holding a banner with 1885, plus so many others.  Each block is eye candy and a marvel to look at, even with the red bleed through and some shattered fabrics.  Whoever the maker(s), they certainly had a good sense of humor and a great time stitching it together.  

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