I was going to wait until the quilt was hung on the wall in the stairwell before I shared this, but as that seems unlikely to happen any time soon…
This is the the story of the Century Crazy Quilt, and how it finally came to be finished.
A few years back, Dulce was cleaning out, and she found a box with a bunch of lace and some quilt stuff. I didn’t want it, so I told her to give it to Elizabeth (a friend of mine in the area) — who likes sewing and such things. The box sat in Elizabeth’s sewing room for a year (or two?… or three?) and one day I got a call from Elizabeth, she was cleaning out her sewing room and opened the box, looked through it and decided I “really should see this” before she did anything more with it. Her dad brought the box up one weekend — he was up here anyway for some other reason. I opened the box, looked through it, decided yes, I should keep this stuff, and put it under our bed.
A few months ago, I was clearing out under our bed and came across the box and decided I really should do something about it. So I showed Sasha (a friend and our neighbor) the find, as well as another friend. We figured it was a 1960s hippy quilt based on the fabrics, and yeah, it was pretty cool and should be finished… then I asked a quilt expert, Judy, who said yes, 60s, but make that 1860-1900s, not 1960s and that’s SILK, not polyester. It was a project that I should finish.
The approximate time of 1800s seems to fit as it was likely worked on by Gavin’s great grandmother (on Stephen’s side, in Kentucky) and at least two other women (there are names on one of the squares), that’s really all Dulce can tell me about it. Judy says it is “one of the finest examples of the style” that she has ever seen, and the silk — yes silk — is in amazingly good condition.
I have finished the quilt. It is a 9-square quilt (3×3) to be hung on the wall (eventually) with two coordinating pillows — there are 11 squares total, and trying to make an 11-square quilt felt too ambitious! I picked up a lovely aubergine linen-blend that compliments the squares and really makes them all pop. Traditionally it would be finished in black, but none of the blacks felt quite right. As the entire point of finishing this project is to showcase the vintage squares I wanted something that would really compliment them and make them stand out.
As the project has been over 100 years in the works, I took my time, and I did a lot of measuring/cutting graph paper squares. There is a label on the back of the quilt which provides a brief history of the quilt — the names on it, and an explanation of the relationship of the people who started it with me.
Below is a slide show of some of the process: