“Quilting was the joy of my life. Working with that. Ever’ little piece.”
~Aunt Arie Carpenter
Crazy quilts were originally a method for using scraps of cloth, much like string quilts which were pieced using paper strips from newspapers or magazines. Crazy quilts emerged as a style primarily after the Civil War, and later gained widespread popularity among quilters in the late twentieth century. This crazy quilt likely dates to the mid-twentieth century, and is made of scraps from women’s dresses and men’s suits, creating a blend of light and gauzy silks contrasted by heavy wools and velvets. Though not a traditional quilt, this summer quilt, so called for its lack of batting, is tacked together with clipped pieces of string. Quiltmaker Aunt Arie Carpenter also recycled cotton sugar sacks for the quilt lining. She shared a little about this quilt with Foxfire students when she donated it in the 1970s:
“I enjoy quilting the best of anything in this world. Get your cloth and get whatever design [you want to make]. How I wish I could quilt like I used to. This is Uncle Fred Childer’s wife’s scraps [in the quilt top]. All these is. Now I’d piece her one and me one, and she’d get her half and I’d get my half. That’s how [I] come to have so many quilts. Of course, I never had no such dresses as this. We wasn’t able to have it.”
She painstakingly embellished the quilt with intricate embroidery in bright colors, most of which are variations of the feather stitch. Listen to Mary Franklin explain decorative embroidery on quilts.
A crazy quilt without batting. The quilt top is made from scraps of dresses and suits, creating a blend of printed silks, cottons, and wools. The quilt top is embroidered at every patch seam in bright colors including red, green, blue, yellow, pink, and purple. The embroidery stitches are largely variations on the single or multiple feather stitch. The quilt is tied throughout with different colored knots of the embroidery thread. The quilt back is made from several sugar sacks. Some printing is still visible, but print faces inward, thus it reads backwards.