Crazy Quilt
66 in WIDE
(167.64 cm WIDE)
Gift of Phyllis Faber

"Off the Wall" Special Tour, Oakland Museum of California, Cowell Hall of California History, December 8, 2007.

This crazy quilt has history connecting it directly to Oakland. According to family history it was made in Iowa c.1875-1880 before the family moved to Oakland, probably in the 1880s. Rose Salzer (the donor's grandmother, and the daughter of the woman who made the quilt) married Charles Kydd. Kydd became the manager of Taft and Pennoyer retail store in Oakland. The quilt itself is interesting because unlike so many crazy quilts, it is not constructed out of a series of quilt blocks. It does have a central panel, which might have been a previous object of use in the household - sham, table cover, decoration. It features two appliqued rust-brown velveteen cows. There are tabs of bright pink silk on either side of the central panel. The style of applique, the fabrics used and the design of the flowers and leaves on the central panel seem complete. The "outside" work, that is the section between the central panel and the border appears similar; take for example two dogs appliqued near the top, or stylized flowers on the sides. A pitcher and an urn of flowers accent the two lower corners. One of the most interesting features of the quilt is the fact that it incorporates a ribbon printed with a poem: "The Crazy Quilt." "Oh, say, can you see by the dawn's early light What you failed to perceive at the twi- light's last gleaming; A cranky concern that through the long night O'er the bed where you slept was so saucily streaming; The silk patches so fair, Round, three-cornered and square, Give proof that the lunatic bed-quilt is there. Oh, the crazy-quilt mania triumphantly raves, And maid, wife and widow are bound as its slaves. Oh that quilt dimly seen as you rouse from your sleep Your long-missing necktie in silence re- poses, And the filoselle insects that over it creep A piece of your vest half concealed half discloses. There is Kensington stitch In designs that are rich, Snowflake, arasene, point russe and all stitch. Oh, the crazy quilt mania, how long will it rave? And how long will fair woman be held as its slave? And where is the wife who so vauntingly swore That nothing on earth her affections could smother? She crept from your side at the chiming of four And is down in the parlor at work on another. Your breakfasts are spoiled And your dinners half boiled, And your efforts to get a square supper are foiled By the crazy quilt mania that fiendishly raves, And to which all the women are absolute slaves. And thus it has been since the panic be- gan; In many loved homes it has wrought desolation, And cursed is the power by many a man That has brought him close to the verge of starvation. But make it she must, And she'll do it or bust, Beg, swap and but pieces or get them on trust. Oh, the crazy quilt mania, may it soon cease to rave In the land of the free and the home of the brave." The quilt is backed in a silk twill that probably was originally red. The border is of red plush and the edge is trimmed with a cord of red chennile, gold colored thread and flecks of metallic gold. Several pieces of light blue silk fabric appear to be pieces of Chinese embroidery, cut-up and used in the crazy quilt.

Used: decoration | Bedding

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