WOODSTOCK – Historic quilts from the collection of the McHenry County Historical Society will be on display Jan. 5-31, 2023, in the Woodstock Opera House Community. The quilts date from the 1870s to the 1940s, and highlight a variety of patterns from the Society’s collection of more than 160 quilts.
One of the quilts featured is a crazy quilt made in the 1880s by Jennie Schryver of Woodstock. Jennie, a daughter of Robert and Catherine Schryver, was born in Woodstock in 1857. Her father was a Woodstock carpenter. The crazy quilt was a popular pattern from 1880 to the early 1900s. These quilts were usually made using velvet, silk, and brocade fabric. Using silk thread, women placed lovely decorative stitches on each seam.
Although crazy style quilts may appear haphazard, they were carefully planned. Hours were spent cutting shapes and trying out various arrangements of the pieces before sewing. Quilts made in the crazy style were made for show than function. They often were made as smaller “lap robes,” used to decorate the parlor.
This particular crazy quilt from the McHenry County Historical Society’s collection also features a log cabin pattern on its border. Log cabin quilts became popular in the United States during the Civil War. The pattern was associated with the pioneer spirit and perhaps the presidency of Abraham Lincoln. Traditional blocks were hand pieced using strips of fabrics around a central square. A red center symbolized the hearth of home. There are many other variations of log cabin quilts including courthouse steps, pineapples, and barn raising.
The quilt display is free for public viewing during regular box office hours at the Woodstock Opera House: Tuesday -Saturday from 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. and Sunday from noon – 4 p.m. Call 815-923-2267 for more information.
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