The last time I was in the thrift store I showed you the few things that I had purchased. I mentioned a knitting book that I picked up, but forgot that I had also picked up another book, "The Selected Journals of L.M. Montgomery Vol. II 1910-1921". I have a complete set of the Anne of Green Gables books by L.M. Montgomery, which I picked up at the thrift store last year. I've only just started reading this journal and it's quite interesting so far. I thought I'd share this one entry in the book with you ... L.M. Montgomery talks of her own crazy quilt:
"Monday, Apr 4, 1910
To-day, in going through an old trunk I came upon a "crazy quilt". And I took it out and unfolded it and sat me down to study it and the memories of the past it recalled. When I was about twelve years old "crazy patchwork" had just come into vogue. It was "all the rage." Everybody made at least a "crazy" cushion. Some few attempted quilts. I was among the latter.
The name was certainly an inspired one. "Crazy" such work certainly was - nay, more, rankly insane. To my present taste it is inexpressibly hideous. I find it hard to believe it possible that I could ever have thought it beautiful. But I did think it; and I expended more "gray matter" devising ingenious and complicated "stitches" than I ever put into anything else.
I was from twelve to sixteen completing the quilt - five years; and verily it was "Love's Labor's Lost" for by the time I had finished it crazy patchwork was out of the fashion. My crazy quilt has been lying folded in that trunk ever since - and will continue to lie folded. Perhaps future generations may regard it as a curiosity as we look upon old samplers now.
Nevertheless, I felt many a tug at my heart as I looked over it to-day. It was compact of old memories; almost every gay piece or bit of embroidery called up some long-ago incident or place or face. As for the dreams sewn into that quilt, they were as thick as Autumn leaves in Vallambroso.
A great part of the delight of "crazy" work was the excitement of collecting pieces for it - silks, satins, velvets - for of no meaner materials might genuine crazy patchwork be made. Old boxes and drawers were ransacked and long hidden bits of finery joyfully found and used. Contributions were levied on all my friends. Did one get a new dress or hat a bit of the trimming must be begged. Sometimes the work was at a standstill for weeks because of lack of scraps. But eventually enough were collected and the quilt completed - a quaint cipher of many and many an old gayety and vanity and heartbeat. Sometimes I sent away a dollar to an American silk firm and received a package of pieces about four inches square cut from remnants. They were always very rich and beautiful, with the glamor of the outer world about them - the world of wealth and fashion where "grande dames" disported themselves in whole robes of these materials. It was a never failing diversion of my chums and me to "choose out" the various dresses we would have if given our pick of those gay samples.
There are many pieces from dresses of my mother and aunts in that quilt. Many wedding dresses figure there. And all are covered with intricate stitching. The result is a very nightmare of jumbled hues and patterns. And once I thought it beautiful!
Well, after all, it gave me pleasure in the making and so what matters if the result was not worth while? I had "the joy of the working" and that was the essence of heaven."
Isn't this a wonderful entry ... a little glimpse into her life as a young girl and handsewing this quilt. It makes me wonder what ever happened to her crazy quilt. If only she knew then that a crazy quilt would be prized by many today. And a crazy quilt made by L.M. Montgomery herself would be incredible.
I have a tiny little book on quilts ... you know the sort of book they have at Indigo at the front entrance ... little 3-inch square gifty books that are great for stocking stuffers. This quilt book came complete with a thimble on a ribbon as a page marker. Inside are amazing photos of antique quilts, and short excerpts and quotes from books about quilts. It's really quite nice and I read through it every so often. The journal entry above would've been perfect to add to the quilt book.
When I bought the journal book, there was a newspaper clipping inside the front cover about a woman who fought to get the home of L.M. Montgomery here in Ontario also designated as a heritage site. She eventually won the battle, and we are always driving past the sign for her house on our way north. Much of the journal I have now was written at her Ontario home in Leaksdale when she moved here in 1911. I know that now I'll have to visit this heritage site and see the place where she spent the second half of her life as a minister's wife, and where she continued writing many of her books.
That's it for today ... sorry no photos.
Thanks for stopping by!