Laura Ingalls Wilder is known as the writer of the “Little House” books, and I only recently discovered that she also was a quilter. A quilt was sent to Museum Textile Services by the Laura Ingalls Wilder Historic Home & Museum in Mansfield, Missouri. It is one of two crazy quilts made by the author in the early 1900’s. Unlike other quilts she made, mention of this one does not appear in any of Laura's writings. However we know that this particular quilt was made not too long after she moved with her husband Almanzo and their daughter Rose to Mansfield, where they purchased a plot of land, and began building their homestead.
Laura Ingalls Wilder is believed to have created this crazy quilt is toward the end of the peak of popularity of crazy quilting in America. The fascination began in 1876 at the Philadelphia Exposition where the crazed pottery of the Japanese Pavilion inspired American women to incorporate similar patterns into their quilting. The top layer of Laura Ingalls Wilder’s crazy quilt was comprised of many differently patterned silk, cotton, and velvet pieces. Crazy quilts are typically assembled out of any spare fabric present in a household, and this quilt is no exception. In particular, many of the pieces of silk Laura used were badly worn and in need of support before the quilt could be safely displayed.
While the Laura Ingalls Wilder Historic House & Museum does sell quilt patterns in their online store, you’ll have to look elsewhere for a crazy quilt pattern. Or better yet, create your very own.