Calling All Crazy Quilters - Announcing a Contest We Think You’re Going to Love!

Amy Milne © 2009

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The nonprofit Alliance for American Quilts (AAQ) recently announced a contest for quilters of all ages that honors the spirit of the crazy quilt.

Entrants are encouraged to visit the AAQ’s massive website to draw inspiration from one or more aspects of the crazy quilt, a style that quilt expert and AAQ advisory council member Merikay Waldvogel defines as, “quilts with oddly shaped pieces and embroidered stitches in brightly colored silks, satins, and velvets (that) burst on the scene about 1880…The collage formats, beading, fabric painting, and even photo transfers used in today’s quilts all have their roots in crazy quilts of the late 19th century.”

Contest participants are encouraged to explore design, color, fabric, surface embellishment, history or some other aspect of this style to celebrate. The only constraints are that the finished quilt be 16" x 16" in size (2009 is the AAQ’s 16th birthday), and the final result must consist of three layers. Contest quilts are due by June 1, 2009 and become a donation to AAQ. All entries will be auctioned on eBay with 100% of the proceeds supporting the AAQ and its projects – one of their most successful annual fundraisers and a great way for quiltmakers to support the organization’s mission in a creative way.

All Crazy for Quilts entries we receive will be permanently exhibited on the AAQ website and will travel to several national venues in the fall of 2009. Documenting our contest quilts is part of our overall goal of taking, preserving and sharing “snapshots” of quilting in the 21st century, and crazy quilting is an important part of this picture.

There are over 1,000 images of crazy quilts on the Quilt Index (, a partner project of the AAQ and Michigan State University. You can also read about today’s quiltmakers who create crazy quilts in the Quilters’ S.O.S. – Save Our Stories, a grassroots oral history project of the AAQ (, archived by the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress. "We hope people will interpret the contest theme as creatively and as broadly as possible and we would hope to see younger quilters and first-time contestants, as well as accomplished crazy quilters, participate in Crazy for Quilts,” says Amy Milne, executive director of the Alliance for American Quilts.

Read the full essay, “What Makes a Crazy Quilt Crazy” by Merikay Waldvogel, browse for inspiration and download the contest rules and entry form on the AAQ’s website:

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We hope you’ll join us as we celebrate the crazy quilt in 2009!

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