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Crazy Quilt
1886
Millie Howland Leland
USA: Maine
silk; cotton; velvet
overall: 60 1/4 in x 48 3/4 in
Gift of Nancy O. Merrill
2003.019

Multi-colored crazy quilt with twenty 12-inch square blocks. One block is marked with maker's initials in embroidery "MHL." A second block is marked with the date "1886," also embroidered. The quilt is embroidered along the block edges and inside the blocks in a variety of colors of thread including green, pink, orange, blue and yellow. Embroidered motifs appear on the blocks including plants, flowers, Kate Greenaway figures, spiderwebs, fans and interlocked rings. A printed ribbon with an image of a woman is also worked into one block. The multi-color fabrics throughout the top include silk and velvet brocades, plaids, stripes, checks, solids and polka dots. The quilt is foundation pieced by hand with hand embroidery. There is no batting. The backing consists of eight pieces of blue velvet. The binding is blue and is bias-applied with curved corners. Both the backing and binding are later replacements (1960s).


The maker, Amelia (Millie) Howland Leland Merrill was born in Lewiston, Maine, in 1859 or 1860 and married George Addison Merrill in 1887 or 1888. They had two children, Charles (b. 1889) and Daniel C. (b. 1891). She died around 1945. Trained as a teacher, the maker was later a housewife and the owner of a summer hotel in Provincetown, Massachusetts.