Art/ Collection/ Art Object

Crib Quilt, Mill Wheel pattern

ca. 1840
Made in Pennsylvania, United States
44 x 40 3/4 in. (111.8 x 103.5 cm)
Credit Line:
Purchase, Friends of the American Wing Fund, 1989
Accession Number:
Not on view
The front of this crib quilt is pieced of printed red cotton with a green figure and plain white cotton fabric. The edge binding is a different red printed cotton. The backing fabric is the same white cotton that was used for piecing the front. The quilt is entirely hand stitched and is quilted following the pieced pattern.
This crib quilt from Pennsylvania is completely hand stitched of red calico and plain white cotton cloth in the difficult-to-piece Millwheel pattern. All such patterns that incorporate curved pieces are particularly challenging to the quilt maker because they require great precision and small, careful stitches to make a curved seam lie flat. This piece could only be the work of an experienced sewer.

Crib quilts are extremely popular with collectors today. Their small size makes them easy to hang as art, and the small-scale patterns are often very attractive. Even the rather worn and faded appearance of these often-washed quilts adds to their appeal; they have been preserved as precious objects, in remembrance of a time when a child was still small.

[Peck 2015; adapted from Amelia Peck, "American Quilts & Coverlets in the Metropolitan Museum of Art," 2007]
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