Artisans from across the U.S. are in central Iowa this week to teach at a three-day retreat devoted to a 19th century form of very detailed craftsmanship — crazy quilting. Betty Pillsbury is a New York-based textile artisan and instructor who is teaching at the workshop at the Hotel Pattee in Perry. Pillsbury says crazy quilting was very popular in the Victorian era, using random bits of fabric like velvet, silk from dresses, hat liners and neckties, thrown together into a quilt with embroidery all across it. She says it was more of a showpiece for art, not something to sleep under for warmth. Pillsbury is teaching several of the ten classes, including one called “Beginning Crazy Quilting.” Pillsbury says this type of art is in her blood as her great-grandmother was an award-winning quilter who lived near Winterset during the 1920s and 30s. While most of her students are women between 40 and 75, Pillsbury says many younger people take her classes as do men. For more information on the class, surf to “www.hotelpattee.com”, or on crazy quilting, surf to “www.bettypillsbury.com”.
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