Wednesday, January 15, 2020

Hand Embellished Crazy Quilt Tutorial

Finishing Hand Embroidered CQ Block Quilt Tutorial

If you are a crazy quilter beginner and you've got a CQ block started somewhere, take it out and use my hand tutorial for finishing a CQ Quilt or Block with batting and messy background showing and its kinda bulky.

Of if you are a new-to-sewing and want to get your stitching fingers tuned up, this is the tutorial for you too.

This is the tutorial for you!

And when you are done, please post your work on Instagram using 

#thegreatcrazyquiltalong

When you comes to sandwiching this bulky CQ Block, I always add more batting to the border for instance, like this as seen below finished and the 2nd photo of messy stuff backside.


You can't quite tell from this photo, but the red border is quite puffy in between the machine quilting leaf meandering along is kinda like trapunto-ish.

This Silver Linings Crazy Quilt was the first quilt win that got me so excited.


This quilt has many unique features to it and sometime soon, I'll share them, but for this tutorial its way over the top difficult for a beginner. But if you are dieing to read the whole story go here. But come back!

So let's go ahead and sandwich your your crazy block that has batting already inside your hand embroidered block.




Most times, I'll do minor hand quilting around the edges of main parts in a color of thread that accentuates the finished piece.



Many times, they can easily become two sided quilts with loops for hanger at the top so the peice becomes reversible on one wall or hung in the open on display where both sides are visible at the same time.


The above photo shows the Hearts Crazy Quilt I made for my sister and it was delivered this past spring. 


This blog write up required a whole new crazy quilt make. I had forgotten that many of the hand embroidered quilt tops that I've made over the last decade are all done with ONLY foundation fabric or without foundation of any kind. This makes them easier to handle for older hands. I keep very active with my hands, knitting, kneading bread, weeding the garden, crocheting, embroidery and hand quilting.


I like the way the heavy wool in brown as seen above, its puffy and gives a distinct texture to the edge of the heart I think.

This block that started life as a log cabin block and then went crazy pieced afterwards. 



First I apologize for the lack of continuity in these photos. I began making this block several years ago on a whim.

I turn on some good music from Alabama Shakes and I get busy.  On this little wee log cabin block, it was looking a little too traditional and volunteered to the the next in line to become a crazy quilt in this tutorial.

I appliqued a heart 1970's pansy fabric, a totem pole fussy cut from more modern fabric, circles were donated from a previous project and an antique wedding ring unfinished piece on top of the block.

Them came embellishment and in this block, I had just discovered Nadia Mamelouk, who is a quilter enthusiast and the most natural artist in stitchery than anyone I've discovered. The sun on this piece was stitched down using her style of applique free form. My style of bold applique stitching.

Thanks for hanging in with me while I ramble along.

I was reaching in this quilt for a place where I could take stretch the simple, humble, but outstanding form of piecing. The very act of why to use a foundation block or not tells me something myself. I feel more protected with the very act of stitching through sometimes three layers as I hand pieced this block. 

Many quilters I've spoken to don't take their work outside! I recommend it!

I love stitching in the fresh air, taking in the evening or morning air. Stitching while sitting on a park bench in downtown Duncan is just great. Handmade anything in public will draw comments and greetings. 

That is only one part of stitching out of doors. Rain, wind and cool or heat can be felt in different areas of your body and you feel in step with Mother Earth. So long as I'm not cold and under cover, I stitch outside.



Do you see how the batting is tucked in between the layers of sashing, top and bottom?


Sew two sashing blue strips to either side of the quilted block, is where we are going. Pin down, sew 1/4 inch from edge along this edge. Strips are 2 inch wide by the measured length of two opposite sides of your block. Batting strip is cut based on the measurement to be filled on each strip. In this case, the strips were 1 1/2 inch by length.

 Always average this measurement. Cut 4 pieces of blue fabric the same size as you've measured. Cut two layers of batting 1 1/2 inch wide by measured length.

Sew on two sashin strips, re-measure and finish sashing on other longer side.

Repeat for all sides.

Then moving onto the other two longer sides, if you are actually following me with your own version, you may need to read this post more than once friends. :|)

You know what I mean? 

Repeat on the opposite side. Square all sides again.

In this tutorial, you'll learn one more than one way to really explore your own quilting style without the cumbersomeness of judgement. I work almost absolutely alone on my textile art. It works for me, but its isolating, I need to find local quilters/crafters who take risks and experiment.

I try in my small way, to consciously reuse, upcycle, recycle, reduce and adjust our true needs to not consume everything our hearts can desire and attain today.

In this block, the blue fabric used came from kitchen curtain type of previous used consumer goods. In the block itself, its almost all thrifted and reused from other items.

This is my small change. Tell me about your small ways you upcycle or reuse in the comment section. I know that the ways of growing cotton, harvesting and manufacturing causes environmental damage on many continents, we need to curtail the use of toxins, not increase it.

Your crazy quilt block should look like this as seen below once you've repeated on the sashing additions. It should have a complete border around your center block.


So, if you were in one of my workshops, this is where the 2nd phase of magic begins. 

2nd Border Process

The first phase is complete, that is the center block. I love building things and the great depth of crazy quilting as an art form and communicator is sorely misunderstood it would seem. 

I wonder about the antique crazy quilters about their impact of personality, memories and pieces of clothing that go into a crazy quilt. What happened to the people who wore the clothing? 

Were they happy or did become involved in a piece of history?

Let's begin to play again with what can be for 2nd Border of this block.


I almost always have ready to use random blocks of all kinds just waiting to be introduced at the ball. So dance and relax, this tutorial is really about helping you move towards more independance and confidence as a 'crazy quilter'

These circle blocks were made for  Quilty 365 quilt along from 2017 at one of my favorite bloggers, Quilty Folk's posts make up a  wonderful, interesting blog with so much inspiration that its just bursting and you should go visit.

Now, moving along to why I started all this drivel about where Phase 2 can take you, its up each artist to come up with the magic of composition, containing all the good stuff for delight. I have more posts being written on this topic.

You understand I'm suggesting that ANY sort of border can be used?

You have a bunch of scraps, make up the length and width of border you want in crazy piecing, the sky is the limit.

Choose solid chunks of one print all the way around to whatever you have on hand. Its really your choice. Make up an improv block and if you don't like it, use it here.

I support your taking the steps toward your own individuality. Opportunity presents itself when you need it most, we just tend to discount the first opportunity that shows itself

. #thegreatcrazyquiltalong

As I began work on this border, I was hand quilting towards the completion of my Scrappy Dresden plate quilt. I ended up adding in hand quilting around the circle blocks I did use in the end because I like the look of hand quilting, but machine quilt the border before going onto the next border, we're almost there.

  1. Measure and square up two apposing sides of the center block.
  2. Cut backing piece the same size as the circle block row.
  3. Cut batting 1/4 inch smaller than the previous measurement.
  4. Lay top row on good side of quilt, then lay the backing on the good side of the back of the quilt. Pin it down copiously.
  5. Using Walking foot, sew down through the 5 layers, press and lay batting into this empty area between borders
  6. Machine or hand quilt these borders.
I added in a hanging sleeve on the back too.

Then its just binding and always I make scrappy binding and sew it on with my machine and then by hand to complete.


I'm sorry I'm such a crappy photographer and the light is bad, but you can see it clearly anyway.

I hope you've enjoyed learning the wacky way I put a hand embellished crazy quilt together!

Leave me a comment!

Monday, January 13, 2020

Portrait Stitching is Fun




I am experimenting and not just with one thing, but many in my pursuit of the continued love of stitching. This is based on a photo sent by my friends Todd and Charrine Lace of @charrinelace and upon deciding on how to go forward with creating my first ever stitched art like this became a new adventure and more is coming along on that vein.










His portrait went into the Town of Smithers Centennial Quilt 2013, which has now come back to me for safe keeping.

What are you trying out?

I've found a lovely and simple, thank goodness for me knitted and then felted slipper pattern. I found it online, but can't find it again to share it, but its out there.