If you have scraps of fabric, thread, and an embroidery machine, you can immediately become a crazy-quilting expert. Wondering how? All the patches, stitches, and elegant embroidery are programmed into the design. The process is extremely gratifying!
First a brief history lesson: Crazy quilting became popular in the late 1800s. Small, random patches of fabric were hand-stitched together and then embellished with elaborate embroidery. My great-grandmother Alice Lea Larson hand-stitched this quilt. The fabrics are leftover silks, wools, cottons, and anything that could have been salvaged from worn-out clothing and her fabric stash.
The quilt, without a backing, was given to me several years ago by Alice’s daughter. Before finishing the quilt, I took a photo of the backing fabric—old tablecloths cut into squares. Waste not, want not.
Fast-forward to today. Crazy quilting can be totally created using an embroidery machine. Eileen Roche, embroidery specialist and editor of Designs in Machine Embroidery, has mastered the technique using 21st century technology and is my guest on the 2-part Sewing With Nancy series, Today’s Crazy Quilting with Your Embroidery Machine. Watch online or on PBS.
- First select fabric; either silks or cottons are best. Solid colors showcase the decorative embroidery. Eileen and I chose silk fabrics for our projects.
- Then, check out the embroidery designs as found in the book/CD combo, Today’s Crazy Quilting with Your Embroidery Machine. There are numbers that are only stitched on the stabilizer to provide the sewing sequence, straight stitching lines to stitch down the fabrics, and then the embroidery stitches.
- Hoop a tear-away stabilizer and stitch the initial thread color of the embroidery, only on the stabilizer—the outline of the block and the numbers.
- Roughly cut out fabric pieces and position right sides to the stabilizer. The machine will stitch the pieces in place. How easy is that!
- Before adding the next fabric piece, flip to the right side.
- Stitch the decorate embroideries, which have characteristic Victorian styling.
- Learn how to personalize the crazy-quilting blocks, adding dates or initials.
- Unhoop the fabric, cut along the final stitching lines, and the blocks are ready to add to a project.
- Select cotton fabrics as another option for crazy-quilting.
Today’s Crazy Quilting with Your Embroidery Machine, it’s a book with a CD
You too can duplicate your great-grandmother’s crazy quilting designs the easy way with Eileen’s book Today’s Crazy Quilting with Your Embroidery Machine. The 80-page book includes a multiformat CD that features 23 embroidery designs: three different block designs, 12 accent designs, and eight designs to complete three in-the-hoop projects.
Watch Today’s Crazy Quilting with your Embroidery Machine (Part 1 and Part 2) on Sewing With Nancy online.
Bye for now,