A crazy quilt has blocks assembled from irregular and sometimes scrap pieces; there is no set pattern or design. This type of quilt pattern was popular during the Victorian period when they were made with silks and velvets and heavily embellished with embroidery. However, modern quilters have taken those traditional techniques to the contemporary world, opening up a whole new realm of art quilt possibilities.
In Quilting Arts Magazine Summer 2002, quilter Genevieve Tracey shared these tips and guidelines for creating a stylish crazy quilt block.
Choosing Fabrics for Crazy Quilts
From using metal screen to silk cocoons, paper to zippers,
ideas for crazy embellishments await in this free eBook.
For some, the selection of fabrics for a crazy quilt block can be difficult. The color scheme you choose will set the tone for your piece. You may want to select a completely random color scheme, a monochromatic scheme, or, instead, let a theme fabric that inspires the design for the entire piece be your guide.
When auditioning fabrics, don’t limit yourself — bring out any possible contenders, as testing fabrics together may lead to some unexpected, but interesting, combinations.
Tips for Embellishing
There are so many delightful threads and embellishments to decorate your block that the choices can sometimes be paralyzing. Again, look back to your theme fabric for color options. To make a block cohesive, repeat thread colors in different areas around the block while varying the textures of the threads to maintain visual interest.
Embellishing with Beads
Adding beads to seam stitches is like adding jewelry to an outfit — the effect is to dress it up. Beads will have more impact if they are positioned one or two threads away from the end of the stitch, rather than along the seam. Furthermore, by including a row or two of completely beaded seams you will add extra dimension to your work. Charms can also be added with the loop covered in a closed buttonhole stitch sewn with embroidery thread in a color matching the background fabric.
For more crazy quilt ideas here are some of our favorite resources:
- Free advice on coming up with crazy quilt ideas plus a few must-know stitches.
- “Design Gone Crazy” with Susie Williams in Quilting Arts Magazine Winter 2002.
- “Embellishments as Inspiration” by Lynn Krawczyk in Quilting Arts Magazine November 2007.