Thursday, July 13, 2017

Crazy Quilting by Numbers

As I (Kara) mentioned in last week's post, Welcome to Germany: Quilter's Style, buying fabric to pad my stash before leaving for Germany made up most of the purchases I made in Houston. But as Teri and I were wandering through the booths, we came upon Sew Cherished. What caught our eyes, were not just the beautiful wool and wool projects, but the crazy quilting stitches that were incorporated into many of the patterns. We explored the booth and came across what looked like crazy quilting stitch guides. I was intrigued and asked the shop owner, Dawn, for more information.

The complete set of Crazy Stitches (petite size)

The guides were sheets of sticky, water-soluble paper with about 7-10 different crazy quilt combination stitches printed on each page. You choose which stitch you would like, cut it from the paper, trim it to size, stick it on your seam, and then stitch. I thought they would be interesting to try and bought the petite set. I love crazy quilting and the fun of coming up with all sorts of combination stitches, but I thought these sheets had some potential for a variety of reasons. 

A couple of months ago, I pulled the Crazy Stitch sheets out and put a project together to see if I would like them. I had a bunch of wool suiting samples that someone had given me, so I put together a patchwork wool piece to test the papers out.

A rough layout

The squared-up piece serged and ready for stitching. (On a side note, I am going to really miss my serger!)

Once I had my practice piece together, I needed to pick out my floss colors. I have worked on a crazy quilt project using limited colors, and I have worked on another crazy quilt project with no limits on colors. Surprisingly enough, the project with unlimited colors was much more difficult—too many colors to choose from. Teri and I had just received the full spectrum of Weeks Dye Works, 6-stranded floss, so I knew that I would be choosing my limited color selection from their collection.

All the Weeks Dye Works colors.

My final color selection.

The papers look like this out of the package:

This particular sheet would be great for practicing the basic stitches.

One of the combination stitches.

I counted the number of seams I had in my piece and then went through the sheets and cut out all the stitches and combination stitches that I wanted to use.

The 16 stitches and combinations I picked out

After I had selected my stitches, I decided where I wanted to put my first line of stitching, cut the paper to the right size, peeled the backing paper off and aligned it on my seam. The papers are sticky and if my fabric had been anything other than wool, I think the paper would have stuck better. I used pins to hold the stitch paper in place for the stitch below. For some of the other seam stitches, I lightly dampened the ends once I had the paper in the right place, and the paper stuck to my fabric removing the need for pins. WARNING: don't dampen it so much so that it dissolves!

All ready to stitch!

I started out with a simple stitch and progressed to some of the combination stitches. My needle went through the paper and fabric easily, and I was able to create a neat and consistent stitch.

Sweet little flowers using a blanket stitch, lazy daisies, and French knots

My third and final pass for this combination stitch.

I think the Murphy's law of crazy quilt stitching is that you will always run out of thread right before you finish the seam stitch.

I just couldn't get two more French knots out of this piece of thread.

This product lived up to what I had envisioned as its potential. I still had to decide what stitch to put where and what colors to use, but I didn't have to look through books to pick a combination stitch I liked. I also didn't have to put the brain power into coming up with my own combination stitch, because sometimes I just don't wan't to think too hard. Dawn has done all the thinking for us with these stitch sheets. The paper washed out well, but make sure you soak it long enough to get all the residue out. Also, wait until your piece is completely dry before ironing. I got a little impatient and the ironing didn't do any favors to my stitching

Definitely one of my favorite combinations!

These arrows got a little wonky from my ironing.

I love how the red pops against the tonal wool!

Here are some pros and cons that I discovered with this product:

  • These would be great for crazy quilters just starting out.
  • If you are feeling overwhelmed with combination stitch possibilities, these sheets figure the stitches out for you.
  • If you struggle with consistency in your stitch size and spacing, this will help your muscle memory.
  • Having these to use when you just don't want to think too hard about what stitch to use would be great.
  • You have to get your project wet to wash out the paper, so your fabric, threads, and/or ribbon need to be colorfast.

You can purchase the Crazy Stitches sheets directly from Dawn's site, Sew Cherished, here. Type "Crazy Stitches" in the search bar at the top, and I'm sure if you have any questions about the product, Dawn would be able to answer them. 

This sampler probably won't be finished for a little while, because the Williamsburg Academy of Appliqué sample due date is coming soon. (We can't wait to show you our international flair blocks!) My plan will be to finish the rest of the seam stitches, and then possibly put a few wool appliqué designs from our upcoming wool block of the month on a few of the larger squares. Have you tried any new stitching products lately? If so, please share what they are and why you did or didn't like them. Happy Stitching!

(Through the Needle's Eye received no compensation for this post)


  1. what a neat idea! I always want to crazy stitch but never know where to start - even took a Craftsy class and still hesitate!

    1. These papers certainly take some of the guess work out of it.

  2. How neat! The paper looks a lot like Sulky's Sticky Fabri-Solvy, which I use to help keep my embroidery neat. I use it a lot for quilt labels, but this is such a great use for it!

    1. I believe it might be something similar. They were a lot of fun to use!

  3. What beautiful fun! Thanks for the product tip!