Thursday, February 4, 2016

Crazy Quilting—Start to Finish; Session One: Constructing the Blocks

We have begun our ambitious crazy quilting class with seven lovely and talented ladies. As we mentioned in a previous post, Crazy Quilting—Start to Finish, we have created a six-month crazy quilting class that teaches our students how to piece their blocks, stitch and embellish them, and finally put them together in the format of their choice.

Taking photos of the class models for reference

All our ladies had been eagerly awaiting this class and were ready to get started. Each student was instructed to bring at least 24 different fabrics, which could include cottons, silks, satins, or any other fabric they liked. We did have some fancy fabrics for sale to help their collection, but some of our ladies had been collecting fabrics over time, just for a future crazy quilt.

A rainbow assortment of silks, satins, and velvets

Many of these fabrics were sourced from thrift stores.
One student's collection

Each lady received four different patterns, as well as a fabric Little Red Riding Hood vintage postcard print to use as a center for one of their blocks. Most of the patterns were put together the same way, by having a center piece and then sewing each section around that center piece. We had the ladies bring in four 9" squares of flannel to be used as a base for the block, and Teri demonstrated how to construct the block with the flannel base. The flannel base provides a great support for the future block embroidery, and it also helps manage some of those slippery fabrics.

The first piece is centered on the base.

The second piece attached.

As each piece is added, the excess
underneath is trimmed away.

Ready for embroidery

After the demonstration, the ladies got to it and began constructing their blocks. 

Getting ready to choose fabrics
Going around the center block with the next piece
Checking if this fabric is a good fit

This block is ready to be trimmed to its finished size.

Such beautiful, bright colors

We designed the patterns to be 8.5" finished, so having 9" base allowed for a little wiggle room as we pieced. An 8.5" square ruler was used to bring the pieced blocks down to their finished size.
Trimmed and ready to go
After the block was finished, the ladies basted around all four sides, and their blocks are ready for next month's embroidery session.

Some of our students' finished blocks:

The silver fabric in this block is a lacy overlay.
Most of these fabrics were found at local thrift stores.

As an unexpected treat, one of our students brought in some antique crazy quilt blocks that she had purchased. The blocks were in various stages of completion, absolutely beautiful, and she has more of them to bring to the next session. We can't wait to see them, and we will be sure to share them with you as well.   

Such lovely embroidery

This unfinished, basted block is mostly made of silk.

Another block a little further along in regard
to the stitching

Everyone was able to complete one block and will have the other three ready for our February meeting, where we will be focusing on motif selection, transferring design, and stitching the motifs. Thank you for joining us as we build these crazy quilts, and please come back to see the outcome of our next session.


  1. I'm excited to see how your class goes. Wish we had someone here locally that could teach a class like this.Pam Gonzalez

    1. Thanks, Pam! We wish you lived close enough to join us for the fun!!

  2. This is a great post. I saw your link on FB and will have a look at past posts. I look forward to your posting updates on this class.

  3. I *am* going to do some CQ this year! I'm one of those who's been saving pieces in a tub for years... it's time to USE them! I have a CQ quilt that my great g'ma made - she included 'family history events' documented on hers. I think I'd like to do the same...

    1. What a treasure you have, Mary! How wonderful that your great-grandmother left such a beautiful family history recorded in stitches for her descendants. And how much more lovely that you plan to continue the stitched history!!

  4. Can't wait to watch the progress :)