Thursday, January 9, 2020

Examining Crazy Stitches

In November, I (Teri) wrote about a lot of three crazy quilts that Kara and I won in an online auction. (See Still Crazy...) I described two of them, but the third was—is—going to be the inspiration for a new project, so I decided to share that one on its own. There are so many lovely stitch combinations to study; it deserves its own post. After writing about my 2020 goals last week, I realized that this new project might be put on a back burner for awhile, so I thought I'd share the quilt with you now. 

At first glance, it is a pretty simple quilt, but oh, the stitching does draw some attention! We know none of the provenance of this quilt, but my imagination pictures its maker as a seamstress, who lovingly made dresses with beautiful hand-embroidered embellishments. That would have given her access to samples of silks and satins. Each piece in the quilt is unique, with only one or two repeats. She arranged them in rows of color families, placing the darker rows in the corners. The rectangular patches are set in black velvet, which serves as both sashing and border, and the diagonal rows are set in the style of subway tiles. And then, I think, our dressmaker decided to play, experimenting with various stitch combinations, showing off her skill set. Each patch is outlined with unique rows of decorative stitches on both of the longer sides, and each diagonal row is stitched with a different set of combination stitches. The rows of stitching are varied and creative, and many are quite intricate.

Here are just a few close-up shots to enjoy and glean inspiration:

Flowers are created with simple stitches—straight stitches, lazy daisies, knots—with very different looks.

The variegated thread gives the chain stitch at the top an interesting look, and those orange buttonhole wheels are fun.

Does anyone else see a row of moths in those cream stitches?!

What fun little dragonflies!

Sometimes simple stitches can create an elegant effect.

 So many fun combinations to study!

By far, my favorite part is the border of stitching around the entire quilt.

You can see by these corner shots how intricate the border is.

Did she plan the border, or just go from flower to flower, varying the color as she stitched? How I wish I knew her thoughts as she stitched this gem!


  1. Oh my, what a treasure trove of stitches! THis is a perfect quilt for the two of you to own, study and enjoy! Thanks for sharing these great photos.

    1. We were indeed delighted to see so many thrilling stitch combinations to try!