When I was in high school, I loved to hand embroidery my blue-jean jackets and jeans. So naturally, when I visited my local quilt shop and saw that they were offering a crazy quilt class I signed up.
The teacher was a woman named Arlene Dettore. She and the shop owner Beverly Maxwill co-authored the book Victorian Patchwork & Quilting. She taught a different way to layout your fabric that involved starting with a batting piece and laying out and pinning all fabric pieces as you went along. Then you would choose a thread color, pinned seam and an embroidery stitch to sew down your edges.
I made several pillows, quilts and vests when I was younger using this method. Unfortunately, I do not have many of these items as most were given as gifts. My tools were sharps-needles, cotton pearle #8, warm and natural batting and scissors. Back when I started hand embroidery, the market did not have all the organizing containers available that are available now. My storage case was found in the fishing section at Walmart. Now you may be wondering if you can use regular embroidery thread . . . Yes, you can. I use the cotton pearle #8 because it is intertwined and stays together better than regular embroidery thread.
30 years later, my hands and wrists struggle to hand embroider for any length of time. Still wanting to crazy quilt I had to find new ways to accomplish this task. A sewing machine with fancy stitches or that embroiders is how I now make my edge embroidery. I use machine embroidery thread and bobbin thread for the stitching and I can use the method I learned years ago to layout my fabric patches or I can use the crazy quilt block/s that are available for my AccuQuilt cutting machine.
The above tree skirt was made using Arlene’s taught method. (I did this before I had my AccuQuilt set up.). My daughter wanted a purple tree skirt to go with her purple Christmas theme. There’s definitely not another one like it. All the stitches were done by my machine. I will say that using the sewing machine does make it go faster.
I was very impressed with both AccuQuilt dies. One is a six-inch and the other is a 10-inch. It’s nice to have a choice There are some great patterns available on the AccuQuilt site and many are free. (Click on the picture to view them.)
Crazy quilts were originally scrappy quilts but the more modern versions can be made with a fabric collection or scrappy. The quilt above is so cute and just one example of the die method. With my machine sewing and making the stitches and AccuQuilt cutting all my pieces, I find my hands ache less and it allows me to work on my projects for longer periods of time.
If you haven’t tried making a crazy quilt, I encourage you try it out.