Discussing machine embroidery

My 2018 Crazy Quilt block challenge

Well I think the title maybe a little inaccurate and that is may take more than one year, but I set out to create a quilt using my Crazy quilt blocks in 2018. When you view them you will see that there are various sizes, themes and colour schemes. Is it possible to take them all and combine them?

Take these 8″ x 8″ blocks. Putting some together may work but in my opinion there are two many colours involved, so the first challenge was selecting a colour scheme which would work for them all.

February 2018:“I have been giving this project serious consideration and have decided that adequate preparation is essential. So I have checked out all my silk dupion and embroidery threads to decide which colour scheme would work best for this quilt. At the moment I am considering a green and cream colour scheme. Although I love natural colours, ecru, beige, ivory, oyster and taupe, these alone would be too much like the popular “latte quilt”.  I want to create something breathtakingly beautiful and different, unlike any other quilt made. I will show you the grouping of fabric and threads before I do a test stitch out. I suspect that not all the blocks that I have digitised will be suitable for this quilt. Obviously I will have to change all the colours of each chosen block I use, so that they all reflect my colour scheme and work well together, but each block will keep its distinguishing features.”

Late February 2018: “This week I have sourced and sorted out the fabrics I will be using for my Crazy quilt challenge. There are several shades of fresh green silk dupion, which remind me of the coming of spring along with some beige, cream, ivory and sand coloured silk. Two of my fabrics are basically the same colour but one is slubby and the other is smooth so they reflect the light differently. I had great fun playing with the colours that I might use for my quilt blocks. Usually I keep to the “three colour rule” so that my embroidery is not too busy, so I have selected greens, light browns and neutral shades. I hope that the rich tan and pea pod green will make the blocks pop, but I need to do a test stitch out to confirm this next.”

July 6thToday I planned and stitched my first crazy quilt block for this challenge. I decided that it would be best to use ivory dupion silk as the base fabric for each 11″ square. With my assortment of pale greens, ecrus and cream silks I began to attach the various blocks. I selected to do this with my first Romantic Crazy quilt block using the larger 8″ x 8″ design. (GFE-RCQ-1 8×8) I have to confess I love using my 200mm x 200mm square hoop; it has to be my favourite hoop. After I had attached four fabric pieces I noticed my first error. I had used the same fabric for two sections and failed to use my gorgeous pale apple slubby silk dupion!!! That will have to wait for the next block.

When I add pieces to my quilt blocks I use a glue pen to hold the fabric in place when it is folded over.

This was where I made my first mistake, using a smooth silk I had already used instead of a slubby one.

Here you see the outline of basting stitches which hold all the pieces in place before the embroidery begins.

With careful digitising many of the embroidery covers the joins. 

Notice that I have selected a shade of thread that matches the fabric.

The PDFs which come with these designs are full of diagrams taking you through each step of the construction.

These button holes can be left alone or cut so that ribbon can be threaded through.

If you have some favourite lace scraps they can easily be incorporated into crazy quilting.

Without a great deal of preparation it can be hit and miss whether the colours embroidered in each section stand out. They can be lost if the fabric is not significantly different. Getting a happy balance of bright, subtle and matching threads is the secret of a perfect colour palette. 

The balance of colour  both for the thread and the fabrics, is almost perfect, so I will move on to preparation of the second block. I think that any decoration should wait until all the blocks are complete so that I can check I have sufficient embellishments for them all.

Next time I will show you some of my other blocks that have been adapted to fit this colour scheme. At present there are 14 crazy quilt blocks for sale and 2 crazy quilted stockings.

Happy embroidering from Hazel

4 thoughts on “My 2018 Crazy Quilt block challenge

  1. Hi Hazel perhaps this would have been a good competition so we could see everyones quilt that uses the same blocks and colour ways be it in silk or cotton.

  2. Hazel that is a gorgeous colour scheme (green is one of my favourite colours) and as much as I would love doing something similar with your lovely blocks I know I will never find the time – too many other things on the go.

  3. I am very anxious to see your quilt completed. I do love your color choices. I hope to do one in soft greens and shades of lavender . I however don’t know where to find silk fabric. Is there a website that you prefer to use for purchasing your silks?
    Unfortunately I have been in the process of unpacking for a while from our move, otherwise I would have tried to find silk fabric prior to now and I would have entered the computing. I really don’t want to use cotton, I think the blocks will lose their elegance.

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