Crazy Quilt – Finished

When in Parrsboro last August (2017) I stopped off to visit my friend Ruth. She’d been working on this crazy quilt (heavily embroidered, with beads and buttons). She had a large surface completed, but there were still corners and spaces at the sides that needed additional fabric as well as embroidery. She’d lost interest and the quilt was in a bag at the back of a closet in an unused room. I persuaded her to get it out. I offered to take it home, complete the top, and back the quilt for her. But I had a lot of other quilting, sewing, knitting I wanted to get done and didn’t get around to it for months.

During the winter I took it out of my closet. I assessed what needed to be done, trimmed the top to a reasonable queen size and put the quilt back in the bag – not hidden in a closet now, but in plain sight along with another project I had agreed to do for a friend. I walked past it every day but didn’t get to it until I’d finished all the work I wanted to get done for Parrsboro this year, and finished hemming the multiple skirts on a prom dress which had been hanging around for the past six months (the prom was a year ago, the dress was now just a wardrobe addition so no urgency about completing it).

Five days ago I pulled out the crazy quilt and said to myself “This is it”. My goal was to get it completed in time to take it to Parrsboro when I go on July 28 to hang the show.

Ruth’s Crazy Quilt – Finished!

I added fabric to the bare spots, quilted the edges on my embroidery machine, set up backing fabric (which I’d bought last week), took the whole thing to the Friday knitting group to help me pin back to front. I laid out the backing fabric on the large table surface in our common room (I’d pressed the backing to remove folds and creases then trimmed it to the approximate size of the top), placed the crazy quilt top face down on the backing. Collectively we pulled the backing taut, smoothed out the quilt top, and pinned the edges.

Yesterday, I stitched around the outside (leaving an opening to turn the quilt right-side out), then pinned top to back and began to tie the two together using a variegated sock yarn. A big tedious job.

I’ve just finished all the tying – the knots are on the back (the ties are barely noticeable on the quilt top which was my intention). I’ve even added a label.

It’s done! I’ve put Ruth’s quilt with my quilts and wall art headed to Parrsboro. I’m not going to call ahead to let Ruth know her crazy quilt is coming home. If she’s not at home when I get there, I know the front door will be open and I will lay it on her sofa. She’ll know where it came from. It will be a nice surprise for her and I’m glad finally to get it out of my house.

That’s it for projects I’ve taken on for other people. Now back to quilting for myself.

 

Help!

In the late summer I offered to finish off, back, and bind a queen-size hand embroidered crazy quilt my friend Ruth has been working on for the past many years. She almost finished, then lost interest and put the quilt away. I know she intended going back to it, but I also knew she probably wouldn’t get there. So I offered to complete it for her – with my sewing machine using decorative quilting stitches where she’s done hand work, but it would work.

Yesterday I dug out the quilt from the closet, this morning I opened it up and started by trimming the quilt edges to make them straight, machine basting flapping bits of fabric – there’s quite a bit of beading near the edges – broke a needle on one. My next task will be to remove beads near edges so I can properly machine sew where I need to.

I also need to add fabric to three corners, and figure out a way to decorate a seam that joins a panel across the quilt near one end – lace, silk, bits of crochet, whatever bits and pieces I can find in my collection of stuff that kind of goes with what Ruth has used.

Hand Embroidered Crazy Quilt

Here’s my problem – the quilt needs a backing. I can set up a backing using a light cotton (the quilt is VERY heavy already and doesn’t need anything weighty on the back). But how am I going to stabilize the top to the back? I can’t stitch over existing embroidered edges because it would look awful and there are beads on lots of those edges. Do I tie top to back with bits of yarn? I have to do something.

If anybody has any idea how to attach a back to something like this, I’d love to hear your suggestions because I’m stumped, I must say. The underside of the quilt does need to be concealed because there are thread ends and raw edges throughout that will ravel and come out if left exposed.

Crazy Quilt Shoulder Bag


I started with some raw silk scraps, then gathered bits and pieces of batik from my scrap boxes.

Now there are a couple of ways of setting up a crazy quilt piecing – the easiest is to cut a muslin block in the projected size, cover it with fabric pieces using a stitch,  flip and press technique, then trimming away the excess fabric when the block has been completely covered.

I didn’t make my fabric pieces that way. I began by sewing (and pressing) strips and largish triangles together until I had an assembled fabric 12″ x 10″ more or less. Then I created a second piece approximately the same size. Squared both pieces and trimmed them to 10″ x 10″.

Next I backed the crazy quilt fabric with a layer of quilt batting, top stitched each seam with rayon embroidery thread using a different decorative stitch for each seam.

I wanted a couple of compartments in my bag, so I cut one of the finished pieces in three, inserted zippers, and added the lining at each zipper location. Then the top zipper – the shoulder strap was attached at this point.

I added pockets to each side of the main compartment lining before attaching it at the top zipper. I finished the bag by placing right sides together and sewing the side seams starting with the lining; then the seam across the bottom of the bag (it’s a good idea to remember to unzip the top zipper before stitching the bottom seam so you can turn the bag right side out).

I turned the bag right side out by pulling it through the lining. Finally, I stitched the bottom of the lining and push it inside the bag.

The final step is to zipper the top of the bag and steam press it so it’s flat!

Generally, I prefer not to carry a purse, building pockets into my jackets and pants instead. But every now and again I need a small bag – this one will do nicely.