Crazy Quilt Blocks

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Hi, everyone, Grace here! Today I’m going to show you one of my recent quilting projects. I’ve been quilting for a few years now, but I have never crazy quilted! This project is my first attempt, and I love how these blocks turned out!

For those of you who are new to quilting, crazy quilts typically incorporate, buttons, embroidery, and other types of embellishment besides fabric to create an energetic collage. The term “block” refers to the individual squares that make up a quilt. Think of a quilt like a grid – each square in the grid is referred to as a block.  I like to use a combination of machine and hand-sewing, but I’ve included a link to some instructions that show you how to put it together with only the machine. Plus, if you use only the decorative stitches on your sewing machine and skip the hand embroidery, these crazy quilt blocks can come together pretty fast! 

Here is a tutorial for a Machine-only quilt block.

Rather than create an entire quilt, I focused on single blocks. I chose different color schemes for each. My favorite is definitely the white and cream block! My inspiration came from Colette Wolff’s book The Art of Manipulating Fabric. She makes beautiful fiber art out of plain white fabric, creating various textures by stitching the fabric into three-dimensional forms. First I laid down my fabric scraps onto my backing fabric, which is muslin (plain-woven cotton). I sewed all of the scraps on, turning under the cut edges or covering them with trim. This is to prevent fraying. Once my base was down, I went over it with embroidery (by hand and machine), buttons, lace and trim. It’s a great project to use up scraps, so that they don’t go to waste. 

I incorporated the most hand-embroidery into the red, blue, and purple block. I learned these stitches from The Complete Book of Needlecraft. By Janet Kirkwood et al. There are tons of embroidery tutorials on Pinterest and YouTube, as well. I like the two illustrations at the bottom of this crafty tumblr post.

I’ve embroidered before, so I only needed a refresher. If you have never embroidered before, or find it difficult to learn from static images, then YouTube is going to be way easier.

I don’t often use the embroidery settings on my sewing machine, so this was the perfect opportunity to try them out! On the earth tones block, I used machine embroidery only, but put together the base with the same machine and hand sewing combo as the previous two. I am happy with how it turned out, but on future quilting projects, I think I am going to stick with hand sewing. Even though it is incredibly time-consuming, I think the results are prettier, and they are not difficult to do.

Lastly I’d like to show you my first machine-only block. I wanted to experiment with what a crazy quilt block would look like with machine sewing only. It’s fun and fast, so if you’re an impatient quilter, then this is the way to go! In the future, I’d like to put my blocks into frames, as well as make more circular ones for the wooden circular embroidery hoops.


Thanks for checking out my work! I hope you’ve been inspired to start up a quilting project of your own. Once you complete your first block, I think you’ll be hooked. To learn more about quilting, I highly recommend the Missouri StarQuilt Company’s YouTube channel.

NorthcottFabric has an excellent channel, as well!

See you later, and happy quilting!


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