Thursday, 22 July 2021

What's In A Quilt - 10

 I recently completed my crazy quilt project Crazy for Crazy, and now want to write its history.

The tenth block is sitting to the immediate left of last week's block. Again I have been inspired by vanilla and lavender.
I don't know if you have noticed, but the middle of my blocks often holds a piece of upholstery plush. Have you wondered why? It is simply because that type of fabric is too stiff to fold. 

I always start the piecing with the centre and work my way outwards, rotating, a bit like making a Log Cabin block. The centre piece is just flat and the following pieces of fabric are the ones that have to be folded. So if there is a thick or stiff piece of fabric, it is always smart to place it in the middle. 

My mother's collection of plush swatches are all plain. That makes it suitable to add some sort of eye catching decoration or stitchery there. In this case I placed one single star shaped sequin there. If you look closely you can see I fastened it with a Whipped Wheel.

The piece next to it also has some velvet-y areas. It is a piece of chiffon actually and had the perfect colour, but the brown plush became an eye-sore. That was easy to fix - I placed a Lattice grid on top. Isn't it amazing how the purple thread fools the eye to see the velvet as a purple tone?

This chiffon piece was a remnant from a ball gown, as was the machine embroidered tulle with purple and yellow flowers. Together with the gold brocade they come from the same source - Mrs I's Dressmaking Studio.

An unusual piece is the scrap of linen. It was part of a pack I bought in Obuse, a small picturesque town in Nagano prefecture. 
Obuse is famous for its Ganshoin Temple (where Katsushika Hokusai painted a fantastic phoenix on the ceiling), chestnut delicacies, both sweet and savoury  (steamed mixed rice, ice cream, flan with bacon..), many museums (Hokusai, Nakajima Chinami, who is a famous painter of Japanese flowers, and a Japanese Lamp Museum...), rice wine. In a place like this, there are several shops selling high class souvenirs, and it was here that I got the linen.

On the largest piece of vanilla cotton, I placed a fantastic piece of tatting - a flower of many petals, made by a friend who 'took to tatting like fish to water'. She has given me a good many pieces and this is definitely the crème de la crème. As soon as I saw it I knew I had to use it for one of my crazy quilt blocks. I added a wooden bead covered in yellow silk thread in the centre.
To give the tatted flower even more flair I stitched petals around it in Methodist Knot and Chevron Stitch, as well as one sided Buttonholed Cable Chain.
There is also a curved line where I couched down a commercial upholstery braid.

Other embroidery stitches are: Chequered Chain Band, flowers made up of Knots, Bullions, Zig-zag Cable Chain. Finally I added a long lost friend, a stitch called Crested Chain Stitch. At the time of making this block I was reading VirtuoSew Adventures, and saw that Rachel was embellishing a Jacobean Coat with felt and embroidery stitches, one of which was Crested Chain Stitch. I realised I hadn't used it for about six years. Sometimes you really need to see someone else's work to get inspiration.

This block is not crowded with beads, but the yellow ones are the same expensive soroban beads I showed last week, here in a different colour though.

Sharon Boggons book about crazy quilting helped me a lot, and my friend Jacquie Harvey reminded me to add a spiders web for luck.

I worked this block between Feb 6th - April 3rd, 2019

Thank you to Mrs I, Mrs S, Rachel, Mum, Maureen, Sylvia, Jacquie, Sharon, Obuse Town and all my readers and friends who have left comments.


  1. An interesting addition the story. This bock has so many details! When I’m able to travel again, I will have to check out Obuse Nagano.

  2. I am loving reading the history of fabrics used in your beautiful blocks. Each is full of memories of each piece of fabric. Stunning work.

  3. You've made good use of crested chain - I'm glad I reminded you of it!

  4. Many fine details in this block and a fun history to go with it.
    Vanilla and Lavender block is very luxurious.

  5. Beautiful block! My favourite colour is lilac,so this is a treat to see. The Whipped wheel caught my eye. I love the History and all stitches used.

  6. I had to check out crested chain stitch. I definitely need to try that one!

  7. Wow! Your work is always so lovely. This is beautiful! I am really going to have to carve some time out to work on crazy quilting. Seeing your work is quite inspiring!

  8. It is amazing to me that you can remember where all your fabrics and accessories have come from!


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