*edit, June 27, 2007*
Thank you to the Mid Valley Quilt Guild of Salem, Oregon for your friendly reception at my lecture yesterday! It was great to meet you all!
Some links for you as a follow-up..
--A thorough explanation of how a crazy quilt is constructed, once the blocks are pieced, is here.
It is my article in CQMagOnline entitled, "CQ Engineering".
--The stained glass technique I talked about is explained here, also in CQMagOnline. Included is a discussion of my lettering technique with the bonded gold lame.
--finally, the best portal to all crazy quilt information on the web can be found at this post from Sharon Boggon's blog, inaminuteago.
Again, thank you, ladies!...
As an addition to the printed tips for piecing that I will be including in my Jump Start Packs, I decided that an online tutorial with lots of pictures could be helpful to people who want to jump into basic crazy piecing but could use some visual aids. I will include this blogpost address in my Packs, so buyers will have access to this basic instruction if they are not experienced quilters.
Just think of this as my online version of standing over your shoulder and telling you what to do! (Remember that this is only one of many ways to foundation piece. Others might teach you different ways to go.)
Step 1. Trace the block lines onto your foundation muslin, which is 10" square for an 8" block.
Step 2. Interface your fancy fabrics. Why? Because if you are not used to working with ravely silk or wiggly velvet, it will drive you crazy and you may quit in frustration and despair before you even get started! So just lay out your pieces upside down, place the interfacing over them--remembering to double check to make sure the glue side is against the fabric, not against your hot iron--and fuse.
That is a piece of tracing paper you see between my iron and the fusible interfacing. This just prevents any meltage of the interfacing that might occur while fusing. Wonder Under release paper works great too.
After you've fused, turn over the fabrics and if there are any bubbles caused by the interfacing, just iron them out.
Step 3. Cut apart your squares. Notice I am not caring at all about trimming the interfacing exactly even with the fabric.
Step 4. I have traced the first patch, and added a seam allowance all the way around it.
Step 5. My first patch is cut out and laid directly onto the block, fancy side showing. I have stitched around its perimeter to hold it in place. I started with my darkest fabric for the center-most piece of the block; it is a traditional way to go and design-wise is always a good choice.
Step 6. Piece #2 is pinned in place, right sides together with Piece #1. I will be eyeballing my seam, rather than turning over the foundation fabric and sewing exactly on the drawn seam line. I hate sewing that way, so I don't do it. Plus, we don't have to be exact-exact in crazy piecing, unlike the paper-piecing used in sane quilting.
This is one reason we love crazy piecing, of course!
Step 7. Seam is sewn, patch is flipped and ironed flat. Do please iron after every patch is sewn and flipped. Flat, flat, flat.
Step 8. O.K., listen to me, I am talking to you here! See how much bigger my seam allowance is drawn in on this piece, along what will be the perimeter of the block? We want to give ourselves lots of extra seam allowance around the edges of the block because....if this block finished is going to be 8", not only do we want the usual 1/4" seam allowance for finishing the block edges, but these blocks will shrink with the gorgeous hand-stitching you are going to work onto them... so you really need that extra seam allowance.
I have learned this bitterly the hard way so please just do it.
Step 9. Merrily we are rolling along here. Pieces 3 and 4 have gone on in order with their extra perimeter seam allowances.
But what about that pretty trim that was included in the Jump Start Pack?
Step 10. I have machine basted it right along its edge where the next seam for Piece 5 is going to go. I will not bother sewing down the other edge, as that will be covered by decorative hand-stitching which will also hold it in place. You could machine sew it down now if you wanted to, though. You can piece in lace this way too.
Piecing the trim in now is just a bit easier than appliqueing it on later...but of course you could do it that way too. In crazy quilting there are never any strict rules.
Step 11. I have sewn and flipped Piece 5 over the edge of the trim (and over pieces 1 and 4, which are beneath the trim). Also, Piece 6 is sewn, flipped, and ironed into place.
I should say here that if these fabrics had not been interfaced, this would not be fun. It would be nightmarish. Instead, it IS fun.
Also, my perimeter edge looks quite irregular at this point. There are some of you out there whom this would really bother. But don't let it.
Step 12. Pieces 7A and 7B need to be seamed together and then the seam pressed flat before they are added to the block as one unit.
Step 13. Here is the #7 "chunk" pinned in place and ready to sew. I want you to see that it doesn't matter if the edges don't line up perfectly before you sew the seam. I will trim off that little orange tag of fabric sticking out there before I flip and iron this chunk into place.
Step 14. This is not at all critical but a helpful little tip. That yellow brocade I used for Piece 7B is pretty heavy fabric, so when I flip the block over after sewing on my chunk, I get this ridge along the seam in the lightweight foundation fabric. It is easier to get a "flat flip" and an undistorted block if you iron this heavier weight fabric seam from the back first. I always use a clean terry towel for my ironing surface so I don't totally squash any velvet that I might be using in my block. This way I can press down hard on my iron.
Step 15. Well then, here we are! I have sewn a stitching line exactly 8" square to show the finished block size...also so that I will know how far out my hand-stitching needs to extend along the seams. If I am going to add beads I will know to not bead right up to the 8" edge. Have you ever broken a sewing machine needle sewing over a bead? It is a jarring experience!
Finally, I have zigzagged around the perimeter of my patches, because even though they are interfaced, with all the handling this block will have, those edges would still at least think about fraying. I even zigzagged the end of the trim, because I KNOW that stuff unravels.
This block is ready to embellish!
CQMagOnline had the original diagram for this block as part of its ongoing BOM, or Block of the Month, series. (I forget which issue, sorry.) Click on over to look for more block patterns in the archives, if you like. Or draw your own...
One last note to those of you who have or will purchase the Jump Start Fabric Packs....by all means substitute or add some of your own fabrics into the mix if you feel so moved. I think sane quilting cottons look terrific mixed with fancy fabrics like these.
And save your scraps!
Hope this was helpful... ;-)