For quite some time I have wanted to work with the design from an actual vintage crazy quilt, only updating it with fresh colors, fabrics, and embellishments. When I saw a picture of the following quilt, I knew it was the One for me.
I can't remember where I first saw it...maybe one of you will?
Anyway, I love the combination of crazy piecing and sane quilt piecing as well, the randomness and definite design. (My pet theory is that the woman who made this was also a sane quilter, not just picking up on the huge fad of crazy quilting.)
So as with all my large quilt projects, I start with my block blanks up on the design wall.
I like the proportions of the blocks a lot.
I don't have the border up there yet, as one of my good friends still has to come up with a piecing diagram for me. It looks kind of tricky.
I decided to start with the wheels in the center section.
Not wanting to piece those funny black diamonds, I came up with a true "cheater" version of the little 5" blocks, one that has the advantage of no bulky seam allowances too. This will come in handy when I am embroidering all those nice black diamond areas...it's nice and flat under them.
Each block is roughly laid out with pre-sewn half-square triangles.
I only need to square up one of the four corners.
Then I adjusted the lay-out, just barely overlapped them, and ran a zig zag down the center seams.
I was off and running....
...while getting reacquainted with my stash, which was really fun.
Next is to applique those black diamond shapes, which will turn these blocks into wheels.
I started with the exact finished shape cut out of freezer paper.
I ironed it onto the black dupioni silk and cut it out with roughly 1/4" extra seam allowance.
Using the freezer paper as a guide, I ironed under the extra fabric. Then I peeled off the freezer paper.
I pinned on my shape and machine appliqued it in place using a fine black thread in a narrow zig zag stitch.
This is not exact...but all these seams will be covered by little stitching, and this is supposed to look vintage, not 21st Century Quilt Police Perfect.
You can see the wheels starting to emerge.
When all the blocks are trimmed and sewn together this will look quite cohesive.
But I am not planning on assembling them right away.
I personally feel that part of what adds to the "vintage" look in crazy quilting is the way each block has been worked on independently, and then all the blocks are joined together in the end.
In recent projects, like the Spring CQ, I've been exploring the look you get when you assemble the entire top first...it has a more controlled, unified look. But this time I just want to be able to grab a stack of little blocks and add seam treatments any which way, "working the stack", as Martha Green would say. It's perfect stitching work for under the trees next to the hammock! Or on an airplane....and is the kind of project that can be interrupted and taken up again, not necessarily pursued in one sustained effort.
Before I start any embroidering, I do think I will piece the rest of the quilt blocks (not counting the already dreaded border). But first I have 20 more diamond shapes to go....