Archive for the ‘Crazy Quilts’ Category

From long ago

Churn Dash quilt made by my grandmother and great-aunt

In my searching for items to be included in the memory quilt projects I decided to pull out the other two old quilts I have that came from the old farm. It’s been ages since these have been unfolded-I know that’s bad. One is a churn dash pattern. It has some stains that I cannot get out but is in good shape otherwise. Most of the blocks were carefully cut and pieced “correctly” but it appears the maker(s) must have run out of pieces and had to make do with what they had. This quilt will fit a full size bed. It doesn’t have a border-just sashing which appears to have come from one piece of material with a border of people- outside sashing on one side.

I assume this was meant to be the top, maybe?


Then there was this surprise…

Do you notice what’s out of place? I can’t ask anyone about it, but it seems odd that the block wasn’t taken apart and re-sewn especially since it is at the corner of the quilt. Nothing is perfect in life so why should quilting be any different? I had planned to hang this quilt on the big stairwell wall in our house, but there is too much afternoon sun.

"Crazy" pieced quilt by GM & GA

The other quilt has some holes but cannot be repaired without losing the character of the quilt. The character is why I kept it. It is not traditional, but it is block style-looks almost like a crazy quilt without the embroidery or extra details or embellishments. Pieces seem to have been sewn together to make the blocks. It is twin size but may have been used on the sofa at the old farmhouse. There is an interesting color variation between the blues, browns, and red, and it looks darker than these photos.

My mom had most of the things from the old farmhouse stored in our house in the country. I was on my own by then living a few hours away. She had gotten an apartment in town but would make trips back and forth to stay in the country. Sometime while she was in town, someone broke in and stole all of the antiques that had been handed down from both sides of the families-what had not gone with her. They almost destroyed everything else, and if it wasn’t chained down they took it…even giant rocks were taken (you never know). I went to salvage what I could, but very little was left. A wardrobe (not an antique at the time) was there with the quilts inside under some bed sheets. I had to throw one quilt away-broke my heart. Little varmints had shredded it to pieces. That was long ago, but today I have 3 quilts that I can pass on to the next generation. I am pretty sure they were made before 1950 but exactly when is a question I cannot answer. I thought I would share some of the hand quilting passed down in the family. Happy Gardening!



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Last week was one crazy week. It began Sunday a week ago when a friend brought me several little batches of material she was getting rid of. Some were projects in progress or UFOs (un-finished objects) – most were just cutouts that had not been sewn. Most of the designs are not produced any more. There are some beautiful pieces in these batches. I’m not sure what I will do with them, but I think I can find (or have) material that will coordinate (cross your fingers that I have it on hand!). I’m not sure how this will fit into my plans for the coming months, but then on Friday another friend gave me some quilt tops she had not finished long ago and some rolls of decorator fabric. Wow! What nice friends! I still need to decide what I will do with everything. Here’s a glance at the material from the first friend.

If I’m going to give the finished projects to the church to sell for restoration, then it needs to be something other than a big quilt – it will take too long to hand quilt. Some thoughts for the fan cuts could be pillows, placemats :(, lap quilt, etc. I’ll tell more about the quilt tops and rolled fabric at a later time. Right now, I need to focus on my appliqué project. I’m really excited about this! I wanted to post photos, but they did not come out that well. I have the first petal sewn but need to go back and recut the white part of the petals. I just do not like the way it looks because I used an old piece of muslin-remember that I was just doing a dry run but then decided to finish the project. I really like it, but I hope others will, too. I’m not sure how I will finish it. It could be a big pillow, but I’m not crazy about that idea – yet. I’m toying with the idea of a lap quilt that can be hung if desired. The second idea will probably win out. Depending on how well this turns out and how it is received (remember the lady who thought my crazy quilts were potholders), I want to make a larger flower quilt, but I need to finish designing the block patterns.

It’s cold today, but no snow 😦 or ice 🙂 is predicted like it could have been. I think most people have had their fill after we had the ice on top of the snow last time. Most people I know are ready for spring. As for gardening and plants, there was a time I could grow anything (got that from my dad), bring it back to life, etc. Now, I’m having trouble keeping things alive since I keep it so cold in the house. My poinsettia from 2009 is looking rather ragged and the rose bush my hubby gave me for our anniversary has dropped all of its leaves. On the up side, there is new growth on the little rose bush, so maybe there is hope… 🙂

Happy gardening in all parts of your lives!


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There are several types of memory quilts and just like crazy quilting there are no set rules one must follow-REALLY-I’m serious! One can look at quilting as being a medium of art, but it is so much more. To many people, a quilt serves as a necessity and not a luxury. To others, it is a palette of color, a geometric display, a landscape, still life, or something else totally. It’s quite different than a drawing or a painting, but the finished product is a canvas (literally) that displays what the artist desires. There are designs and patterns from which to choose, but the artist/quilter does not have to follow these. Remember that we cannot confine ourselves to only a set way of doing things. Creativity is important in all aspects of art.

One type of memory quilt is called a friendship quilt. Perhaps someone is moving away, retiring from a job, or leaving a designated group. Friends may want to make this person a quilt so the individual can remember the group and the times they have shared. There is no limit to what can be done including adding names, photos, and mementos of past times together. This type of quilt can also be assembled as a thank-you gift for a job or service, or it can be used to raise donations. In the book I have, Memory Quilts in the Making (Leisure Arts), there is a lovely fan quilt that was put together to raise money for a church charity.

                                     Leisure Arts Presents Memory Quilts in the Making

For each donation, businesses or individuals could have their name stitched in a block; think – fabric advertisements. The quilt was later auctioned off to raise even more money. What a great idea to make a quilt that can be displayed for a period of time (perhaps 3-6 months or more) so that all will see it, and then auction it off after the allotted time. Today, we are more apt to buy inscribed blocks/bricks or leaves of gold, silver, etc or other things that are more concrete. I like the quilt idea especially with a church because names are not sprawled everywhere on the building, but I’m peculiar like that.

Next memory quilt posting:  Honoring and Remembering.

Happy Gardening!


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Before I get to the memory quilt post, I want to report on my quilting projects that I finished in time for Christmas–there is a story. Photo sampling of some of my projects:

 Christmas Décor


 Mini Crazy Quilts


They all had decorative hangers with gold embellishments, etc. I took the finished projects over to a friend who was taking them to the church to sell in the shops they have open on the weekends (for restoration project). She absolutely loved them! Little did I know she was going to buy most of them and give them to some of our friends, 1) as a gift for Christmas; 2) so they could have something I made; and 3) it would benefit the church, too (why mess with two birds when you can get three birds with one stone, right?). Anyway, most ladies were very appreciative of my efforts. They are all older than me and most knew my mother, so that counts for something extra. On the downside, one lady received one of the mini crazy quilt wall hangings. I tried to do my best and smile when she came to thank me for making the “potholders.”  😦   Ok, not the kindest remark in the world, but at least she thanked me for making an effort. I have not heard if all of the items were sold-things have been slow with the holidays and the bad weather and all. 

Another story – my mother-in-law used to make the most beautiful crocheted items. She would work hard all year crocheting so she could sell them to have enough money to buy gifts for Christmas. I just wanted some of the crocheted items-forget buying anything. I don’t think she liked it when I told her, but I wanted to have things she made so the kids would have them years from now. My mom used to make about everything we gave because we could not afford ‘store bought’ items. I even got tired of ‘handmade’ things, but I understood what it meant to make something so that others would have part of you. It is not just the thought that counts but the effort that goes into making something for someone-not 1000 of the same thing-but you know what I mean. I see more of this today than two years ago. Maybe we, or at least some of us, have grown to appreciate things a little more with the downslide in the economy…I hope so! So, whether you make something or receive something, someone made it. Let’s just appreciate those things made and crafted by people, especially those made by people we know. 

Happy Gardening – and I promise the memory quilt post is next!


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I am trying to decide on a plan of action for the next few months. There are some things I did not get finished last year – so many I did not get started – so, I have been browsing the ‘net’ trying to jumpstart my engines. It is hard to get going again right after the holidays. Seeing projects that others are doing really helps me get up and get busy. I found this great-looking quilt project called ‘Percy the Penguin’ by Denise Russart. I just love the colors she used and the texture of the fabrics! He is so bright at a time that can be so depressing for many people. Isn’t he so cute?

Then I stumbled on some flickr photos (lucia_panopintado) through someone’s blog:

Quilt  ; Quilt section 1 ; Quilt section 2 

Crazy quilted pillow 

Embroidered flower basket 

Now that my creative juices seem to be flowing again, it’s time to get a plan together!

I am not one to buy quilting books, but I bought a memory quilt book the other day that I hope I can pass down to one of my daughters. It has some terrific ideas. I have wanted to make a memory quilt for each of the girls and have been saving scraps of their clothes from their younger years. I did not want the quilts to be made just from scraps, and this book has given me some ideas that will help with that. Now is the time to get started (they are almost completely out of the house), so I think that will be the biggy project(s), with some quilted table runners made out of some spring-like material along the way. Then I plan to alternate back and forth with the pocket wall hangings (for cards and collectables) and crazy quilts. I have thought about making a crazy quilt pillow but did not know how it would turn out. I think I should do one to see, but I do not want to make it very big. I have come into some denim material that is being recycled from old jeans. I love to embroider on it, so I will have to see where that takes me, too. Someone has also given me some material that will work well in a baby nursery, so I may make some crib quilts or other nursery things.

So many things to do, so little time, but I need to have a plan of action before I go on. And, I need to stay out of the fabric stores as much as possible, but I need to get a darning needle for my sewing machine soon. I want to hand quilt for as long as possible, but I really do not know how much longer that will be. Well, it will be a busy 2011. Here is to creating some great projects while making wonderful memories that will last a lifetime.

Bonne chance mes amis! And, Happy Gardening all through the year!

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 Post 2

I bought some slightly used ties back during the summer to use in some crazy quilts. I love them especially the tropical one. I wish I could find more like it because I love the colors; the way they pop out at you is striking!

To be honest, I wanted to experiment before I cut this one up, so I decided to take some material I had on hand and give it a try at making a crazy quilt–mini size.

These are the results: 


I made 6 in all-two are very much like one pictured. I tried different stitches and such, but my favorite is the leaf designs seen in the top two photos.

I backed these with white flannel for stability to hold the embroidery and embellishments. I then added another layer of flannel to give it some extra support before adding the backing. I tried one with regular batting, but it was much too bulky. The two pieces of flannel work nicely. I had planned to use some wooden dowels to hang them, but I used wire for one (I like coiling it to give it a different look) and I used braiding for the others. I was pleased, especially since I have not done handwork in a while. It was a learning experience, and I hope to make more things after the first of the year. It was much more involved than quilting so I hope to find a balance in there somewhere. 

Happy Gardening!


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December 1st

I have been so busy sewing that I have not had the time to blog – or anything else. I am almost finished with my mini crazy quilts and Christmas hanging goodies. I have not gotten everything I wanted completed, but I have been working hard at it. I will post pictures soon-I promise!!!!   I cannot get excited about Christmas until Dec 1st, so here it is. Wow! There is so much to do, but I will cover that later. I have a post I want to get in here, and when I get everything finished, I will post pictures and stuff about what I have been doing. I know I do not have a lot of readers, but that is ok.

Weather:  Yesterday it was in the 70s; today, it will not reach 55 but will feel more like 30 something. Brrrr!  LOVE IT! Well, take care and happy gardening!

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While I was out getting batting today I could not resist stopping by the Thrift Store to see if there was anything they had that I could use – like I need more STUFF, right? I found some really flashy ties – yes, TIES. I have not shopped for ties there before, but I found two that are absolute gorgeous! I would have never guessed someone would make ties out of this material. If the spouse of the house turns his nose up at them (and I believe he will), I plan to add them to the selection of material for my crazy quilt(sssss). I still have to find the jeans I stashed away some time back, but it looks like I am good to go. I just need to get some other things taken care of and then I will nudge myself into taking the plunge. It is taking me a while to talk myself into doing this. It is almost like jumping off the high-dive except I do not know of what I am afraid. 

While waiting on someone today, I penciled out a new quilt design I plan to try out for a table topper….after I get the crazy quilt done first (I have trouble focusing on just one thing). I have to get the pattern pieces made and that will be ready to go.

Yes, it’s HOT! I think it’s time to make some good ole fashion lemonade. Yum-yum. I figure that I might as well make my time in the heat as enjoyable as possible. Happy Gardening to you!


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Crazy Quilts

Countdown:  By my count, it is 45 more days until Sept 1. Yippy! That is so much better than when I first started keeping count. Unfortunately, the worst could be yet to come as far as heat goes. We often have 100 degree temps with high humidity at this time of year. It is not the norm, but the mid 90s are. My little veggie garden is suffering and some of my other annual flowers are looking a little ragged. My poinsettia looks wonderful!

CRAZY QUILTS:  Well, I have gotten about everything I need for my first ‘crazy quilt.’ I have never made one before because to tell the truth, I really like nice and neat repeating patterns. It could be my OCD showing through I suppose. Though crazy quilts are not usually batted, I am toying with the idea of using something, possibly interfacing (sew-in type), or something between the finished front and back, adding backing while finishing the edges so it can hang. I have seen some beautiful crazy quilts in the past several years, some pieced with lovely embroidered handkerchiefs and/or doilies, and most with beautiful stitching and adornments. I’m sure mine will not be as beautiful as others I have seen, but I look forward to doing this project as it takes me a bit out of my comfort zone. It may take me a while to get to this project, but I am really excited.

For more information about crazy quilts, there is some excellent information on the web. Some instruct that one must first begin with a 5-sided piece, but this is not true. The only thing needed is some imagination and willingness to experiment. As with traditional and contemporary quilting, the possibilities are almost endless. Good luck in your sewing endeavors and happy gardening in all that you do!


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