I would like to introduce my new seam treatment series. BUT first, let’s start with a bit of history.
My crazy quilting journey began about fifteen years ago. At the time I had retired from commuting, long 13-hour days and had started working part-time from home. I had quilted for several years branching out into dyeing fabrics and experimenting with surface design techniques. I must admit in my early days of traditional quilting I had absolutely no interest in handwork and I can’t say why I developed an interest in hand embroidery but I did.
Crazy quilting is a great medium for hand embroidery techniques. When I began my journey, I learned quickly that I needed some tutorials on stitches.
Needle N Thread was my first stop. Mary offers wonderful videos demonstrations of various stitches. I watched a lot of videos and started experimenting. Shortly after I came across Sharon Boggon’s website. Pintangle offered and continues to offer a fabulous resource for anyone interested in crazy quilting.
Sharon offered a beginner’s crazy quilting workshop via PDF at that time so I managed to get in. This really opened up the endless possibilities offered in hand embroidery. Once I had completed some of the basics, I followed up with a workshop in Colorado with Judith Baker Montano. And, as they say, the rest is history.
So, let’s start our seam treatment series with a discussion about foundation stitches. If you are a crazy quilter OR perhaps you are just starting crazy quilting, seam treatments always begin with a foundation stitch. Once the foundation is complete layers are added to further enhance and embellish.
Each stitcher will have their “favourite” foundation stitches but it helps to familiarize yourself with some of the basics.
In my opinion, these would include chain, detached chain, buttonhole/blanket, herringbone, feather, chevron, Cretan, stem and French knots. I’ve likely missed a few but this will provide anyone interested in crazy quilting a good start.
Personally, I find I learn far better when I “see” a stitch so videos are great for me. BUT, there are a wide variety of books available on the market today and yes, I have many of them. Some of my favourites include
- Stunning Stitches for Crazy Quilts by Kathy Shaw
- The Visual Guide to Crazy Quilt Design by Sharon Boggon
- Judith Baker Montano’s books
Templates are an invaluable source for creating your foundation stitches. They allow you to trace the stitch onto your fabric. A variety of templates are available including:
I believe there are more but this will give you a start.
Ah yes, glorious threads! We are fortunate to have an abundance of threads to choose from in today’s market. Gorgeous, vibrant colours, sizes and textures. While I use my own Colour Complements threads, I also use a variety of others. As the series progresses, I will be discussing threads in more detail.
Choosing fabrics – silks, satins, brocades, polyesters, cotton. Avoid batiks. A good range of solids and small patterns with only a few “focus” fabrics or larger prints.
So, over the next year or more, my plan is to share a variety of seam treatments using various resources on the market. I’ve shared seam treatments from past crazy quilts but for this series, I’m specifically focusing on building on foundation stitches.
I would suggest you pick up Kathy Shaw’s Stunning Stitches for Crazy Quilts book noted above. I will be referencing this at times in future posts.
You should have a minimum of 3 x 12-inch blocks sewn and ready for stitching.
A variety of threads – Perle cottons, floss, metallics, silk – solids as well as variegated. Some silk ribbon would come in handy too! You might like to pick up one of my Thread Bits which would be an inexpensive start offering various threads.
Beads, buttons, charms etc. – I’ll talk more about these as we progress.
As I post I will be sharing resources for you if I have them but most importantly, it is your opportunity to experiment with what you may already have.
So, with all this said, gather your materials, sew your blocks and stay tuned to get started later this week on the first seam treatment in our series.