As someone who loves crazy quilting and is always looking for new ideas, I had to get Allie Aller’s Crazy Quilting book. First, it has one of the best subtitles for a quilting book: “Modern Piecing and Embellishment Techniques for Joyful Stitching” (italics emphasis mine). What a great way to remind us why we sew and quilt in the first place!
The book is divided into seven sections that cover all aspects of Crazy Quilting:
- Collecting Your Materials and Tools
- Creating Your Own “Fabrics”
- Four Ways to Build Crazy Quilt Blocks
- Eye Candy: Embellishment!
- Gallery of Inspiration
- Work in Progress – A Crazy Quilt from Start to Finish
The author does an excellent job explaining all her techniques and augments this with lots of photos. For example, in the tools section she discusses all the different types of threads you can use, and provides many photos of various samplers that show how the threads look when they are used in stitching. This is very useful when trying to figure out what threads are needed for the look you want for your quilt.
Likewise, the embellishment section contains numerous photos of embroidery stitches and ways to use them in the quilts. She discusses how to use beads, lace, and other types of trim, as well as how to create three dimensional effects (flowers, leaves, insects). You won’t want to throw out scraps of anything again!
Part of the fun with crazy quilting is using all the scraps of fabric to create a unique foundation for your embellishments. There are tons of options for the types of fabric you can use and what you can do with them – Allie discusses all of them! In addition, she provides step by step instructions for how to use photo transfer to create unique fabrics — even without buying the expensive transfer paper or fabric sheets from Jo-Ann’s! (hint, think freezer paper).
Four different techniques for creating foundations are shown. I found this section extremely useful because I was looking for ways to create foundations that didn’t look like some type of modified log cabin (a piece in the center with other scraps radiating outwards in a loose spiral). One of the methods, called “Chunk Piecing” gives you a lot of freedom and enables you to use all those oddly shaped scraps that you couldn’t use in one of the other traditional methods.
Finally, the part you’ve been waiting to hear about – the Projects! There are six small and creative projects in the book – perfect for getting a taste of what crazy quilting is like and leaving you wanting to do more. What’s great about crazy quilting, is that once you have these instructions, you have the tools, know-how, and inspiration to make an endless number of projects that are unique to your tastes and themes! The picture above is a floral sampler that uses large floral fabric as the base for a beautiful flower garden (perfect for my April Cornell Barcelona fabric!). This is also the project used the example in the “Work in Progress” section.
The Dreaming Maiden is another creative idea and perfect for those who aren’t really interested in doing a traditional, rectangular quilt. You can make the maiden look like the favorite girl in your life – what a great gift!
In summary, Allie Aller’s book is an excellent reference for aspiring and experienced crazy quilters. She provides a lot of inspiration and ideas on what you can do with it. You certainly will have a lot of fun experimenting.
Keep it thimble!