2020 crazy quilt block 1 It all starts here!

2020 crazy quilt block 1 I said the other day that hopefully this week I will have the first block of my 2020 quilt done and here I am waving enthusiastically. The hexagon when finished and bound has 4 inch sides and is 8 inches from point to point across. I thought today I would share with you the pattern and information about how this crazy quilt hexagon was made and embellished.

First up this is my starting point, here is the block unembellished. When I pieced the block I included the lace and ribbon.

2020 crazy quilt block 1 unembellished

Here I have the pattern. People are free to use it in their own personal project, just let people know where you got it via a link and credit.

2020 crazy quilt block 1 patternThe seam between piece 1 and 2 is a line that consists of 4 scallops. Using my templates I traced around the edge with a quilters pencils. Once the line was marked I worked the line using Threaded chain stitch (I have yet to have it in the stitch dictionary but it has just gone on my To do list) The chain stitch is worked in cotton perle #5 thread and the gold thread is a metallic knitting yarn which I found in a discount bargain bin. It is called Excel and was made in Taiwan. To be honest I cant imagine anyone knitting with the stuff but its great for using in any of the embroidery stitches that involve lacing and threading.

In the dips of the scallops I arranged a small flower motif made of French Knots. At their base I added a aqua bead that was secured by seed bead.

2020 crazy quilt block 1 seam 3The seam that runs down piece 5 is covered with a ribbon. Using my templates again I traced the same scallops in a line down the side of the ribbon. I used Stem Stitch to cover the line. Three bullion knots were arranged in fan worked in the dips of the scallops. The thread I used was hand dyed silk which I did myself. It is the same thickness as #8 perle cotton. I then added some straight stitches using a aqua metallic thread, topped off with a seed bead.

2020 crazy quilt block 1 seam 4

The lace that buts against the seam of piece 1 and piece 3 I secured to the block with tiny stitches before adding seed beads. Along the edge of this lace is I worked little arrangements of detached chain stitch and straight stitches. These are finished off with a small glass bicone bead at the base and seed beads at the top of straight stitches. The threads I used are #5 cotton perle for the detached stitches and aqua metallic thread and #8 cotton perle for the straight stitches.

The bow shaped lace motif was first secured to the block with very tiny stitches worked using regular sewing machine cotton and then I added the three seed beads.

2020 crazy quilt block 1 seam 1The next seam I want to talk about runs along the edge of piece 4. It has a foundation of herringbone stitch worked in #5  cotton perle. These foundation stitches are also threaded with the same metallic knitting yarn I used on the Threaded Chain stitch (I can see I have another variety I need to add to my stitch dictionary. The to-do list is growing!)

Spaced between the herringbone stitches using a #5 cotton perle that was hand dyed, I worked detached chain wrapped bullion knots.(Oops there is another variety to add to my stitch dictionary)  These I arranged in a fan and stitched a little gold novelty bead at the base of each fan.

2020 crazy quilt block 1 seam 2One of my ideas for this quilt is to have a garden type them where there are little things to discover on each block. In the tradition of Victorian crazy quilts I added a spider – just peeking from behind a button. He is watching the butterfly. Spiders mean good luck so I wanted to start this project on a good footing. The Spiders web is made of a couched metalic gold thread. I found the thread in estate sale and I dont know what it is but its good to stitch with which is rare for metallic threads!

The idea behind a 2020 crazy quilt challenge is make a crazy quilt using 2020 different items by the end of the year 2020. So what am I counting on this block?

Count for 2020 crazy quilt block 1

  • Fabric 5
  • Ribbon and lace 2
  • Charms 2
  • Buttons 5
  • Novelty beads 4
  • Lace bow motif  1
  • Specialty threads 3 (gold metallic for spider web, metallic aqua, metallic knitting yarn)
  • Stitches 8 (French Knot, Stem Stitch, Threaded Chain stitch, Threaded Herringbone, Detached Chain, Straight stitch, Couching, Wrapped Bullion Knots, )

Total on Block 30

CORRECTIONS and EDITS! I have changed the total because I forgot count the lace bow and the fact I had not counted specialty threads and stitches confused people so I added them and revised the total.

I am tracking what I do in studio journal so hopefully I wont duplicate, next time around if people are interested I will share the page spread too.

I hope you have found this article about my 2020 crazy quilt block 1 interesting.

Do you want to join the 2020 Crazy Quilt challenge?

The aim is make a crazy quilt using 2020 different items by the end of the year 2020. You will find the guidelines and list of resources here 

Admins on the big Facebook groups Crazy Quilt Divas and Crazy Quilt International  are happy to see people share there work there. So follow the links and join the groups if you are Facebook person.  For those who have blogs you can leave your web address in the comments – each week as you progress. Instagram people can use #2020crazyquilt to share progress photos.

Have you seen my book?

holding my book in front of quilt

My book The Visual Guide to Crazy Quilting Design: Simple Stitches, Stunning Results  shares detailed practical methods about how to design and make a crazy quilt. From fabric choice, to balancing colour, texture and pattern, in order to balance and direct the eye around the block.  I cover how to stitch, build decorative seam treatments in interesting and creative ways. My book is profusely illustrated as my aim was to be practical and inspiring.

My Crazy quilters templates

My templates for crazy quilters aim to help you take your stitching to the next level.With my templates you are able to create hundreds of different hand embroidery patterns to embellish your seams  with flair. These templates are easy to use, made of clear plastic so you can position them easily and are compact in your sewing box.

using my Crazy Quilt Templates set 2These are simple to use. You simply position the template in place and use a quilter’s pencil to trace along the edge of the template. Stitch along this line to decorate the seam. I have a free ebook of patterns to accompany each set which illustrates how they can be used.

TO ORDER your Crazy Quilt Templates

Crazy Quilt Templates set 1 you will find here 
Crazy Quilt Templates set 2 you will find here 






Preparing for the 2020 crazy quilt challenge

Yesterday I announced a new CQ challenge to make a 2020 over the next couple of years. I am delighted to have a good few takers for this challenge so I have heaps of stitching buddies which makes me grin.   Today I thought I would share how I have gone about organising and planing for such a large project. I learnt a lot when I made the I Dropped the Button Box quilt and no doubt will learn more with this one.

For those who missed it here are the guidelines  but just to recap the idea behind a 2020 quilt is make a quilt using 2020 different items such as different fabric, lace, braid, ribbons, doilies, hankies, buttons, charms and beads. One of the attractive aspects about this project is to see how my stitching has changed since I worked  the I Dropped the Button Box quilt which is a Y2K quilt with 2000 unique bits on it.

Made in the year 2000 revisiting the idea a couple of decades later is an interesting exercise but as I embark on this I also realise that I will face similar creative challenges. To keep it interesting and new  this time around I will count ‘bits’ fabric lace etc but I am also going to count varieties of stitches and embroidered seams so it is not a simple repeat of what I  have done before. Also instead of making my blocks square this time around I am going to make hexagons.

Planing and keeping track of 2020 bits of stuff!

A fun part on this type of quilt is to use 2020 different pieces of fabric, lace, ribbon, braid, buttons etc as the quilt has to be made of 2020 unique items or pieces. You get to dig out all your stuff! Because you dig it all out and because you are trying to find things that are unique to meet the ‘all different’ requirement you find your self rummaging in all the nooks and crannies of your stash and finally using that special thing-a-ma-bob that you have hoarded for the last 20 years. So this type of project is a great stash buster.

fabrics for the 2020 crazy quiltAnyway the first thing I did was dig out all my fabrics. As I went I selected a small piece and then pinned it to my design wall.

Tip! Keep everything for this project together in one place.

It is quite a challenge not to have duplicates in the quilt. To avoid accidentally using something twice in the quilt I pick out all the stuff that I am going to use and double check it for duplication. So that means going through my stash selecting one of each of the fabrics I am going to use. Then doing the same with lace, ribbon and braids. I have a design wall so I just pin them up until pulled out everything.

fabric selection for the 2020 crazy quiltAs I go I select fabrics that may go together so each of these bunches look like this. I wont get to piece all the blocks in one hit but each of these selections goes in a zip lock bag. If I see an obvious match with lace or braid I put them in the bag too as I add laces, ribbons and braids as I piece.

Lace for the 2020 crazy quiltIf the fabrics and lace are not organised into coordinated blocks I put the whole lot into a big plastic storage tub. The main thing is to keep the supplies for this project separate from my regular stash. It is easy to think as I did with the the I Dropped the Button Box quilt, that you can assemble blocks as you go and pull from your stash as needed. It did cause me troubles. The the I Dropped the Button Box quilt has 100 6 inch blocks each had 20 or so items on them. The first 10-15 blocks were fine as duplicates are easy to spot and prevent when assembling the next block.  Once you reach about 30 blocks it is hard to hold in your minds eye what you have used and what you have not used. I have not done this type of project with larger blocks so I would be interested in hearing from anyone who does and if they need to pull out everything first.

buttons for the 2020 crazy quiltI also go through all my buttons and make up a box of buttons that hold no duplicates and the same with charms. So everything that I can use on the project is set aside in one place.

Using a studio Journal

The other thing I am looking forward to is experimenting with the embroidery a lot more as I hope to experiment with more stitches and more embroidery techniques. To keep track of this and to catch ideas as I think of them I will use a studio journal. So I have a spiral bound A4 art journal sitting on my desk. I chose spiral bound in order to be able to stick in fabric swatches, threads and  photos without it getting too bulgy – it will  and I might even need a second notebook by the time the project is done but I am tracking it from now. One side of the journal will be me tracking the project block by block and I will turn the notebook over and use the back as the side I store ideas in. When doing this type of large project as I stitch I often thinks of other things I can do – I will note it  in my studio journal. Then of course there is stimulation and inspiration of stuff seen online. That too goes in the back of my studio journal.

Decide on block size and shape 

I have over 3 years to make it as technically the deadline for a 2020 quilt is the end of 2020 so it’s not a stressed or hurried project and I was looking for something that was easy to pick up and set down when I wanted to work on something else. After seeing hexies made by Vivian Garforth’s and then Margaret Roberts (both members of Facebook groups Crazy quilt International and Crazy Quilt Divas) I have decided to make hexagons using the quilt as you go method.

The next thing to work out was how many hexies I wanted to make. To do this I used a the cddesigns calculator I found online. The calculator measures the side of the finished hexagon. I am using a template that creates a finished side of 4 inches which is 8 inches across from point to point. I like this size as it fits on hoop easily with no worries about having to move the work and crushing embroidery or beads etc. This size also works up relatively quickly. For a long term project like this I am trying to avoid stall points as stall points lead to UFO’s. So for me a handy size block is a way of giving myself the best chance to complete!

Using  the calculator on the cddesigns I fiddled about with the size of the quilt and came up with the number of 120 hexagons and 11 half hexagons to give me a quilt top that 76 inches by 74 inches. I then divided 2020 ( the number I need to make the challenge) by 125.5 (120 and 11 half hexies) to get the number of items for each block which is 16 unique items per block which I can do. So the composition of my blocks without embroidery will be something like this  5-7 pieces of fabric, 3-5 buttons, 2-3 pieces of lace, ribbon or braid, 1 charm/feature bead and 1 lace motif. These are approximate as I will jiggle what looks best on each block and what works with the embroidery on the block and this time around I am counting different embroidery techniques and seam combinations.

One thing that is of concern is that if I pile all that stuff on to each block I don’t have much room for embroidery.  Now this number is good in theory but if I get very wrapped up in lots of embroidery I will need more room on the block! This means the final count of 2020 items may fall short. If this happens my solution is to add more more hexies and have bigger quilt.  So in the long run, I am not sure yet as to final number of hexies but they will be around 120 or more if required. I will be counting and recording in my studio journal.

Well thats the plan – Comments and discussion welcome in the comments below. My next post on this will be hopefully be sharing my first block!
Where to Share your progress on your 2020 crazy quilt
Admins on the two big Facebook groups Crazy Quilt Divas and Crazy Quilt International   are more than happy for people to share there work there. For those who have blogs you can leave your web addy in the comments. Instagram people can use #2020crazyquilt to share progress photos.

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Who feels like a humungous delicious stitchers challenge?

crazy quiltsFeeling like a stitchers challenge? I have decided to propose a challenge/stitch along to make a 2020 quilt. What is a 2020 Quilt? It is a quilt with 2020 different pieces of fabric in it but when you give it a twist and apply it to crazy quilting it becomes 2020 items. At the turn of the millennium many quilters made Y2K quilts with 2000 pieces in them. They are usually charm quilts. Many quilters got the bug me included as I made the I Dropped the Button Box quilt. I loved making it. So I have decided to revisit the idea 20 years on starting now so I have good chance of finishing it by the end of 2020!

Since it is large project, made over a long time I am suggesting a stitch along challenge for anyone else who is interested in this project. Starting now means it can be worked at a relaxed pace and a challenge helps to keep things interesting over that period of time.

After floating the idea in the two big Facebook groups Crazy Quilt Divas and Crazy Quilt International there was much discussion on what could counted and what not. I have decided to keep the rules simple and flexible as people need to be able to adapt the challenge to their needs and interests.

The rules are simple – make your quilt of blocks that are any shape or size.  The quilt has to be made of 2020 unique items or pieces. The aim is to finish by the end of 2020 to mark the year 2020.

Now down to the nitty gritty …Those unique items can be fabric, lace, braid, ribbons, doilies, hankies, buttons, charms, and beads. When this was discussed on Facebook counting types of seed beads and bugle beads was raised. For instance if you had green seed beads then some purple seed beads on a block that would be 2 ‘items’ ie. 1 for the green and 1 for the purple. I think many people who enjoy beading and want to push their skills in that direction will be happy to know that.

You can also count embroidery and embroidery techniques as an ‘item’. For instance you can aim to have certain number of embroidered seams that are stitches combined in different ways. Or you may want to create stitched motifs and designs that are all different! In this type of instance creating each ‘item’ in a unique manner is the challenge. Or it could be a combination of different items such as buttons fabrics etc and different embellishment techniques.

In other words what you count as part of your 2020 items and how you count them is up to you. Variety is the name of the game here.

Start anytime you like. We have a good 3 and half years to do this so if you are currently committed to projects carry on stitching and when the time is right join in.

Of course the idea is to share what you do along the way. Remember sharing photos of what you is not bragging but giving back to the community. Sharing helps inspire and stimulates everyone in the group. Having a strong active group means everyone is encouraged, new hands can ask questions and we can all share ideas. On a big project like this, being part of a group will keep things interesting. Support and stimulation of a group hopefully means the idea wont become a huge UFO either!

Where to Share : Admins on the two big Facebook groups Crazy Quilt Divas and Crazy Quilt International   are more than happy for people to share there work there. For those who have blogs you can leave your web addy in the comments. Instagram people can use #2020crazyquilt to share progress photos.

Tomorrow I will share with you how I have been planing and organising the project. Meanwhile, let me know what you think. Share the news and let people know about the challenge. Leave a comment here or on Facebook to let me know what you think, ask questions etc I think this will be fun!

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You can have Pintangle delivered to your inbox by using the follow feature in the sidebar. Just enter your email address, and when you get the confirmation email make sure you say yes and you are all set!
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