Quilting – Just a Little Bit Crazy: A Review

Quilting Just a Little Bit Crazy coverAllie Aller and Valerie Bothell have worked together to bring out a book on crazy quilting that has a slightly different take on the topic.

Quilting – Just a Little Bit Crazy: A Marriage of Traditional & Crazy Quilting and that is what it is!  Allie Aller and Valerie Bothell have combined modern techniques that employ a sewing machine with hand techniques. This book is aimed at quilters who are interested in crazy quilting but feel daunted by the hand work involved in a traditional approach. That does not mean that those who are interested in handwork wont pick up a good few tips too! For instance it has a good section on quilt assembly that both types of quilters will benefit from.

Quilting – Just a Little Bit Crazy includes 10 projects, 5 from each author. They range in in size and complexity. There are photo instructions for the basic crazy quilt stitches and the basic silk ribbon embroidery stitches which means a new hand to this form of quilting has enough information to start embellishing their quilts.

Quilting Just a Little Bit Crazy insideOther techniques covered are foundation piecing, stabilizing with interfacing, applique, embellishing with ribbons, trims, and pre-made flowers. There are more techniques I simply list the key ones.

An important difference with this book is that there is a good section on blending hand-stitching with machine embroidery. Most books on crazy quilting focus on hand embroidery alone but there are lots of opportunities to combine machine and hand work together and this book focuses on techniques that enable that.

The main strength of this book is the combination between hand techniques and modern machine techniques. There are also loads of illustrated instruction and tips for combining crazy quilt machine piecing and embroidery. There are not many quilters who have combined these techniques and I cant think of another book that tackles the topic so well.

If you are a quilter who is interested in introducing some hand embroidery elements into your quilt but dont want to be swamped with all the hand techniques Quilting – Just a Little Bit Crazy will be ideal for you. If you are a traditional crazy quilter who is interested in being able to incorporate more machine work in your quilts you will find this book a good addition to your library.


Sashiko tutorials

By pleating stitches onto a needle Susan Briscoe  demonstrates a Sashiko pattern called Urokozashi. In English it is known as the fish scale stitch.


While on the topic over on Pearl Bee there is a very good tutorial illustrated with step by step photographs demonstrating Shashiko. Topics covered are details on thread type and needle used, as well as the technique itself.  

Sites worth bookmarking: The National Quilt Register

Most Aussie quilters know the National Quilt Register website but if you don’t do make a cuppa, and take some time to enjoy it.

Quilts and their back story are fascinating as they often they hold within them family stories. For instance  years ago I made a quilt for Eve, my daughter that contains the fabric from clothing of 4 generations of women. It is the stories behind the Quilts that the register actively collects because the National Quilt Register believes that a museum is more than a collection of objects.

In this collection all quilts and their stories are equally significant, no matter the technical ability of the quilter. On the register you will find all sorts of quilts from the finely stitched to the humble and functional and some are not even finished which is a relief for anyone who has a UFO pile!

You do have the option of using a search engine. A keyword search of crazy quilt pulled up a good number. More than enough to satisfy me over my morning coffee.

Or you can browse by stories behind the quilts which are grouped under subject lists.

For those who do not know lot about Australian quilting traditions you can also browse by quilting style (such as crazy quilting or waggas) via the Australian quilt tree.

Also on the site is a useful definition of a quilt

“The NQR definition is: a bedcover of 2 or more layers sewn together (or tied) either by hand or by machine. It is often but not always quilted. A quilt may be made for decoration or warmth or both.”

The National Quilt Register is supported by major museums and heritage organisations, women’s groups and individuals across Australia and as I say it is well worth bookmarking.

Sites worth bookmarking: International Quilt Study Center

The International Quilt Study Center and Museum, University of Nebraska-Lincoln is a site that not enough quilters know about.

The collection houses the largest publicly held quilt collection in the world. also their holdings are not limited to just American quilts as there are over 3500 quilts that range from from the early 1700s to the present and more than 25 countries are represented.

The online data base is easy to use and if type in a key word of crazy quilt there are enough returns to keep you browsing over your lunch hour.