2020 crazy quilt block 2

2020 crazy quilt block 2 completed Here I am waving frantically as I am excited to be sharing my 2020 Crazy Quilt block 2 today. I loved stitching this hexagon. It is winter in Australia and I think I was dreaming of spring when I pieced this.  As regular readers know this hexagon is part of my 2020 project. 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 When I make references to an item count I am referring to what items on this block  are being counted as part of the overall count for the quilt.

Here is the block as it started life, unembellished and looking a bit bare. As you can see I have 6 pieces of fabric, a piece of hand dyed lace and piece of vintage ribbon.

2020 crazy quilt block 2unembellished

This is the pattern I designed for my 2020 Crazy Quilt block 2. I am happy for people to use it for personal projects but I ask readers to do the right things and give credit or link back here.

2020 crazy quilt block 2 patternAs you can see the curved seam between piece 4 and 5 is a bit close to the edge of the hexagon. At the start I was a little worried about it, but it worked out OK in the end. Below is a close detail of the seam. I used one of my favourite stitches Feathered Up and Down Buttonhole stitch worked in one ply of Caron Watercolour #270 thread. In the fork of the stitches I worked a Bullion Knot using the same Caron Watercolour #270 thread. Once they were worked I added a orange oval pearl bead. From the end of these I added 2 small straight stitches using a blue silk thread.  Near to these  I added 2 plastic beads that are in the shape of butterflies which I counted as 1 item.

I also added some lace to the seam that joins pieces 4 and 5 to pieces 1 and 2. I usually add lace as I piece a block but this time around I decided as I was making it that this lace fitted so well on the block it should live there. So I unpicked the seam a little (about half an inch) and tucked the end of lace into the seam and then secured it with a few small stitches. The other end of the lace went to the edge of the block so the binding took care of that. I added seed beads to the middle of the heart shapes on the lace. Next the leaf like drop shapes in the lace pattern were each secured with a straight stitch worked in the same blue silk thread I used on the seam between piece 4 and 5 . At the top of the heart I used a small red faceted glass bead.

2020 crazy quilt block 2 detail 3

The next fun area to embroider was the little snow drops. I made these using a green rayon thread that proved to be a bit of a nightmare when I attempted to I used it to make the leaves. The stems were created with stem stitch and the thread behaved OK but using it for the long leaves was a challenge!

The leaves are made using a stitch called Open Base Needlewoven Picot. Now, I do have a good few tricks for taming Rayon thread, such as keeping the thread length short, using thread conditioners (beeswax or thread heaven) but by far the easiest is to dampen it, which I did, but I still found weaving with this rayon thread a battle. There was a sigh of relief when I had them done. I added two clear seed beads as dew drops.

The snow drops are made of off white 7mm Silk ribbon stitched over a pearl bead. I have the bead just poking out and to make sure they stayed poking out I added a few French knots at the bottom of each snow drop ‘petal’. I mentioned when writing about block 1 that I wanted to have little hidden items on each block these pearls are my hidden item.

Near the snow drops is a orange tatted butterfly which I secured with some very tiny stitches. Once stitched to the block I decorated with French knots using blue silk thread ( the same used on the rest of the block) and some pearl beads. For the purposes of the 2020 challenge I have counted all the white pearl beads as 1 item even though they are different sizes.

2020 crazy quilt block 2 detail 2The seam that buts against piece 6 is possibly the most complex on the block. I added a very thin apricot satin ribbon to the base of the lace and used a blue Cotton Perle #5 secured it with Arrowhead stitch Next, I decided to decorate the lace.I picked out the fan shape of the patten by adding 6 fine bullion knots worked in a hand dyed  silk thread. I then added French knots in blue silk thread. In the middle I made little bars of Cast on stitch using the same hand dyed silk thread that I has used for the bullion knots. Above this I added a small round green bead that are made of stone so I have counted them as novelty bead. I then added two bugle beads and pink seed beads, these I did not count as I am not counting seed or bugle beads.

2020 crazy quilt block 2 detail 1On other areas of my 2020 Crazy Quilt block 2 I used my templates to create the curved lines that run across the ribbon that runs beside piece 3. These lines I embroidered using a blue silk thread that is about the thickness of cotton perle #12. Then using 2 strands of cotton floss I added small little detached chain stitches in pairs. At the base I added small seed bead.

The yellow lace butterfly is secured to the block with small stitches and has a yellow bicone bead to give it a little pop. I added 3 buttons and declared the block done!

2020 crazy quilt block 2 studio journal

I said I would share a page spread of my studio journal. When I pieced the block I used double sided tape to secure them to the page. As I stitched I kept a scrap of thread that I used.

As you can see my tracking method is nothing fancy – in fact I will have to take a little more care as while I have been writing this I have corrected my item count twice! I take a photo of the block and print out the photo and make notes accordingly. As you can see at the moment there is rough list of stitches used and I will have to spread sheet this I think – or make a list print it out and cross off stitches as I use them. I am quite surprised how high the block count gets once you start counting stitches and beads!

Count on 2020 crazy quilt block 2

  • Fabric: 6
  • Ribbon: 2
  • Lace: 4
  • Buttons: 3
  • Novelty beads: 6 Orange oval pearl bead, plastic butterfly shape bead, small red faceted glass bead, white pearl beads, small round stone green bead, yellow bicone bead
  • Lace motifs: 2  orange tatted butterfly and yellow lace butterfly.
  • Specialty threads : 7 Caron Watercolour #270 thread, blue silk thread about the thickness of cotton perle #12 ,  green rayon thread, off white 7mm Silk ribbon, hand dyed silk thread about the thickness of cotton perle #12 , Stranded cotton (counted this once only for the whole project) Cotton Perle #5 (also counted once for the whole project)
  • Stitches :5  Feathered Up and Down Buttonhole stitch, Bullion Knot  French Knot (counted last week) Straight stitch (counted last week) Stem stitch (counted last week) Open Base Needlwoven Picot, Arrowhead stitch, Cast on Stitch, Detached Chain Stitch (counted last week)

Block total 35 

Quilt total 65 so far Here is last weeks block 1

I hope you have enjoyed reading about my 2020 Crazy Quilt block 2. Questions and comments are welcome.

How to join in on 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 




Take a Stitch Tuesday Stitch 90

Trellis stitch sample
Stitch 90 in Take a Stitch Tuesday is Woven Trellis Stitch. This stitch at first looks fussy and complicated but it is not and is so much fun to stitch. You can make very easily great flowers of this stitch or give it a contemporary twist by not working it square. Scattered worked irregularly over the surface with uneven arms makes for an interesting texture.

Check out the tutorial for Woven Trellis Stitch and share what you learn about stitch 90.

How to join in on the Take a Stitch Tuesday challenge

The challenge is to learn the stitches and share online what you learn. There is more information the challenge guidelines are on the TAST FAQ page.

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Interview with Nell Loops of Artisanloops

This interview is part of series to mark that the Take a Stitch Tuesday Challenge has been running for a decade.

Nell runs a facebook page called Artisanloops  and I first noticed her interesting samples when she shared them on facebook in the TAST group. Nell also is a designer on Ravelry and I often see interesting freeform crochet and knitting on her Artisanloops  page. So with further fuss I would like to introduce Nell Loops.

Interview with Nell Loops sample

Why do you like hand embroidery and hand work? How has it influenced your life? Why do you like hand embroidery and hand work? How has it influenced your life?

I love the rhythm and meditative quality of hand embroidery. When life becomes hectic, handwork can ground me and caIm my mind, whilst providing a wonderful creative outlet. And the pieces we produce with needle and thread are amazing!

sample from Nell loopsHow did you start? Were you taught by your mother, school or taught yourself online? If you taught yourself what attracted you to embroidery?

I think the first embroidery I did was in first grade at school when I was about six years old. We did Huckaback embroidery, and I remember loving it, catching on really quickly, and my teacher being very encouraging – that positive feedback was very special to me, and probably inspired my love of embroidery. I used to make all my own (interesting!) clothes as a teen, and I explored embroidery to embellish these…this was the time when we had floral embroidered jeans.

I did lots of longstitch kits, then moved on to other styles too, and learnt a huge amount from these. And I borrowed library books, and studied others’ work. I especially loved the more ‘out there’ embroidery and textile work, especially combining painting and freeform embroidery.

Interview with Nell Loops sample(One of my first kits, still not made into a pillow yet, and over 25years old!)

Do you use TAST to make samplers or incorporate the stitches into projects as you go. Or what sort of projects most attract you ?

I started a stitch sampler book a few weeks ago, and I’ve also gone back to the beginning of the TAST stitches to catch up with everyone else.  I started TAST this year to refresh my skills, and have found myself incorporating the stitches into my other work also. Freeform work most attracts me, and textural work. Blackwork and stumpwork are two of my favourite styles, but really I love all handwork.

Can you talk about your last project and/or your current project? (Can be any textile project)

My last finished project which included embroidery was a shawl I knitted, then embroidered some song lyrics upon. This is something I want to explore more – combining embroidery/knitting/crochet/calligraphy/painting together.

Interview with Nell Loops sample
The other recent project was my Rose, which I adore.

Interview with Nell Loops sampleWhat is the project you are most proud of?

Interview with Nell Loops sampleHmmm…this is too hard. I have a blackwork piece which I’m proud of, but it’s still a wip. There was a blackwork glasses case I made as a gift which I really love, and also a cutwork piece.

Interview with Nell Loops sampleDo you have any UFO’s ? If so, fess up to how many?

2, 3, 7, 12 ….. too many to count! But I don’t mind, sometimes I feel like doing  freeform stitching, other times I’m able to concentrate on a more tricky piece, so it’s good to have different wips to choose from…a bit like having a closet full of clothes for different occasions.

Do you work purchased designs or do you design your own projects? Or do you do both?

Now, I only ever work my own designs, unless I’m learning a new technique. However, kits are a fabulous way to learn, and use until you feel more confident, or simply to relax and enjoy the stitching.

Do you have a creative design process? If so what is it? Or do you work intuitively?

Both. I usually make sketches, which include notes about size, threads and stitches. And I also try to label and date these, as I may want to use a design again.

Interview with Nell Loops sampleWhat stimulates your creative process? What inspires and sparks ideas for you?

Definitely other people’s beautiful work inspires me, and that’s why groups like TAST are great. Other inspiration comes from historical embroidery and artworks, fabrics, threads, textures, colour, nature, and more recently, my own life.

Interview with Nell Loops sampleLots of people have trouble starting a project. What makes you start a project?  Do you have any tips to get you from blank fabric to stitching?

My trouble is starting too many projects! If I am stuck, I find a doodle cloth valuable – try some of the stitches on some spare fabric, and this usually fires up your creative self (a bit like having a nibble of chocolate, who can stop at one bite?!).

Do you have stall points? If so how do you get past them? Do you have any tips to share about this.

Yes. Sometimes life gets in the way, or sometimes there’s some really repetitive and boring sections. When this happens I try to remind myself that these sections are an important element to juxtapose against the more creative areas. On the rose, there were so many tiny french knots, and the fine stitching was affecting my hands, so I remember doing lots of positive self-talk, and also deciding to do a manageable area each day, and intersperse this with other projects. Having my sketch of the rose pinned in front of my work area also inspired me to continue. It’s also worth checking your technique (perhaps on YouTube), as sometimes there’s a different way to do a stitch that makes a world of difference.

Do you have ‘go to’ stitches. In other words stitches you use frequently that you return to using over and over. If so what are they and why do you think they are so successful for you.

I often use French knot, split st, blanket, and satin stitches, and get infatuated with other stitches for a few months too, till another one comes along.

Do you have a favourite embroidery thread, or something you use all the time? If so what is it?

DMC cotton, usually two strands, or Perlé 8, but I love exploring different threads and fabrics.

Interview with Nell Loops sampleEmbroidery on gum leaves

Interview with Nell Loops sampleEmbroidery on balsa wood

What advice would you give to new hands?

Do TAST! It’s great for newbies or old stitchers to practice their stitches, and a great place to ask for help. Take photos – I did lots of work before easy digital photography was invented, gave most of it away, and now I have no record. Don’t be daunted by stitching and styles, give it a go, you will surprise yourself – just take your time. Packaged kits are a great way to learn, as are books, blogs and videos. And use colours, threads and fabrics that really appeal to you, spoil yourself, you deserve it.

Is there anything else you would like to add?
Thanks for the interview Sharon, TAST has really reinvigorated my hand embroidery.

Interview with Nell Loops sample


I hope you have enjoyed this interview with with Nell Loops. Don’t forget to visit Artisanloops to see more of her work

Follow Pintangle and have it delivered to your inbox
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