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 

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Work in Progress Wednesday

Once again I am sharing my stitching progress as promised. I hope folks reading about the process find it  interesting. I always feel hesitant to share a half done crazy quilt block because I leave it until the very end of the process to do the beading and add buttons. I work most of my embroidery first, because if I add beads as I go I have the constant frustration of catching my working thread on beads and buttons! So often a piece looks half done until the end when there is a flourish of beading and it comes together.

Work in Progress photo As you can see a little progress has been made. If you want to compare my last work in progress report for my hussif was here  I have laid some foundation stitches of herringbone, Arrow stitch, Cretan stitch and plan to add more to these. They are the first layer of multi stitch rows. I am still thinking about them. I have also worked a seam with drooping  flower like things. I worked them using a silk thread that is the same thickness as cotton perle #8 using 15 wraps of cast on stitch. They were slow to work but satisfying.

What have you done this week towards your stitching goals?

If you have worked a stitching project leave a comment. If you include the http bit of your web address in the comment it will become a link and folks can visit and see what you have done.

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Cast On Stitch Step by Step Tutorial

Cast on Stitch sample 8Cast on stitch forms little loops that sit proud against the background fabric and one of those stitches that once you master it and establish the rhythm it is fun and relaxing to work. It also impresses people easily, as it looks outrageously difficult to do. To be honest it’s not that hard. Cast on stitch is a bit tricky, I admit but not so difficult that an intermediate stitcher can’t master.

Most people are introduced to this stitch via Brazilian embroidery but you can use it in other highly textured forms of contemporary embroidery too.

Cast on Stitch is a little time consuming but worth the effort. It really produces a 3D element to a piece embroidery and people invariably want to reach out and touch it.

A tip for working Cast On stitch!

For the best results with this stitch use a milliner’s needle on a foundation fabric stretched in an embroidery hoop or frame.

Most of the problems associated with working cast-on stitch is that people use the wrong needle and dont use a hoop. I suggest you try milliners or in some places people call them straw needles. Why these particular needles? Most embroidery needles have an eye that is wider than the shaft of the needle which means any stitch that wraps the thread around the needle often runs the risk of getting too tight as you pull the thread through.

Milliners or straw needles have an eye and shaft that are the same width which makes sliding the stitch along the needle easy. Try it as it does make a difference!

Where do you get Milliners needles? Specialist needlework shops will or should stock them. If you are not near a needlework store you can buy Milliners Needles online (this is an affiliate link which means if you shop here I get a small commission at no extra cost to you, but that is not why I recommend them!)

Cast on Stitch sample 1

How to work Cast on Stitch

Bring your thread to the front of the fabric and take a tiny bite of the fabric by making a small back stitch, as illustrated and have the needle emerge from the fabric close to where the thread emerged initially.

Cast on Stitch step by step 1Leave the needle in the fabric. In other words do not complete the back stitch. You need both hands for this next step hence the need to have your work mounted in an embroidery hoop.

Cast on Stitch step by step 2Place the thread over your left index finger, rotate your finger keeping the thread still over your finger but under tension.

Cast on Stitch step by step3This movement of twisting your finger creates a loop around your finger.

Cast on Stitch step by step 4Transfer the loop from your finger to the needle by sliding the needle through the loop and moving the loop to the needle.

Cast on Stitch step by step 5Slide the loop down the needle. This is the first cast on stitch.

Cast on Stitch step by step 6This looping action and transferring the loop, is similar to casting on a row of stitches on a knitting needle hence the name.

Cast on Stitch step by step 7Work a number of cast on stitches, gently sliding them down the needle as you go. They look like a line of buttonhole stitches sitting snug but not too tight on your needle.

Cast on Stitch step by step 8Keep them evenly spaced for best results.

Cast on Stitch step by step 9When you have the required number of stitches cast on to the needle hold the cast on stitches with the fingers on your left hand and pull the thread with your right hand, through the cast on stitches. Hold the stitches firmly but not so tight you can not pull the needle through.

Cast on Stitch step by step 10Take the needle to the back of the fabric and pull your working thread firmly but not tight to create the loop.

Cast on Stitch step by step 11The curve of the loop depends upon the number of cast on stitches you use and size of your first back stitch. In other words the distance between the point where the thread emerged from the back of the fabric and the point where the thread entered the fabric. The higher the number of cast on stitches the bigger the loop.

Cast on Stitch sample 7If you add a bead to the middle they make lovely little flower motifs. These Cast on stitches are worked in Cotton perle #5 .

Cast on Stitch sample 2These Cast on stitches are worked in hand dyed silk on stems of feather stitch

Cast on Stitch sample 4In this case they the cast on stitches are worked in hand dyed wool on stems of knotted feather stitch worked in cotton perle #5.

Cast on Stitch sample 3

These are also worked in a red hand dyed wool. The little organic shapes are worked on line of Alternating Up and Down Buttonhole stitches worked in a green cotton perle #5 thread.

Cast on Stitch sample 5

The last sample is a line pansies that are made from 5 Cast on Stitches.

Cast on Stitch sample 6

Anyway enjoy the stitch, experiment with it and I am sure you will discover more that can be done with it!