The Craft Fair has just been in Canberra and I purchased a product which I think will be very useful of many crazy quilters.
Before I review this product, I want to state I did not get paid for this review, I purchased the product and I am not affiliated in any way with sewitall.com.
I always stop at the sewitall.com stall to buy my linen and even weave needlework fabrics for the year. It is a good deal on fabrics so every year I stock up. This year I purchased one of their Grip-n-Stitch embroidery frames.
This adjustable embroidery frame is designed to be used in even weave embroidery as it keeps your fabric extremely taut and does not slip. I was watching the guys demonstrate it, when it occurred to me that this might solve a problem for crazy quilters too.
Crazy quilt blocks are made up of a number of fabric scraps that are often pieced on the bias. The fabric are not quilters cottons but often are slippery and difficult to manage after 5 wear fabrics. Many quilters would throw up their hands and say “You cant use that!”. Crazy quilters say “But it is pretty and want to!” This is great, and crazy quilting has no rules, but it can cause a block to distort as you embroider it. There are tricks such as stay stitching, interfacing and working on a hoop but it is really very easy to end up with a beautifully stitched block that is either puckered or slightly off square. So with these issues in mind I decided to test a block on one of the Grip-n-Stitch Embroidery Frames.
The frame is fully adjustable and comes in pieces that you plug together. It really takes a seconds. You can arrange the pieces to suit a number of sizes. One set will fit a maximum size of 9 X 9 inches (23 x 23 centimetres).
Since most of my blocks are either 8 inch or 7 inch blocks I purchased one kit. If you work larger and a 12 X 12 inch block is your favourite size you would need to buy 2 kits.
Around the edge of the frame are little teeth which are designed to grab the fabric. I always have a margin of scrap fabric around the edge of my blocks so that I can hoop them. The scrap fabric gets removed after the block is done.
To use the frame you centre the block over the frame and using both hands you pull the fabric on both sides and wrap the fabric around the teeth on each edge.
There are enough clips to go around the edge. This is what a block looks like when stretched.
At first the frame felt light and I was worried that it would not stand up to the process of embroidering a crazy quilt block. Most even weave embroidery is quite a sedate affair but crazy quilting can be heavy handed and in the process of embroidery, beading, silk ribbon embroidery, adding charms, buttons, memorabilia etc and all the other techniques used in this style of quilting a block can be handled a lot. You are forever turning it to fasten off this or that. Lots of stitchery involves scooped hand motions which tug and pull on the fabric resulting in tension slippage. Also the mounds of the stuff you put on crazy quilt block like charms, buttons and beads can be physically heavy. To be honest I have tried the same process with Q Snaps but found slippage to be a problem when working a crazy quilt block. In contrast the the Grip-n-Stitch embroidery frame stood up to the process really well and kept my block square!
The Grip-n-Stitch embroidery frame comes in a plastic zip closed bag with full directions of how to use it.
I dont have any hesitation recommending Grip-n-Stitch embroidery frame as being useful for crazy quilters. The same recommendation holds with regular even weave embroidery. To be honest if it stands up to the process of embroidering a crazy quilt block it will easily handle the fabric it is designed for!
The only thing you need to be aware of is that is is only suitable for blocks or projects which will fit into the frame as the teeth perforate the edge of your fabric. Obviously you have to have a generous edge so that the perforations made by the teeth are on waste material on the edge of the material.
Oh and for those that want the eye candy this is the completed block!