I used some very old piece of lace which in junk shop in Oxford, England. I was browsing around the store when I spotted a roll of lace wrapped around a piece of broom handle. Someone had wound each piece of lace on to the broom handle and slipped a pin in to secure it then they had wound on another piece and slipped a pin in. They had done this until the roll was about 4 inches thick and the pins had now all rusted.
The wad of laces looked to me as if they were of 50’s vintage because that was what was on the outer layer. However since the pins had rusted, there was no real way of knowing what was in there. At the time I was curious about it and when I expressed an interest the shop keeper removed two pieces from the roll to discover the lengths were about 15 cm (6 inches) long and in removing them the lace was likely to tear. She offered them to me for a couple of pounds and I jumped at it.
When I got back home I was delighted because these small pieces of lace got older as I carefully unwound them. I think they were samples from a lace maker as each was tagged. To my amazement I discovered as I unwound the samples they got older and they went back to the Victorian era if not older. Unfortunately they were all very badly damaged. The use of numerous pins to secure each piece of lace had caused rust staining, and worse the samples were often torn.
To be honest that did not bother me as I wanted to use the lace for crazy quilting. If it had been in good condition I would not have used them but since they were damaged I felt there was no harm if reclaimed for crazy quilting. I dyed the badly rust stained, repaired what was worth repairing and reclaimed what I could and made something of it.
I have used many of these laces on this quilt and they influenced this quilt in another important way. Because I wanted to use the scraps I had salvaged I decided to make the blocks the size they are. I felt the proportion of the blocks to the laces, highlighted them better than if they had been used on larger blocks. Also many were too small to use on larger blocks.
Crazy Quilt Block 97 Fabric content:
Piece 1: Cotton
Piece 2: Crepe
Piece 3: Velvet
Piece 4: Velvet
Piece 5: Silk
Piece 6: Silk
Piece 7: Crepe
My personal challenge when I made this quilt was to use 2001 unique pieces of fabric, lace, braids, charms, buttons or ribbons as it is a Y2K quilt. The on going item count list below represents the items documented to date in this series of articles.
Lace, braid and ribbon: 3
Buttons and charms: 14
Total items on this block: 24
Total tally of items on the quilt so far: 1857
Crazy Quilt Block 97 free Pattern
How I hand embroidered the seams on Crazy Quilt Block 97
This seam is hand embroidered with detached chain stitch worked in cotton perle #5
This seam is covered with a braid. Along the edge I used Pistil stitch
This is Chevron stitch worked in soft cotton thread. I added bugle beads were added and topped with seed beads.
The button cluster on Crazy quilt block 97.
If you are a new reader to this site the I Dropped the Button Box Quilt is set with blocks that are arranged by colour in diagonal lines. My challenge was to have all the crazy quilt blocks reading properly while also pulling everything on the quilt from my stash!
This article is part of a series that offers a free block patterns from my crazy quilt called I dropped the button box while also documenting each block which are listed on the CQ details FAQ page. You can read more about the quilt there.
Have you seen my book?
My book The Visual Guide to Crazy Quilting Design: Simple Stitches, Stunning Results shares detailed practical methods on how to design and make a crazy quilt. Topics such as fabric choice, tricky challenges like balancing colour, texture and pattern, and how to create movement to direct your viewers eye around the block are covered in detail. I also explain how to stitch and build decorative seam treatments in interesting and creative ways. My book is profusely illustrated as my aim is to be practical and inspiring.
My templates aim to help you take your stitching to the next level. Designed by an embroiderer for embroiderers. With them you can 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.
These 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.
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