The idea behind a the 2020 crazy quilt challenge was to make a crazy quilt using 2020 different items. Originally it was to be made by the end of the year 2020. A big congratulations for those who made that end date. I did not! The world was thrown into disarray with COVID 19 so many people did not meet the personal goals they set themselves at the start of that year. So I am still stitching my 2020 blocks and simply aiming to have a quilt with 2020 items on it. (Links to my blocks are at the bottom of the page)
2020 Crazy Quilt Guidelines: What can I count?
By items counted I mean different fabric, lace, braid, ribbons, specialty threads, doilies, hankies, buttons, charms and beads. You can also count different seam embroidery patterns and different techniques you use to embellish your crazy quilt. The main thing is that you count every different item once. So for instance you can use several flower shaped novelty beads in a spray of flowers but only count those beads once. They are one item.
Different colours count as unique items. This means that if you have some lace that is hand dyed in pink and another piece hand dyed in green you can use both pieces on the quilt and each piece is considered unique therefore in the count.
You can also count embroidery and embroidery techniques as an ‘item’. For instance you can aim to have certain number of embroidered seams that are stitches combined in different ways. For example you may work a line of herringbone and top it off with detached chain daisies that would be one seam pattern another might be herringbone that is laced with thread. The two patterns are unique and therefore countable. Since you can also count specially threads if you laced the herringbone with for instance a gold specialty thread you could count the pattern and the thread!
In other words what you count as part of your 2020 items and how you count them is up to you. The only rule is that you count each item once. Variety is the name of the game here.
What shape and size block?
It can be any size or shape block. I am doing hexagons but that does not mean you have to do hexagons. The I dropped the button box quilt is a Y2K quilt has 2,000 items on 6 inch squares. You can find out more about the I dropped button box quilt here. The page has a links to each block with a pattern for that block and information about the item count on that block so if you are new to crazy quilting you may find it useful to poke around those links.
Where to Share your progress
Admins on the big Facebook groups Crazy Quilt Divas and Crazy Quilt International are happy to see people share there work there. 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.
Tips hints and links to resources for this challenge
Use a studio Journal to track your count
To keep track of your overall count record each block as you work it in a studio journal.
I use a spiral bound A4 art journal. As I piece blocks I use double sided sticky tape to stick in fabric swatches gathered from the scraps. I also keep small bits of thread I use. I take a photo of each block when done and that also gets stuck in. Since during the process of making this quilt a lot of ’stuff’ gets stuck in I chose a spiral bound book as then the spine expands a little. A case bound book will bulge and that weakens the spine.
A studio journal is also a good place to capture ideas as you go. One side of the journal will be me tracking the project block by block and I will turn the notebook over and use the back as the side I store ideas in. When stitching I often get ideas of techniques, little design adaptions and twists or new things I can try. So that I don’t forget, I take note it in my studio journal. Also there is stimulation and inspiration of stuff seen online. Often these trigger points add to the list of things to try out or can be given a unique twist print outs of things seen online also goes in the back of my studio journal.
I also track information on suppliers, how much certain items cost and the like. All this stuff is part of project and it means you have a full record of the whole process.
Janis Stoker of Journeys With Janis has incorporated all the suggestions I made for things you might count in the challenge and has created a PDF printable to help you keep track of what you use! Janis has generously offered to share it and share it with all! If you can use it for the challenge please do so – you can download this printable here. No strings attached – no email required or anything like that. I would like to thank Janis for making this handy tracking sheet available to the community.
Are you a CQ Newbie?
If you are a new hand these resources will be useful
Piecing a block
Piecing a Crazy Quilt block using the stitch and flip technique: This is a tutorial for new hands to Crazy Quilting. Step by step photos demonstrate constructing a block
Block Piecing Tutorial by Allie Aller
Paper Piecing Made Easy Traditional quilting but a good demo of how to do paper piecing step-by-step how to make a paper pieced quilt block.
Scrappy Blocks Tutorial from the Girl Who Quilts Substitute the paper for a foundation fabric and you have the block assembly technique most crazy quilters use.
Quilt as you go technique
The Quilt as you go technique is a modular way of working. Here are a few tutorials demonstrating the technique. You make your crazy quilt block and decorate it then use this technique to back it. Jennifer Clouston has written a book on this technique applied to crazy quilting. It is called Foolproof Crazy Quilting and well worth investing in! Loads of ideas and patterns for hexagon blocks.
Decorating the block
Sharon B’S stitch dictionary here on Pintangle
A tutorial on how to work decorative crazy quilt seams . I converted this tutorial to a handy pdf file (a download link is in the article) When I converted it I realised how comprehensive it was with 19 pages of information it is a resource worth investigating!
Review and links to a legal free copy of vintage book Embroidery Stitches by M.E. Wilkinson.
Review and links An Embroidery Pattern Book by Mary Waring is legally free to download and as the title suggests is full patterns
20 pages of diagrams that illustrate stitch combinations for crazy quilting in a free ebook Mary Haehnlen’s A Book of Fancy Designs for Ornamenting Oriental Work, written in 1884
Kathy Shaw runs free courses online that are ideal for a beginner. She announces them on her website here
Take a look at my I dropped the button box quilt as it is a Y2K quilt which has 2,000 items on 6 inch squares. The page has a links to each block with a pattern for that block and the item count. For those who have not encountered this idea before it or if you are new to crazy quilting you may find it useful to poke around the links on the I dropped button Box Page.
Where are my 2020 blocks?
My 2020 Blocks can be found under the 2020 crazy quilt category
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I have also written a book
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 is to be practical and inspiring.
Have you seen my Stitchers Templates?
As someone who loves crazy quilting and embroidery, I designed these templates with other stitchers in mind. With my templates, you can create hundreds of different patterns to apply to your stitching and crazy quilting projects. They are easy to use, totally clear so you can position them easily and they are compact in your sewing box.
To see what they look like, find out about the free ebook of patterns that come with them visit the Pintangle shop to purchase them.