2020 Crazy Quilt Challenge Guidelines

2020 crazy quilt guidelines image 1The 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.

2020 crazy quilt guidelines image 2What 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.

2020 crazy quilt guidelines image 3Where 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

2020 crazy quilt guidelines image 4Piecing 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

Mary Corbets stitch videos

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

Stitch Combinations

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

2020 crazy quilt guidelines image 5General resources

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?

2020 blocks banner

My 2020 Blocks can be found under the 2020 crazy quilt category


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I have also written a 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 is to be practical and inspiring.


Have you seen my Stitchers Templates?

marking a seam using 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.


  1. Sharon, I am just getting into this art form and will be doing something smaller, something I know I can and will finish in my own schedule. I notice with Block 19, the first I have seen, that you provided a pattern showing the pieces to cut for the CQ hexagon. Is there a pattern like that for each block so far, 1-18? When you do the embellishments do you hold the piece or do you have it on a stretcher of some kind? Do you back the piece first or at the end or both?

    1. Hi Susan Thanks for your comment. Yes all the blocks have patterns with them. There is a link to the category “2020 crazy Quilt” in the article follow that and you will find the other articles and in each article is a pattern and links to stitches used etc. Also in the article is a link to the guidelines. Under the “details on my 2020 crazy quilt block 19” heading see the text which reads “you will find the guidelines and list of resources here” the bold text is a link – follow it and half way down the page is a list of resources. The resources are links to articles online. There is information about the flip and sew method and the quilt as you go method. I use a hoop to hold the block while I stitch. The block is on a backing fabric that is larger so it easily fits in a hoop. Also of course there is my book that really gives lots of information! Hope this helps.

      1. Krystyna thank you – if you follow the links in the article you can see how block are made in the tutorials I link to. If you check out the stitch dictionary section of this site there are free stitch tutorials on embellishing the blocks. Or there is my book which is available in bookstores and on Amazon

  2. I have a “bunch of kits” I bought about 10 years ago that I haven’t done. Somehow I can’t seem to do them even tho they are so cool. Could I use them for the 2020 challenge? It will give me motivation to work on them.

    Teresa Brause
  3. I was browsing on Pinterest and came across one of the blocks … think it was Block 81 and I was redirected here. Fabulous post about the Dropped the Button Box Crazy Quilt. Lots of information and links. Awesome!

    I managed to download all the blocks and will have to take a bit of time to decide how to put my own stamp on it.

    Thanks so much for this wonderful project. Certainly a great challenge and will make a fabulous quilt.. I plan on starting my own blog. Still setting it up but will definitely post my update links here when I start working on the blocks!

    Happy Quilting!

    Joey Cordier

    Joey Cordier
  4. I keep back to reading about the 2020 challenge – must mean I need to just jump in! I am finding it hard to start with sorting trims and ribbons as they are all in boxes and a jumbled mess. Is the picture you show at the beginning of the challenge how you sorted them for the challenge or do you store them like that? Getting started seems to be my hang-up and need help!

    Teresa M Brause
    1. Hi Teresa – I sort everything into colours then store them in zip lock plastic bags with 2020 written on them with a sharpie. So everything more or less together and ready to use. – Hope this helps

  5. Hi Sharon, Thanks so much for bringing me into the group. Very exciting. I am in for the TAST but I am interested in the 2,020 Lazy crazy challenge to, how do I join please.Thankyou.Denise

    Denise Young
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  7. Is it to late for someone who has never done crazy quilting to start this? I have a good friendthat is doing this and she could help me with questions and techniques.

    Diane Ostdiek
    1. Hi Diane there is no reason why you could not start except it is a very large project. You have until the end of 2020 to finish so there is time. Techniques would be definitely mastered by the end! Hope you jump in a try it – as its fun

      1. Thank you for the encouragement, I started my journal tonight and reed your article on the challenge and looked up all the links and reed though most of them.

        Diane Ostdiek
        1. Great – poke around the site and adapt the info to your needs and enjoy it! I have another of my blocks done I just have to photograph it and write it up!

  8. This sounds perfect for what I’ve been trying to do this past year, down size my lace, beads, fabric etc and get something wonderful in the end. Thank you so much for listening to the voice.

    Linda Height
  9. Hi Sharon,
    Just to clarify, If I use a blue seed bead of a certain size, then use a red seed bead of the same size, that is 2 or 1. Is it size or color that you count?
    I participated in the Y2k and loved it, so this is enticing me

    I found you through the Y2k craze and started trying to do CQ because I absolutely love the embroidery. I have collected beads and charms along the way through the years. I am making my 2 granddaughters and myself a CQ bed pillow that the foundation is made out of an old nightgown my grandmother had made from this real strong cotton from early in the 1900’s. Then I have collected all kind of material things from my kids clothing, I have a butterfly my aunt had embroidered, clothes from my parents, etc. Way back when I had bought dye from Australia and dyed some ribbon and lace, so I have that too. I think I will use my pillow as my base for this project.

    Roxanne Scelp
    1. Its up to you what you count. So if you want to count different colours go fo it – I did that with the different butterflies on my latest block.
      Sounds to me as if you are an ideal candidate for this challenge – hope you have loads of fun

    1. Hi Beverly yes you only count each item once – you can use it more often but its only counted once as the idea is to have 2020 different things – hope that makes sense

  10. Sharonb, thank you for the inspiration of 2020. My friend Carol told me about it in September 17. And I got started right away. She, however, did not. Not one stitch. Therefore, I have named my quilt ” It’s Carol’s Fault”. I am getting close to having 1000. Can’t believe it. I am using a loose leaf binder to keep track of my progress, my son’s suggestion. And I am so glad I did. My tiny little journal would not have held it all.

    Kathy M, North Carolina, USA
  11. This challenge has taken over my (sewing) life, but I am making good progress. I am using a very different approach, as I have based my quilt on a log cabin design. I know nothing about the rules of ‘crazy’ quilting, so have probably broken them all, using many different embroidery techniques.
    My problem is the technology. I don’t want to use Facebook. I tried starting a blog, but I would rather be sewing than writing, and my sons have persuaded me that I am not an Instagram sort of person. Can I post pictures on Pinterest?
    I recently went to join my local Embroiderers Guild, and was told it was full, but I could go as a guest. When I showed them my 2020 project, they said they wanted me as a member! Many thanks!

    Linda Webb
    1. Hi Linda you could post to pinterest and then leave the link here so people could click on it and visit it. Just make sure the http:// is there as that turns it into a live link.

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  18. Hi, Sharon. Such a wonderful idea! I fell in love with crazy quilts when I was 5 years old. My grandmother created one made of wool and flannel for on my first “big bed” I still have it, although it is somewhat worn and frayed on the edges. Over the years I’ve done some CQ’s and a variety of traditional quilts. It all came to screeching halt when my darling husband died 10 years ago. I sold almost everything, including my stash, and traded life in Alaska for life in PA. I never looked back until now. I am going to do the CQ challenge, but I will carry it one step further and try to create all of my blocks within the confines of a traditional pattern…it will be called “Outside My Crazy Cabin Windows.” Hummm. I wonder which traditional pattern is going to try to upstage the CQ! LOL. Thanks for helping me to live again.

    Bonnie Hogue
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    1. Hi I’m a newbie and am looking for information on the stitch book can you direct me to the right place. I have purchased Modern hand stitching just need instructions. Any help appreciated. Thanks Linda.

      1. HI Linda I am not sure quite what you are asking about the book I wrote ie The visual guide to Crazy Quilting you can get it on Amazon or good bookstores. It is a real book not an ebook I produce. If you are talking about the stitch tutorials on the site here is a link https://pintangle.com/stitch-dictionary/
        I hope I have answered your question and helped if not just ask again and I will do my best.

  21. Hi Sharon, I am from Wattenheim in Germany, enjoy your blog since a year more or less and make in that time my first steps in crazy quilting (little bags, mini wallhanging and so on). Now I think, its time to make a greater project; love your idea for that 2020 Quilt and want to do that! Your book arrived me any time ago, but is it possible, that you sell me your both templates and send to Germany?

    Susanne E.
    1. Susanne E yes of course I can send to Germany ( I have sold many sets to stitchers who live in Europe) select the first paypal button in the list that says ” to the United States, Canada, UK, Europe, South Africa, and to what our post office calls ‘rest of world’.” for the correct postal charges. Here are the links again so you dont have to go hunting

    2. Super, great! Thank you very much!
      It works with Template 1, but not with Template 2. It seemes, my Paypal will not to buy template 2. 🙁 I try it again tomorrow, hope, than I have more luck. Otherwise I have to contact Paypal…

      Susanne E.
  22. I have a feeling I shall enjoy participating with a 2020 CQ hexie quilt. I already have a ¾” traditional hexie quilt on the go, but hey, one more with embroidery, beads, and other embellishments would be FUN, but I will make these hexies bigger than ¾” though, so that I can get plenty of ‘things’ on them, lol.

  23. Sharon, some people in my Guild want to enter the 2020 challenge. I want to get your book and a list of the rules that I can print off to give to the interested people. We are the Smoky Mountain Quilt Quilt in Franklin, North Carolina. Please let me know if there is a limit of people you will accept for the challenge.

    Sue Hawkins
    1. Hi Sue The challenge is open to everyone and the more the merrier. Feel free to print off the guidelines for your guild – I am more than happy to see people enjoying the challenge

  24. Hi,my name is faye. Im from porirua,wellington,nz…
    I have recently joined an beautiful group of ladies that have taught me about broidery hand stitching. I am ready to extend myself to this fabulous work by finding out more fun yet simple enough to enjoy continueing by doing more as an hobby at home and with friends to learn and share with..

    Faye Maene
  25. I just started some CQ hexies. I use decorative stitches on my machine for some seams. Do you consider that okay ? I put lots of other things on by hand as embellishments. I am looking forward to this. My first project in 2000 was a crazy quilt but I had no one to teach me do I kind of invented my own foundation piecing. It is addictive and I have accumulated so much I have actually been making up some starter kits and selling them on the FB sale groups. This is not an attempt to sell here but does anyone know of a site or page that sells the fabrics, laces and trims for crazy quilts. There are many fabric ones but I have never seen one that is just for crazy quilt materials and embellishments. Thanks. This will be fun !!

    Katy Sanchez
    1. HI Katy I am a firm believer in crazy quilting having no rules – so if you want to use machine embroidery that is fine – obviously you are asking someone who is totally besotted with hand work ( just check out my stitch dictionary) But I totally understand its not for everyone. There are people who sell crazy quilt materials and goodies on places like Etsy and as vendors in the facebook groups but alot of the tradition of crazy quilting is about being inventive with what you find

  26. Sharon,
    My existing project of hexies have repeats of a fabric. If I only “count” the first usage would they fit the challenge requirements? I know if we use beads multiple times..only count that specific type/size/color/etc. as ONE instead of every time used…but not sure if this applies to fabric. Just wondering your thoughts. Hugs

    1. Hi Kathy Yes you can count anything fabric beads etc but only once. So your hexies would be just fine as long as you count each type of fabric once. Hope that clarifies things

  27. I have never created a crazy quilt but it is calling me. I love the idea of including fabrics, trims, beads, charms, and anything else I can find. I just received your book (it arrived today) and have ordered your templates. They will arrive whenever they do LOL.
    So count me for the 2020 Crazy Quilt adventure.

    Peggy Harris
  28. I would like to join as well. I started taking classes with kathy shaw a few years ago and would enjoy a project like this that doesnt have such tight time constraints. I love reading your blog and have purchased some of your templates. I am looking forward to this. Thank you!

    Doreen Gabriellini
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