2020 Crazy Quilt Challenge Guidelines

2020 crazy quilt guidelines image 1The idea behind a 2020 crazy quilt challenge is make a crazy quilt using 2020 different items by the end of the year 2020

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.

What are the start and finish dates?

Start anytime you like. If you are currently committed to projects carry on stitching and when the time is right for you join in. The aim is to complete the quilt by the END of the year 2020.

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

Another method to make a Crazy Quilt Block from MsElaineous

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.

Quilt as you go hexagons from Aurifil thread

Quilt As You Go Hexagon Quilt from Craft Dictator

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.

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You can have Pintangle delivered to your inbox by using the follow feature in the sidebar. Just enter your email address, and when you get the confirmation email make sure you say yes and you are all set!
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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 information pages. You can find out more about set 1 on this page . To find out more about set 2 visit this page
Or go directly to the Pintangle shop to purchase them.

58 Comments

    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

      sharonb
  1. 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
  2. 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

      sharonb
  3. 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
  4. 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
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  11. 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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  14. 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
      https://pintangle.com/cq-stencils/crazy-quilt-templates-set-1/
      https://pintangle.com/cq-stencils/crazy-quilt-templates-set-2/

      sharonb
    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.
  15. 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.

  16. 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

      sharonb
  17. 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
  18. 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

      sharonb
  19. 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

      sharonb
  20. 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
  21. 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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