For those who have always loved my ‘Diamonds are forever’ crazy quilt, this year I am proposing a free block of the month stitch-along. A ‘block’ in this case will be 3 diamonds set in the tumbling blocks pattern.
In the photo above you can see I have drawn a dashed yellow line around what I am calling a ‘block’. Each month I will publish the pattern for 3 of the diamonds that make up one of the baby blocks on the quilt. You can paper piece the block or just roughly follow the pattern and use the sew-and-flip method. Remeber there are no rules in Crazy Quilting!
When embellishing, you can follow what I have done, adapt my ideas or totally embellish the blocks as you see fit. Where I can, I point to stitch tutorials here on the site. In some cases, information about a technique will be in my books. In some cases, you may not be able to follow exactly what I have done as others may have the same ribbons, lace, beads, etc. as I have. Crazy quilting is not like other quilting in that sense. Crazy quilting celebrates invention and creativity so crazy quilters constantly adapt or take an idea and turn it into something else. That is part of the joy of crazy quilting. My aim is to spark ideas, feed your creative self and get people stitching. It will be an adaptable stitch-along where we celebrate inventiveness. There are curved seams on some of the blocks, but I think most of you will handle it OK. If your skill level is not up to a curved seam, feel free to straighten the seam out! I am really looking forward to seeing what you do with this and how far you take it.
The blocks on this quilt measure 6 inches on the side and 10 inches across from point to point. You could scale this up or down. I have always been tempted towards a diamond with 5-inch sides, for instance. Obviously, if you reduce the block size, you need to increase the number of blocks for the same size quilt. Or you could just make a smaller quilt. The diamond area (without borders) of my quilt measures 1-metre (about 40 inches) across and 1.5 metres (about 60 inches) down.
I have a pdf file pattern of the diamond size I used to download here. Please note: there is no seam allowance. I had trouble fitting it on one sheet of paper.
My tip is to add a very generous seam allowance. Sometimes when embroidering a block it will shrink a bit. For this reason, I always re-trim my blocks before joining them together. So give yourself a large seam allowance, then if you have to trim quite a bit, it’s OK!
Gather your supplies
This quilt works on the principle that you stitch a light-tone, medium-tone, and dark-toned diamond, which you then stitch together into a hexagon. You need to work each diamond in a similar tone. So gather together your fabrics and sort them into 3 groups: a dark, medium, and light group. Have a mix of plain and patterned fabrics. I usually use patterned fabrics or textured fabrics against a plain fabric. This way, when I embroider the seam, the bulk of the embroidery sits on the plain fabric, to show up the embroidery. On some patterned fabrics, the embroidery gets hidden, so I try and avoid that. It’s a lot of work for little return if you know what I mean.
Then do the same with lace, ribbons, buttons, beads etc. In other words, have a big pile of lace, ribbons, and buttons that will sit on light fabrics, a pile for the mid-tones, and so forth. When you do this, you will see where your embellishments need topping up. You may want to get out the dye pot, visit your local needlework store, or browse Etsy for stuff to use for embellishments. Once your supplies are in tonal groups, put each pile in a separate baggie. That way, each month you can draw on supplies from the light bag for one diamond, supplies from a mid-tone bag for the next diamond, and finally, supplies from the dark bag for a dark diamond.
A little about threads.
I strongly recommend that you have on hand some cotton perle thread #8 and #5. If you have only ever used stranded cotton floss lash out and buy yourself some different threads. They truely make all the difference. Stitches worked in cotton perle have their own character as they stand a little proud of the fabric. Stranded cotton floss is very good for cross stitch and the like but many of the surface embroidery stitches work up better in Perle or other threads with a firm twist.
There are two large crazy quilting groups on facebook. Between Crazy Quilt Divas and Crazy Quilt International, there are many well-known and highly experienced crazy quilters who are only too willing to help, answer questions, offer tips and advice, and generally cheer on anyone who is crazy quilting. I am chattering on both forums constantly and if for some reason I miss your question, others in the community will answer it for sure!
The quilt is on the front of my books The Visual Guide to Crazy Quilting Design and my new book Crazy Quilting for Beginners Handy Pocket Guide . You do not need my book to join in on this stitch along but I strongly recommend that you have at least the pocket guide if not the full Visual Guide to Crazy Quilting Design.
When will it start?
I will release a pattern of a ‘block’ of three diamonds in the middle of the month each month. Save the date as I will publish the first on 12 January next year.
No need to sign up for the challenge. If you want to be notified when I publish the block patterns, you can subscribe to Pintangle. If you are on a desktop machine the subscription field is in the sidebar. Alternatively, if you are on a tablet or phone – scroll to the bottom to find the “Subscribe to Pintangle” field.
Any questions? Ask in the comments below and I will reply.
Have you seen my latest book?
My book Crazy Quilting for Beginners Handy Pocket Guide is out now. This pocket guide is a beginner’s guide that covers all the basics — but just the basics! If you want to start crazy quilting this resource will get you started.
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