Crazy Quilting

Crazy Quilting

If you view the world through an asymmetrical lens, crazy quilting may be just what your creative toolbox needs. Do you have to be crazy to love crazy quilts? Well, no! The style got its name from the crazed (get it?) ceramics and asymmetrical art in the Japanese pavilion at the 1876 Philadelphia Centennial Exposition. It was immensely popular, and the crazy quilt squad was born.

Traditional crazy quilts have just two layers – the top and the backing – no batting. The first examples were more decorative than utilitarian, so they omitted the extra warmth layer. That sets them apart in the quilt world. Some shows do not accept crazy quilts because their definition of quilt requires three layers.

The first crazy quilters were wealthy women who had luxurious scraps of silks and velvets left over from dressmaking. They arranged the fabrics in ways that pleased them – an improvisational creative outlet when women’s activities were regimented and restricted. They could really cut loose with embellishment – embroidery, applique, beading – whatever they could think of. They made their own rules.

Fast forward to today’s crazy quilters who honor the roots of the craft, as well as stretch the boundaries. Enjoy the stories of textile artists who create crazy quilts both traditional and modern. They piece by hand and machine. They embellish with hand embroidery stitches and beading and by using the decorative stitches on their sewing machines. They use fancy fabrics and humble cottons. They carefully plan their color palettes or randomly pull scraps from a basket. Some can teach you how to crazy quilt with their books and workshops. All inspire as they share their beautiful work.

When asked to “decorate an art pumpkin” for a local arts alliance exhibit, what’s a fiber artist to do? Add the personal challenge of using materials already in my studio....

Valerie Bothell found crazy quilting over 20 years ago and has never looked back. Intrigued by the infinite combinations of fabrics, colors and stitches, every new project is a fresh...

With an ongoing love for learning new techniques and a passion for the work of unsung textile artists of the past, Allie Aller creates fiber art that blends those two...

Give Kathy Seaman Shaw a plain seam, and she will transform it with fancy stitches and beads. Kathy is a prolific crazy quilter, constantly designing new embroidery combinations and sharing...

Angela Grasse has been on an artist's path her entire life, inspired by color and her collection of supplies in her studio. Never one for following a pattern, Angela used...

Last summer I had a total hip replacement due to a too-close encounter with our large (92 pound!) Lab mix. He meant well - I think he was genuinely trying...