Whole Cloth Crazy Quilt - A Misnomer

As my first project for this blog, I'd like to share with you this wallhanging from beginning to end. I hope you'll come back often to see the progress and, hey, if it doesn't turn out the way I envision, maybe we'll all learn something anyway.

This so-called crazy quilt was the project I couldn't resist doing. I started it only because I had purchased some lovely hand painted silks from China to sell on my website and I wanted to come up with a way to incorporate them into CQ. Each of the silks is of one or two beautiful Asian ladies. Instead of these, you could also use any larger piece you like and design your embellishment around it. Added to this, I had earlier found a listing for a book called "A Book of Fancy Designs for Ornamenting Oriental Work" by Mrs. M. Haehnlen on a wonderful Yahoo list. You can download your own copy of this antique book at:


I hold crazy quilt get-togethers several Saturdays a month and three of my friends will be working on a similar wallhanging too. I hope to show you photographs of some of them as time goes on. I drew the pattern in two sizes so that they could each choose just how much embellishment they want to do. This larger of the two wallhangings, when finished, will be ~24"x33."

The rectangle in the center will be a silk painting of two lovely Asian women. Small fans will be in each upper corner, and a large fan will be in the curved area you see at the bottom. I will be sharing each of these additions as I am ready to put them on the wallhanging.

I chose to use black silk dupioni because I love the way the thread and ribbon colors look on black. A few years ago I made a black bellpull, but I pieced it using different fabrics. (I will put photos up of this bellpull again at a later time.) One thing I like about that is the different textures of the fabrics. When you stand back and look at it, however, the background fades and the embellishment pops. So why not skip the step of piecing once in a while? Piecing also limits you on your seams. I love to piece CQ so I will absolutely continue doing it, but this, as an experiment, has been so much fun and much quicker to embellish.

The right side on this photo shows the basting I did before beginning on the large wallhanging and the initial divisions I made by embroidering "seams" to give it a CQ look on the left side. I took the basting out as I embroidered the seams on the left side. The white patch you see is my grid for the next seam. I then added more seams by building off the one just finished. You will find the only book I intend to carry on my website at this time, "Embroidered Crazy Quilt Seam Coverings" by Kelly Gallagher-Abbott. I love using her templates which make the dots you see on my grids below.

This is all for today. I hope you will check back often as I go through this and some other ideas I have on the horizon.

Chinese Figures for Crazy Quilt

These beautiful Chinese figures were made as ornaments and were often framed as dimensional pictures after applying to fabric backgrounds. They would be absolutely stunning on crazy quilt wall hangings. They are hand painted, including the face, on 100% silk. They are backed with a thin cardboard. To use them on your project, temporarily place them where they will go when you are finished and baste around them to mark their spot. I traced mine on tissue paper and used that to do my basting. It was easily torn away from the basting and I didn't have to worry about damaging the figure. Put them aside until you are completely finished with your embellishment and, using a slip stitch around the figure, tack them down. Another way to apply them, and the method I prefer, is to stitch a piece of felt or Lacy's Stiff Stuff to your project and then glue the ornament to that. I would recommend that they only be used on wall hangings, not quilts nor projects that will be handled a lot. You can find them for sale on my website.

Basted area to mark placement.

Applied figure.