Crazy Embellishment for Crazy Quilters

Pamela Allen aka PaminCan © 2004

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“Crone of Crazy” 53"x40"2002

I may not appear to be qualified as an advisor for this magazine as strictly speaking, what I do in the fabric art sphere is NOT crazy quilting. Unless BEING crazy myself is a qualification!

On second thinking though, I realize my work has some affinities with the genre.... namely I DO cobble together fabric scraps in odd juxtapositions to create a bigger fabric piece. That piece I then cut to shape a body or house or plant in my composition. But I guess what makes my work MOST like CQ is the embellishments I apply which for me, is a very important part of reinforcing the theme of the quilt. I use many conventional embellishments like beads, buttons, and ribbons. But I also am a big fan of many materials that some Cq-ers may not think of as embellishment. The dollar store yields for me bags of plastic beetles, frogs and turtles. Then there are those funky teeny wooden clothespins, plastic plover eggs, metal sewing machine bobbins, little padlocks with keys and my favorites, garters (reminiscent of those pre pantyhose days but actually used latterly to keep the bed skirt down!). Many of these oddball but evocative items can be gold or silver leafed to make them more acceptable than they would be in their own garish colours.

Details: “Crone of Crazy"

Then there is another source of items...bigger but still interesting as a reinforcement of your theme. These are wooden spoked or non-spoked wheels, half eggs, little picket fences, small kitchen utensils, and even garden tools! (Get them at:) I like wooden things, as they are easy to drill holes in for a needle to pass through. Which reminds me, did I mention that a Dremel type drill is my FAVORITE quilting tool? Not only can it drill a hole in anything of wood or plastic, but also it can engrave copper sheeting (for those copper tooled embellishments) and even carve faces etc. I have recently bought another nifty gadget that will drill a beautiful smooth hole in anything metal and even put an eyelet in it so the thread doesn't get sawn away! (Get them at:) This makes old jewelry a more useful choice, as often there are not holes in pendants or brooches. And don't forget safety pins! They come in many sizes and with either silver or gold finish. Not only are they interesting embellishment in their own right...perhaps pinned in rows on your work.... but they can be used to attach free hanging chains for linear elements. I spray Krylon clear varnish on them first to avoid rusting.

Last but not least are a wide variety of artificial fruits and veggies (I told you I was crazy!) I make sure to buy ones made of Styrofoam so they are easy to cut in half and provide a flat surface to set against the quilt. They are remarkably natural looking and make fun "boobs" on figures (see above) or just as they are in a still life. These cannot be drilled but are easy to "capture" with crisscross embroidery thread. Other "ready-mades" that offer lots of potential are gloves, keys, upholstery fringes and tassels.

My philosophy is if you can drill a hole in it, sew through existing gaps, or capture it by a thread "net" then it is fair game for embellishment. So look in your junk drawer, haunt the flea markets and dollar stores and go "crazy" with your imagination!

Visit my site to see more of my work. Pamelaart quilty things

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