Book Review:
Elegant Crazyquilt Seam Treatments by Pamela Kellogg

Allison Aller 2008

   
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Pamela Kellogg has been a professional cross stitch designer for many years.  Fortunately for us, she has channeled all this stitching, design and publishing experience into her new passion of crazy quilting.  The result is Volume One of what will be a series on waste canvas designs for crazy quilt seam embellishment. Her book covers the how-to's of working with waste canvas on crazy quilt seams, what size threads to use, how to calculate the size of your design, and many more helpful hints.  Included are seventy-two charted border designs and nine bonus Feather Stitch designs.

Pamela has self-published her work in the form of an e-book which can be purchased online, downloaded and printed.  To do so, go to her Etsy shop here: http://www.etsy.com/view_listing.php?listing_id=9421393.  After you make your purchase, instructions for downloading will be sent to you via email.  You can download the book in either the jpg or pdf file format.  Don't let this technical jargon intimidate you...it is really very simple to do this!


After I printed my book, I had it spiral bound at my local UPS store, which only cost a couple of dollars.

So what exactly is waste canvas?  Pamela defines it as a "loosely-woven, evenweave mesh, coated with starch.  It was originally created for stitching charted designs on non-cross stitch fabric."  Essentially, a piece of this grid is basted over the area on your crazy quilt block where you will be stitching your seam treatment; you follow one of the pattern designs from Pamela's book that are also charted onto grids, and, using the canvas as a stitching guide, sew through it into your fabric.


Here is a sample charted design.


When you have completed stitching the design, the waste canvas is removed by pulling out the threads. I use a tweezers for this. The result is a perfectly spaced and intricate seam treatment.


Beads, sequins, or other elements can be added to the seam treatment at this point.

For the purposes of reviewing this book, I created a block using Pamela's designs and techniques.  The results, I must admit, are pretty spectacular! My stitches surely have never been this even, nor my seam treatments this complex. This block measures 11" X 11".  (Note: for another example of Pamela's designs in use, see the block featured in my other article in this issue, "Mounting Crazy Quilt Blocks Onto Foam Core".)

I read all of Pamela's instructions at the beginning of the book before embarking on my project, and I would encourage you to do the same.  Cross stitching was new to me, so it took me a little while to learn to read the charts and figure out how to use the grid properly. Pamela's information was quite helpful, giving ample illustrations of her technique.  One quibble:  the following stitches are used for her seam treatments in various combinations: Cross Stitch, Straight Stitch, Detached Chain, French Knot, Satin Stitch and Feather Stitch.  While Pamela includes photographs of the Satin Stitch and Detached Chain Stitches on the grid, I would find it helpful if she had photographs of each of the stitches on the grid, close up, so readers can see exactly how they should look.  She does include diagrams, but photographs would be more helpful.

But that is a small concern, and one Pamela can no doubt address in the subsequent volumes of pattern designs that will be coming out.  I for one am looking forward to them all, and plan on incorporating this technique into my crazy quilting from here on.

Note: to see many beautiful examples of Pam's designs stitched up, visit her blog, http://kittyandmedesigns.blogspot.com/, and also her Flickr pages, http://www.flickr.com/photos/kittyandme/.  She has three complimentary charted designs for you to try out here,  http://www.flickr.com/photos/kittyandme/sets/72157594172961736/.

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