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Leslie Ehrlich © 2010

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There are such a tremendous number of products available for all of us to choose from and use in the creation of our crazy quilts that it can feel quite daunting to a person just beginning. To simplify the process, these are the primary items needed to get started.

  • Fabric - five to eight coordinating colors
  • Scissors - fabric and embroidery
  • Pins - straight
  • Muslin - for the foundation
  • Sewing thread - black or ecru
  • Ruler
  • Needles - embroidery, size 9
  • Embroidery thread - coordinated with fabric. A selection is of types, (ie: perle, stranded) is also fun but not absolutely necessary.

When just starting out, it is easiest to work with cotton fabrics. I suggest that you select more solid colors and maybe one patterned cotton to help you focus on the piecing and limit the conflict of patterns in your design. As you get the hang of handling the piecing, you can begin experimenting with silk, satin, rayon, etc. When you start out assembling your block, you will need straight pins. If you are working with silks and satins, I would recommend small, fine gauge pins as they will not leave as large a hole in your fabric and will be less apt to create a snag or run.

While they are not absolutely necessary, a pair of embroidery scissors are helpful. These are small, with fine points to assist you if you have to take out any of your embroidery work. You will also need basic fabric scissors and maybe a rotary cutter. There are many brands of cutting tools available for you to try, and your choices are simply limited to your budget constraints.

When you are ready to begin transferring designs or seam template markings, you will find some of these tools to be handy:

  • Fine Point “Mark B Gone” or EZ International Water Soluble Marker
  • Clover Water Soluble Pencil
  • Purple Air Erasable Marker
  • Clover Liquid Chalk Pen
  • Clover Transfer Pencils
  • Tracing paper or Golden Threads paper
  • SewLine Fabric Pencil - these are available in white, yellow and grey
  • Clover Silver Mechanical Pencil
  • Tiger Tape

Be sure to try marking on a sample before you mark your project, and get a feel for the benefits of each as there are pros and cons to each one. Explore until you find a product that suits your needs the best. These products can be located at your local quilt store (LQS), Walmart, Michael's, Hobby Lobby, JoAnn's or online.

A variety of needles are needed to create those fabulous designs! You will eventually need different sizes of embroidery needles (size 9 is a good all purpose size), beading and chenille needles, along with milliners and tapestry needles; the two later items are used primarily for dimensional work. The tapestry needles will also be utilized for silk ribbon embroidery. As with scissors, there are many different brands to choose from. One of the many consistently reliable products that I use are John James needles.

Hoops in a variety of sizes come in handy for many of us. This keeps the work taut and prevents puckers in your final design. Forceps are handy if you plan on doing a lot of silk ribbon embroidery. They help in pulling the needle through the fabrics and take some of the stress off of your hand.

Enjoy your journey in crazy quilting! It truly is a joyous experience that accommodates a tremendous amount of creativity.

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