Itís All About the Scale

Julie Hocking © 2010

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The first Crazy Quilt block I constructed was probably 10" x 10". The next? 8" x 8". Then several 6" x 6", then smaller and smaller. The prevailing thought was to include as many pieces of fabric as the block was per inch. 10" x 10"? 10 pieces of fabric. 6" x 6"? 6 pieces.

entire quilt

My next adventure was to create a quilt of blocks that were 1.5" x 2". So each block would have two pieces???? Well, that didnít make much sense, although if you look at the photos of the finished project, you will see six blocks that are only one piece of fabric, embellished, of course.

If a block is 10" x 10" square, and has, letís say, ten pieces of fabric, using peale cotton size 5 or 8 seems (ha! seams) appropriate. My smaller blocks required size 8 and 12 perle cotton, and then I discovered Aver a Soie 100/3 silk thread. Many of the seam treatments in the featured quilt have been created with that thread. And, since, I have discovered that Finca makes size 16 perle cotton.

The Bullion Roses and leaves were created with DMC stranded thread. It doesnít take fancy threads to create a lovely effect. Practice, practice, practice. The variety of colors available in DMC threads is almost infinite, and many lovely stitches can be created with simple threads.

Layering threads is another technique which creates depth and interest in a block. The Cretan/Herringbone stitch combo on the grey/beige/pink block uses the same weight thread for each layer. The Chevron/Herringbone combo uses threads of two weights Ė perle 12 and 100/3 silk. If these combos were done on a block that was 10" x 10" instead of 1.5" x 2", the thread could be perle 5 and 8 instead.

Larger blocks can use thicker threads. Smaller blocks can use thinner threads. Although, as you may have heard, crazy quilting claims: No Rules! So a multi-layer combination can use several thinner threads to good effect, even on a larger block.

I wish I could remember where I first saw the quotation included in the bottom right-hand corner of the quilt. It is included in my own hand, with a .005 micro permanent marker: This gentle art I here employ, fills my heart and brings me joy. May your stitching bring you joy as well.


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