Still Crazy After All These Years

color enhances crazy stockings.jpgAre you participating in the block of the month project I’m doing with Pat Sloan?  Are you considering participation?  Or are you simply interested in what quilters do?  Then read on.  If not, there are lots of blogs below this one to entertain you while I show the block of the month participants how to make a crazy patch.  And be sure to stop by in a day or two for a regular, more general post.  Now for those crazy quilters. . .

Welcome to the second block of A Season of Grace.  For those of you just joining us, you can find links to the introduction flyer, special tips, the directions for block one and all the general information you’ll need right here.  Pat Sloan, fabulous quilt and fabric designer, and I are doing this together.  We’re trading months, so in April, the next block will be on her website.  Be sure to bookmark that page.  And enjoy her site while you’re there.  It’s chock full of wonderful things, including Pat’s beautiful fabric and patterns.

I learned to make a crazy patch in my very first quilting class.  I thought it was fun then, I think it’s great fun now.  And because Grace herself, in Sister’s Choice, makes a crazy quilt stocking, I decided that WE have to make one, too.

The PDF link to instructions are on my block of the month page in the quilt studio, but I thought those of you who are new to this might appreciate some additional photos and tips.

Last month we made a nine-patch block, then we cut our stockings from it.  Some of you are doing the fusible web stocking that’s attached to the block itself, and some are doing removable stockings.  I’m doing the latter, so that’s what you’ll see here, but check Pat’s site to see her fusible web version soon.  If you’re doing fusible web, making the crazy patch is just the same, but you won’t worry, of course, about backing the stocking to hang.  Too, some of you are making one for a twelve block wallhanging, and some crazier folks, like me, are making two a month.  Note from the photo of my two how different they can be?  I call mine, “I’m a little bit country, and I’m a little bit rock and roll.”  Very different looks depending on trim and fabric choices.

Paper Pattern.jpgI began my blocks by cutting out the stocking pattern and placing it on a 7″ by 9″ sheet of newspaper.  (I’ll confess I’m partial to doing things the old-fashioned way.)  Then I trimmed the paper so I didn’t have as much to cover, leaving enough of a border that I had wiggle room for my final placement.

Now the fun began.  My job was to cover that
Thumbnail image for Center block.jpgnewspaper in fabric, beginning with a geometric shape in the middle and building on it.  I cut more scraps, and placed one along one edge.  The shape didn’t matter but it was important to have roughly the same edge length.  I sewed them together with a 1/4″ seam (right through the paper) and flipped them open, trimming, then ironing without steam to make sure they were nice and flat. 

Covering the newspaper.jpgFrom that point on I added fabric along edges, sewing, trimming the seams if fabric overlapped and flipping the same way until my paper was covered.  

If you look closely at the example on the left, you’ll note pins with white heads in several places.  That’s the only “tricky” part of this process.  Sometimes the new piece you add “runs into” a piece that’s already there.  Note the black fabric?  It’s just been sewed to the purple piece below it, but it overlaps with the red to the right.

Just be sure when this happens that you leave enough width on the new piece that you can turn under the overlapping edge and pin it in place, as I did.  Then you can sew the edge with a decorative seam, cover it with lace, rick-rack, a row of beads or any embellishment of your choosing, or simply blind stitch in place.  Here’s a closeup to help explain
Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for closeup.jpg

Once your paper is covered, it’s time to cut out your stocking.  Don’t remove the newspaper. Using Pat’s window trick, cut another stocking pattern on the cutting line and inside the stocking so that you can see where to place your pattern.  Pin in place when you’re happy with what you see, and cut on the cutting line.

Pat's Window.jpgOnce cut, this is a good time to do your embellishments.  I used tiny buttons and rows of feather stitching for my country stocking.  For my rock and roll stocking I used beads and bells and some gold embroidery thread.  Just be sure you don’t embellish with beads, etc., on a seam line.  Your sewing machine needle will not love you for this.

Once you’re happy, back this if you’re making the removable stocking or apply fusible web for the twelve block wallhanging, according to our general directions.  One final tip, though.  To make sure I had a perfect seam, I left the newspaper in place, cut one final stocking pattern, this time on the seam line, then used this to trace the seam line right on to the newspaper, which was face up for that final seam.  Then I followed that seam line as I sewed, removed the newspaper at last, and turned the stocking.  This time I chose to hem the top once it was completely finished.

Remember, for an easier crazy patch, use larger pieces.  But for one with more variety, bite the bullet and go for those cute little pieces of fabric that are just begging to be used. 

Now, let’s hear your comments and see what you’ve done.  You can comment here, or at Pat’s site.  You can send either of us photos and we’ll put them up for others to see.



  1. Melanie on March 3, 2009 at 2:34 pm

    Thanks so much, Emilie for the crazy patch tips! I just worked on a crazy patch journal quilt last week and ran into the same thing about when you end up with a new piece “running into” a piece that is already there. I am glad that what I did is what you suggested to do if that happens. I am doing the Season of Grace and it is wonderful that you and Pat have done this for us! Thanks!

  2. Emilie Richards on March 3, 2009 at 2:51 pm

    You are so welcome. Glad you’ve joined in, and look forward to seeing your block. The journal quilt sounds intriguing.

  3. Ellen Dye on March 5, 2009 at 4:21 pm

    Hi Emilie!
    I’m blown away by the process you’ve outlined. I have completed a good many quilts, nine patches, Irish chains, dresden plates, snail’s trial, bear paw and even just plain blocks and just plain triangles. And know what? I stayed totally stumped on crazy quilting—so a big thanks for introducing me to newspaper!
    I’m so excited I might just pull out my stash box right away 🙂

  4. Emilie Richards on March 5, 2009 at 4:31 pm

    Oh, goodie. We’ve got you hooked. Crazy patch really is great fun, and the stockings were a good reminder to me, too. In fact, I have all the old silk dresses I bought over the years to wear to different RWA conferences, and my plan is to make a crazy quilt vest out of them one of these days. Talk about a history of my writing career?
    Have fun, and if you do pull out the stash, let us see the result.

  5. Diane Gunter on April 19, 2009 at 10:02 am

    Got Sister’s Choice and read it in 2 days.It was fabulous. Had bought Touching Stars 2 weeks before and again read it in 2 days. Loved it also. Have 3 more of your books on order from the library.
    Am making the Advent quilt.
    Thank you so much for sharing your many talants!

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