A Peek Behind the Scenes of Stunning Stitches for Crazy Quilts

Posted by Kathy Seaman Shaw on Jul 17th 2019

I’m so happy to share some behind-the-scenes photos about my newest book, Stunning Stitches for Crazy Quilts! The design process to create the seams was so much fun that it was hard to stop doodling ideas! That’s why there are 480 seams included.

Then I re-drew each seam on the computer, so each could be easily understood just by viewing the stitches used in fiber and silk ribbon. Ideas for sequins and beads are included, but all elements can also be adjusted to fit what is available in your stash already.

There are clear and easy instructions for making templates to mark needle up/down positions on to fabric seams (for the novice embroider, or just to ensure nice, neat, and uniformly embroidered base-seam results) in the book. But I also went the extra mile and had a set of plastic templates manufactured to accompany the book. These are available from Creative Impressions or my shop at Shawkl.net and arrive flat in a nice little package. Just score them using a rotary cutter/mat and snap apart. Holes are already pre-drilled for marking. Plus, there is a larger hole at each end of the thirty-six templates, so the set can be hung on a keyring for organization.

If you have never thought of making or using templates before for marking needle placement in embroidery work, you are in for a treat! While the technique doesn’t work for all stitches, there are a few that it works wonderfully for. These “base stitches” can be adapted and embellished until a full range of seams (using just one template!) is possible. So with the dozens of templates in the book, hundreds of seams can be created. This concept totally changed my perspective on using embroidery in quilts and sparked a fever to create more and more seams. The ideas are still flowing, so the number might be infinite!

Sewing the simple sampler-style block for the book's gallery pages resulted in a stack of blocks. So I thought, why not create a quilt with them? I had enough stitched to get two quilts to share at my lecture/trunk shows!

And, look at the pile of partial blocks that I can still complete… or maybe I should just donate these to a loyal reader? Hmmm, I’ll be giving this some more thought so you might see a contest on my blog at shawkl.com later this year.

Crazy quilting is a wonderful way to use embellishments and fabric scraps, but it can be planned so that beautiful batiks and cotton fabrics are used as well. Lighter colors make marking with templates easier, but darker colors work if you use a white chalk pencil (or mark the dots on the muslin foundation at the reverse side of a block). Anyway you go, these seam designs are intended to get you inspired to embroider, give you a starting point for seam designs, and launch even a novice into the fantastic world of modern crazy quilting.

If you have never created complex seams before, it is super easy, especially using templates. Begin with a simple seam, add more embroidery stitches in fiber, then add silk ribbon flowers and/or beads! An elaborate seam is born of simple steps layered over each other.

This book was over two years in the making, and I so enjoyed the process with C&T Publishing that we are already collaborating on another book scheduled for release next year. Plus, I’ve got at least three more in my head… so, watch out for new things to come as well.

If you want to keep up with what I’m working on or teaching, just follow my blog at shawkl.com.

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