The visual guide to crazy quilting design;: simple stitches, stunning results

Boggon, Sharon

 La Fayette, CA: C&T Publishing, 2017 ISBN: 978 1 617453 618 144 pages 

 When I first discovered the online world of blogging, many years ago now, the first blogger I found and followed was Australian, Sharon Boggon…not because I am a huge fan of her style of crazy quilting, but because she is so generous sharing her knowledge of embroidery, especially her imaginative knowledge for combining stitches into pretty, effective ways of decorating and enhancing crazy quilt squares. For some years she ran a weekly TAST (Take a Stitch Tuesday) challenge. It grew and grew as people discovered it. It is a wonderful way of learning from other stitchers. I suggest you have a nosey at  Sharon also has a very good stitch dictionary on her Pintangle site. So when I discovered that she has a book published, I just had to check it out. 

 There are six parts to the book, which cover everything you need to know about crazy quilting; from how to source materials needed (mostly from op shops), design and getting started on putting together your first patch. Sharon sensibly suggests starting with something small, such as a needle case or bag. For this type of quilting, piecing is done using the stitch and flip method. During this process, lace, hankies, doilies, ribbon and so forth may be stitched into the pieced seams to embellish your work. The next part covers what you need to get started with your stitching and you may be a bit taken aback at the variety of suggestions. The next – and largest section is, in effect, a stitch dictionary. Each stitch has a description on how to work it, illustrated with photos. Each stitch is also accompanied with a photo of a crazy quilt patch where Sharon has used the stitch to embellish it. For me, the best part of this section is the wonderful way Sharon combines stitches into gorgeous motifs, using all kinds of threads and silk ribbon. The final section covers all other types of embellishments and how to attach them – beads, lace motifs, sequins, tassels and whatever else you can get your hands on really! She also describes how to make some embellishments. 

 Let me be clear – I don’t dislike crazy quilting per se. I have indulged in it and enjoyed it. My three daughters-in-law love their wee heart shaped crazy quilted bags – one used hers instead of the usual wedding ring cushion. I loved the bag Pamela Masefield made, which won the 2015 Elizabeth Ellett award. Because I find Sharon’s style too sumptuous for my liking, doesn’t mean you will. Sharon is a very good and very generous teacher. She is highly regarded in the crazy quilt world and teaches internationally…and she has an amazingly simple, effective tip for keeping your stitches even (page 69). I am recommending this book as a source book for inspiration for any type of surface stitching. There is no index, which may be frustrating if you want to revisit a particular technique. However the table of contents is comprehensive. 

The copy I have is from our public library. It is $35.67 from Book Depository. I also suggest googling Sharon Boggon; click on images and enjoy! 

Erica Marsden