Question for my "guild"

bev2009October 18, 2012

I was busy cruising the quilting net world today when I came across "improv" quilting. Can you tell me the difference between improv and crazy? As far as I can tell, you "square off" improv blocks more than crazy quilting, but I could be wrong. According to Wiki, crazy quilts usually don't have a batting layer. Is this correct? How about improv quilts?

I appreciate all I am learning from all of you and your willingness to share!


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I am sort of grinning because the third quilt I made would certainly qualify as an improv quilt, but I was totally clueless about quilting in general at the time and was simply winging it. I call it a wonky quilt and it was done in a basic Eye of God pattern, paper pieced no less before I even knew what paper piecing was. To me it is primitive looking, in the spirit of Gee Bend, but I hadn't even heard of Gee Bend back then, either.

I think the spirit of improv quilting is to let go and let the juices flow. It's a good practice for quilters occasionally because as a group, I think we tend to be perfectionists and a little O/C. It's all about not having to worry about somebody else's preconceived notions of a pattern, letting your eye make the choices, having some fun and not being so hung up on geometric precision.

I put my wonky quilt top away for five years and just dug it out a few weeks ago and birthed it then tied it off. Surprisingly I liked the results so much that I hauled it down to the daybed in the living room and it's my snuggle quilt now, if I can get the dog off it. He growls when I try to pull it out from under him.

Mine is not batted, but there is no reason you shouldn't or couldn't. Then again, I have put batting in all my crazy quilts. There are no 'rules' as quilting is a folk craft (unless you happen to plan on putting it in a show where rules may dictate some of the decisions). Crazy quilts have a long history, and were more about showing off your needlework in finishing them off than anything else. BTW I have a crazy quilt going in the background continually, because I love them, enjoy making them and use them to eat up the scraps of other quilts in progress. No, I don't like to keep gobs of scraps about. If I get around to it, I'll take a pic of my improv quilt. Interesting topic!

    Bookmark   October 19, 2012 at 3:06AM
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When I think of a true Crazy Quilt, I think of rich fabrics like velvet and satin showing off embroidery stitches at the seamlines.

I have a few crazy blocks made using a muslin foundation, large scraps and decorative machine stitching. When/if I ever get enough blocks made, no batting will be needed because of the muslin foundation. I think I started them when Caroline1947 gave a tute on how she made hers.

Smaller scraps used for Crumb blocks fit into the 'improv' category.....I think. @:)


    Bookmark   October 19, 2012 at 9:32AM
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Thanks, Sharon. Now I had to postpone my house cleaning to look up crumb blocks. LOL I looked at several tutes and one seemed to me the way you would put together a crazy quilt, with much stopping, cutting, and starting. I liked the way this tute worked better and will definitely give this a try. I am not one who wants to store lots of fabric and would like to use up my extras quickly. We have a nursing home a few blocks away and I think I could do up some lap robes for Christmas presents lickety-split. Especially good for sewing in the evening when my brain is done working. Thanks for the idea!

Here is a link that might be useful: Crumb tute

    Bookmark   October 19, 2012 at 10:31AM
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You're welcome, Bev. I've never made one using strips like that, but it comes out looking pretty good! Using various sizes strips makes it interesting, too. Now I want to make some crumb blocks using strips!! There goes my plan for the day. Mindless sewing is on the horizon.


    Bookmark   October 19, 2012 at 11:23AM
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