If you’ve been reading Needle ‘n Thread for a while, you’ve probably gathered that I’m not a crazy quilter. It’s not that I don’t like crazy quilting – it’s just that I don’t do crazy quilting. My attempts have been … well … half-baked, at best! But I love looking at crazy quilting, and I love watching what other people do with crazy quilting.
One crazy quilter in particular that’s fun to watch is Allison Aller. Allie takes crazy quilting to a level of such richness – in color, in embellishment, in construction – that I often find myself boggled at what she creates!
Allie wrote a book, and it is finally on the shelves and available. So I bought the book, and I thought I’d show it to you.
The title is Allie Aller’s Crazy Quilting, and the sub-titled description is “Modern Piecing & Embellishing Techniques for Joyful Stitching,” which sums the whole thing up pretty well!
Like all technique books, it begins with the Needful Things – materials and tools – and for crazy quilting, that especially includes a good discussion of fabric, threads, and embellishments. Accompanied by colorful pictures, Allie discusses the types of fabrics suitable for crazy quilting (are there any that aren’t?) with tips on how to build a stash of supplies. Allie’s writing style is very easy, like having a conversation with a good friend.
She discusses embroidery threads and other embellishments, including trims, laces, beads and so forth.
In addition to materials, the dedicated crazy quilter will find Creative Pursuits easier with the right tools, so Allie lays out the tools that will help get the job done well.
Also discussed are other ways of embellishment and the necessaries involved in those – from computer printed graphics to stenciling with paints.
The meat o’ the matter, when it comes to a technique book, is the instruction on technique. This is where I fall apart on crazy quilting, so I paid close attention to this section. And you know what? Even I “got it” after reading through this part carefully. Allie discusses four ways of constructing the crazy quilt block, and each of the four methods is clearly laid out and explained for the beginner. I’ve read other crazy quilting technique books for hints on block instruction (for when I wrote this article on incorporating goldwork in crazy quilting), and I have to admit, I never really got it until reading Allie’s instructions. They’re very clear and they make the block constructing process sound really easy.
Now, what sets crazy quilting apart from regular quilting is not only the wacky construction of squares made out of irregularly shaped pieces of fabric, but more obviously, the embellishment that happens on those squares. So there’s a good section devoted to embellishment, of course!
And along with the suggestions and tips on embellishment, you’ll find nice little photos along the way to inspire you!
Allie focuses a bit of the book on three-dimensional flowers (she’s really good at them!) …
… and there’s even a little “primer” on silk ribbon embroidery.
Then… there’s the gallery! This is the part of the book for relaxed browsing. Vivid color, abundance, florals. It’s all there. It’s fun. It’s cheery. It’s a lot like Spring.
Allie’s “Crazy for Flowers” quilt is my absolute fave – and you should see the whole quilt! I’m glad the photo is in the book. She blogged about it back in 2007 at one point, and I think that’s when I got hooked into reading her blog regularly.
And – yes! – there are projects in the book, too. Among them, this needle cushion…
… and this beach scene, made using CQ techniques.
At the end of the book, there’s a section on finishing, too, so that you can pretty much go from start to finish on a crazy quilt, with Allie’s book as your guide.
If you’re into crazy quilting – or if you want to get into crazy quilting – this is definitely a book you’ll want to get your paws on. If you’re like me, you may not be looking specifically to make a crazy quilt, or even to delve deeply into crazy quilting techniques, but the book serves as a great source of inspiration for things that can be done with needle and thread and fabric and beads and ribbon and…. well, you get the idea! It’s a fun book, easy to read, packed with beautiful color. What more could you want?
Where to Find It
You can find Crazy Quilting by Allie Aller through the following book affiliates:
In the US, Crazy Quilting is available through Amazon.
Worldwide, with free shipping, Crazy Quilting is available through Book Depository.