When I heard the Sharon Boggon was writing a book on crazy quilting, I knew I had to have it! I pre-ordered it, and when it arrived, it flew to the top of my book stack.
Sharon blogs – and has for a long, long time! – at Pintangle about crazy quilting and other artistic and stitch-related interests. Her encrusted approach to crazy quilting has fascinated me for years.
I love to look at her elaborate crazy quilt squares, with exquisitely arranged ground fabrics, perfectly placed and spaced stitches, ingenious stitch combinations, fantastic textures, and judiciously and tastefully added embellishments.
Her work is really a feast for the eyes!
And while I’m not a crazy quilter myself (I did dabble a bit with it – and goldwork – here), I love to look at beautifully executed crazy quilting.
There’s a lot to learn in crazy quilting that can be applied to other types of stitchery, too. I appreciate especially the freedom of crazy quilting. I think it’s a perfect outlet for creative stitchers who like to sew and who enjoy playing with fabric, threads, beads, ribbons, texture, and color.
Visual Guide to Crazy Quilting Design is a colorful volume that is bound to catch the eye of any needlework enthusiast.
The title relays a little bit about what’s inside, but this is much more than just a design book. It’s crazy quilting from start to finish, made accessible to the beginner but super useful for the advanced CQ-er as well.
The book covers a lot of content in its 144 pages!
Not only will you learn all about the materials – fabrics suitable for crazy quilting, threads, embellishments, tools, and the works – but you’ll also learn about designing squares (and layouts), constructing them, planning embellishment, color choices, textures, movement, stitches, decorative treatments, and pretty much everything that you need to know to create outstanding crazy quilt projects.
Throughout the book, the reader is treated to photos of Sharon’s gorgeous work. I remember when I first saw the piece above on Sharon’s former blog “In a Minute Ago,” and was struck by it. I love the colors, the arrangement, the needle painting!
I think Sharon is one of those natural-born teachers who not only easily spreads enthusiasm for her subject, but who knows how to make the subject approachable and achievable. She breaks down method and technique into logical, manageable steps, taking the learner from basics to beyond seamlessly.
There’s no huff-and-puff, no unachievable loftiness. It’s as if you’re on an mild, pleasurable stroll down the path of learning, and the next thing you know, you get it!
Visual Guide to Crazy Quilting Design is written in a really easy, friendly tone that’s just plain nice to read.
Aside from the excellent instructional content that you’d hope for from any technique book, I think this is what I like best about the book.
From the learner’s perspective, there are a few sections in the book that raise it above other books on the same subject. After all, there are lots of books on crazy quilting out there!
For example, I especially appreciate this section on movement. The whole notion of “movement” in visual art can be applied to more than just crazy quilting. Once you consider movement in design, you’ll find yourself applying the concepts in this section to other pieces of needlework, too!
Sharon thoroughly discusses and instructs on the structure of squares in crazy quilting designs and how to consider the placement of embellishments in a way that they will draw the eye around the piece and encourage it to see and explore.
She demonstrates how to create something that, although it might be seemingly disordered due to heavy embellishment, is actually pleasantly ordered so that the eye makes sense of it almost upon contact.
While crazy quilting often celebrates an abundance of decoration that can often seem haphazard and perhaps even “overdone,” Sharon shows how the judicious placement of key decorative elements brings an order to the disorder, making a piece a real pleasure to explore rather than just a mass of confusion.
Another section that I really like in this book is the section on color.
Lately, I’ve been drawn to any book that discusses color. Color Confident Stitching, which I reviewed earlier this year, has been my go-to book lately when I want to think about color in designs. I’ve also reviewed Color Confidence in Embroidery, which discusses the subject at length and provides needlepainting projects that demonstrate beautifully the blending of colors in embroidery.
I always learn something from every author’s take and interpretation of color. Sharon has a real knack for color combinations that work, and so I was eager to read this section of the book. It doesn’t disappoint – I picked up some good information and perspectives for making color choices.
Have you ever noticed that there are creative folks who have an intuitive, natural sense for color, while other people rely on more of an almost-scientific approach to the subject? I think you’ll find Sharon’s section on color pretty helpful, if you flounder on the question of color in needlework design in general!
Of course you will find thorough information on embellishments other than thread and beads. There’s a good section on lace, braids, doilies, hankies – and other stuff! – and how to use it all effectively…
…and plenty of luscious silk ribbon instruction!
The technical instruction in the book is excellent – lots of clear step-by-step photos that will make learning a breeze!
There’s a thorough stitch dictionary with classic stitches and all kinds of variations and lovely combinations.
Finally, what every crazy quilter craves – lots of inspiration for seam treatments! You’ll find pages and pages of seam treatment ideas!
Again, these can be applied to other types of needlework besides crazy quilting, too. They’d be really fun in band sampler format, if you just wanted to practice or play with bands of stitches.
In a Nutshell
A terrific book! And on so many levels!
All pros, no cons.
Where to Find It
You can find Visual Guide to Crazy Quilting Design available now through the following book affiliates:
Visual Guide to Crazy Quilting Design is available in the US here, through Amazon.
And, worldwide with free shipping, it’s available here, through Book Depository.