Annies Crazy World

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    This is Annie Whitsed's Crazy World a world where I stitch the joys and chaos of life into beautifull crazy quilts. email
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Day 72 – Countdown time 3 August 31st, 2006

Originally Blogged 01 May 2005

That is 3 days to finish the crazy patchwork and Make the Dress……My sister came over today and checked my measurements so that I could draft the pattern for the skirt….Ooops when I had done the rough measurement for how long to make the foundation I located my hips about 4 inches below where it is, means losing the bottom of the crazy, I don’t want to do that…and don’t have to because we looked at the neck line decided that it really was to low and that I could shorten it a bit on the shoulders….After doing the adjustment I realized that I had misunderstood the original phone directions for making the neck line pattern and as it happened the difference that I was wrong by was 4 inches…Lucky for me that these 2 OOOpses that could have caused me problems actually canceled each other out.

Water Spout
My friends all tease me about the detail that I add to my crazy quilts and then they turn around and encourage me…one dear friend, who is ringing me daily to check progress and hurry me on, did insist that a couple of the whales should have a water spout….Magnified it is an odd shaped spout but cute anyway…

The atart of a bead trail
The last of the embellishments is a bead trail…When doing bead trails I start by making a mix of a variety of sizes shape in suitable colours and you can mix in buttons and charms…I tip the beads where I want the trail to be and move them around to find a nice line, when I do this in class the response from the class is always the same “that looks great” they say “but how do you stitch them in that arrangement”, my reply is “I don’t, they look great when I tip them out however they fall, the same beads will look great when you stitch them on” and I tip the beads back into a container… I then start stitching….I stitch the bigger beads along the line, the photo below is the charms and bigger beads for this trial… how close together I stitch them depends on wether I want a light trail or a heavy trail, this one is to be a light trail….Next I will add medium sized beads and then seed beads, I will photograph each stage so that you can see how the trail builds up.

The biggest bead in the middle is a beautiful bead that my son bought for me in England and I wrapped the red thread onto the tiny cotton reel charm, the thread helps it blend in and it looks reel cute with thread on it.

Amazing..the spell checker didn’t find a single miss spelt word tonight…that has never happened before…

Altered Book – Shadow Box and Drawers August 31st, 2006

When I started the embellishments for this altered book I was at a bit of a loss because I had no theme to get me going…then on a visit to the hardware shop we checked out the craft section where some little wooden house shapes appealed to me, I didn’t know what I would do with them but bought a packet just because I liked them…Later when I was working on the book and had painted the back page blue it seamed natural to use the houses in the Shadow Box…I started by painting the bottom part of the page green.

The Shadow Box

I cut away a little more of the pages to recess the house on the left so that it didn’t add extra thickness to the book…I painted the clouds and extra trees as a background and made the tree from a twig, cotton wool, glue and paint…and then I couldn’t help myself, houses have to have Windows and Door Knobs…and a few spots of paint would look like Flower Gardens…

Home in a Match Box
At this point I added the flecs of red to the green at the bottom of both pages……and while I am at it I could paint the doors…and the roofs…

Before I painted all the houses I decided to leave one unpainted as a sample of the houses before I painted them…Thought I could keep the sample house in one of the Matchbox Drawers…Ummm mini shadow boxes and one thought led to another until both the matchbox drawers were mini scenes.

The unpainted house is in the Drawer below…I thought that the scene needed something else… a look through my crazy quilting charms produced the little white car which was a blue plastic button before I got to it with modeling paints…

Match Box Car?

From what I have seen altered books are over the top decorated and the plan was to use stamps and addresses from old envelopes to further embellish the left side page but for once in my life I decided to keep it simple…I love the way the Match Box cars interact with the Page and think that the space on the left gives the scene a peaceful country feel…

The complete Page

Day 71 – Imperfection can be perfect!!!! August 30th, 2006

Originally Blogged on 30 April 2005

A Fairy and a spider web

A Spider and his web…Spider webs were a lesson to me that perfection is not always perfect…I can and in the past always have stitched perfectly shaped webs but if you look at a spiders web it is intricate and delicate but not perfectly symmetrical and you can often see where the spider has repaired them….I am just getting the hang of stitching mine a little bit uneven and imperfect and I like them much better so when it comes to crazy spiders webs imperfection is perfect….

Flwer button on net

In the bottom right corner I have added another small piece of the hat lace with a glass flower and leaf beads.

Lace flowers

This is one of the short seams on the shoulder, the 3 big flowers are a peice of lace made from 2 different threads that dyed different colours, by itself it didn’t look like much but with a smaller lace flower and a crystal added to each flower it looks great…the flower on the right is still loose and I will stitch it down after the seam is stitched.

Day 70 – Fussy??? August 29th, 2006

Originally blogged 28 April 2005

Visual Jounal page

Last night Sharon called me fussy…and I can’t deny it…before seeing her last night I had decided that my dress needed a black lace flower on the right hand side just above the fabric with the black flowers, I found only a few black lace flowers in my stash none of which was the right size and colour but there was one large iron on motif that I could cut a small flower and leaf from and I cut the piece off, thought that I should photograph the motif to show you how I adapted it and I remembered that it had come in an oz/usa swap baggie so I may have had a photo…I looked in my records and found that it was the first swap and I had done a pencil rubbing because it was before I had a digital camera, so I took a photo of the journal page with the motif…..

detail of front

…after taking the photo I moved the folder, pulled another folder from the shelf to find a date for a note that I had made on the page, put the folder back on the floor to rephotograph it but when I went to put the motif on the page again the top bit was in my hand but the other bit, the bit I wanted, was gone, where I do not know, after searching the area of the room I was in, my son did a search and we have both kept an eye out for it but it is not yet back from warp world, which according to my sister is where lost things go…

Having given up on finding it my first question to Sharon when I saw her was did she have a small black lace flower, she didn’t and when she looked at the dress she didn’t think that I needed it, which most likely means that I don’t but I had it in my head and started thinking of what else to do, could I dye one? No it would be grey rather than black, what about buttons? Or silk ribbon…it was at this point that she called me fussy…well Sharon there is no black flower on the patch and the bird button is perched on the bow…but I still have to plead guilty to being fussy because what I have done instead is to cover most of the patch with a piece of hat netting/lace which has muted the patch and softened its edges which is what I had been trying to do…..It took some stitching on because I had to catch it all over but worth it because I am happy now.

Admin note: More than a year later I found that missing piece of black lace on the kitchen floor with no clue as to where it had been all that time….

Day 69 – The Front is coming together August 28th, 2006

Originally Blogged 26 April 2005

wheat stitch

The first part of this seam is wheat stitch which is one of the stitches that I did on the back but this time I put a tiny flower shaped bead between the wheat stitches, I made this seam dark and muted so that it would blend the 2 patches together so the eye would see the 2 as one shape, a stand out seam would have emphasized the square shape of the spotted fabric…The seam on the right is a buttonhole stitch variation done with metallic thread which holds its shape well.

2 stitches on the seam

I have also split this seam by using different stitches. the left side is a cretan stitch whipped with chenille thread and trimmed with straight stitches and star beads….the right side is double feather stitch trimmed with seed beads.

the front is coming together

This photo shows how I finished the seams that I had started the other night…I really like the big flowers but they do dominate the lower section which means that I have to keep other embellishments to a minimum and the dark spotted patch in the middle was still looking very squarish…beads scattered under the twist in the braid clashed with the big flowers so I simplified it by putting just a few beads in the twist of the braid…I was still having trouble balancing the block and creating flow until I moved the ribbon bow up near the lace motif that I had stitched up the top, the bow works well with the motif, the ribbon tails bring the lighter colour down, break up the spotted fabric and have started to create movement on the patch….and unless I come up with a bright idea whilst I sleep the movement will be continued with another bow across the bottom patches…..

The altered book has pop ups and pull outs and… August 28th, 2006

The altered book is to be a sampler so I want to use as many techniqes as I can in it…it has a pop up…the first image was before the final glaze and the second is the finished page.

altbook pop up before final glazealtbook pop up

And when I saw a picture using luggage tags in another book I thought umm I could do a pull out by attaching a card to a ribbon hidden between glued pages…the toy theme of the card I used has given me a general theme of old toys for that page and I have started a college for the page.

Altbook pull out

And on another page I have a window happening I have the frame cut with overhead projecter plastic for the window panes.

Window looking out

Day 68 – Embroidering the seams on the Dress Front August 27th, 2006

Originally blogged 23rd April 2005

straight stitch with bead

This seam is straight stitches with a bead on each stitch, the beads run along the stitches so it is a fun stitch to play with…I had called this seam finished but keep looking at it thinking that it isn’t integrated into the patch above, I think 2 lines of chain stitch along the lace side of the seam will pull it together…

feather stitch with button hole

Feather stitch trimmed with buttonhole stitch flowers.

braid with a twist

I stitched this braid straight along the seam and was adding colonial knots along the edge but I didn’t like it, so I took it off and put it back on with a twist in the braid….I don’t normally take stitches out but I am having trouble with this front piece because it doesn’t have many seams and several of the ones it does have are long straight seams and doing things like putting the twist in the braid help to break the long lines up and lead the eye to other parts of the block…..I plan to put beads in amongst the twist and dribble them down the patch below.


The bottom seam is a lovely piece of lace that has a lovely variegation of colour from one end to the other, I will add beads in the centre of the flowers and think that I will put a little flower above the lace midway between each flower…The top seam is 2 slightly offset rows of Cretan stitch to which I will add a stitch or a bead to the points….And the fabric between the seams, it is an organza and the gold is like tiny beads on the surface, loved it on the bolt, love it as a piece of fabric but as a patch the gold lines stopping suddenly at the seam annoyed me, I put the flowers over the end and I like the way they looked but the gold was to long for stems, more lace flowers lower on the stems solved the visual problem that I was having with the fabric.

And I have bought the fabric to make the rest of the dress…It is Silk Duponi in a Dark red/Burgundy colour that looks different in different lights.

Day 67 – A Heart and a Bow August 26th, 2006

Originally Blogged on Thursday, 14 April 2005

I got all of the seams that I had planned stitched today…

The Heart The Bow

I photographed the Bow before doing the colonial knots on the second tail so that you can see how the knots change the look of the ribbon….

This is the flower trail as planned plus a tatted butterfly.

Flower trail

Musical Notes

I initially pulled the ribbon with the musical notes out of my stash because I liked the notes as the bride has a beautiful singing voice and the colour fitted….when I auditioned the ribbon on the seam I decided that the gold notes where to Glitzy and bold for the rest of the piece and I put the ribbon to the side…A mutual friend visited, when she spied the music on the ribbon she picked it up and said that it had to go on for the brides beautiful singing, I told her that is why I had it out but that I had decided not to use it….when I was telling my sister about it she agreed that it was to glitzy but asked if it could be twisted to fit on and started twisting it, we decided that with less of the gold showing and with the dark straight stitch stars it would blend in and that was the plan….but when I pinned it in place and stood back from it the gold was still to bright…I thought about taking it off and finding something else but I liked the line of the ribbon and did want to use then I thought of covering it with organza ribbon and that worked well to mute the gold sos that it blends in…..I like the way the stars connect it to the seam above which is a feather stitch variation with colonial knots and detached chain stitch….

This seam is herringbone stitch with detached chain and colonial knots alternating along the edges.

Herringbone Stitch

I have carried the flower trial through by adding just a few flowers to cover this seam.

more flowers

Detached Chain Stitch

Dress Back

And I covered this last little seam with Detached Chain Stitches with a long seal off stitch arranged in a zig zag pattern and done in the green/burgundy variegated thread….and with this seam the Back of my dress is finished…and here it is, I have also put a Big picture on flicker.

Day 66 – The Whales are back August 25th, 2006

Originally blogged on Wednesday, 13 April 2005

Last night my answer to Mary’s question about how I approach embellishing crazy quilts was that ‘It Just Happens’ …well I thought that it did just happen but talk about Live and Learn…Blogging my dress and explaining what I am thinking as I make it is teaching me more about how I think than I have learnt in 20 years of just stitching…Today my sister, Janice came over, she is not a crazy quilter but has a good design eye and is always happy to brainstorm any problems that I have and today there was several embellishments that I sought her opinion of….After Janice left and with Mary’s question in the back of my mind I realized that It Doesn’t just happen…When doing the embroidery I decide the detail as I go but my decisions are influenced by knowing the overall effect that I want to achieve and stitch, thread type, colour etc are chosen with that in mind…As the piece nears completion, I stand back from it and work out what it needs so that the finished piece will be balanced and work as a whole piece and I actually start to plan the embellishments, which is what I did with Janice this afternoon.

Planning the back

I didn’t get much stitched tonight so I will tell you the ‘plan’ and we will see how much it changes as I stitch it tomorrow….Firstly that dark fabric that I was covering the other night was still to big so I cut some of it off …what to replace it with? The whale fabric maybe but I wandered if I wanted to use it just to be contrary so I looked for something else, I found another plain fabric that would work but I kept looking at the whales, I needed an unbiased opinion which I got from my Son, he to has a good eye and has often helped me by giving another eyes view…I held it far enough away from him that he couldn’t see that it was whales on the fabric, I showed him the lighter coloured fabric first and he said ‘needs something darker’ I showed him the whale fabric and he said perfect colour, so the Whales are back…Janice’s opinion was biased, she likes whales…

Above the flower trail I have added a dark pink Lace heart because the pinkish lace at the top still needed more balancing.

Across the bottom 2 patches I will use a dark pink ribbon, tied in a bow with long tails stitched in place with colonial knots…as well as bringing a little more pink into the lower part of the block, the twisted tails add a feeling of movement and will lead the eye around from the bottom of the flower trail and back up towards the top of the block.

Ribbon Fan

Yesterday I made this fan to cover and soften the square angular piecing just to the right of the centre of the block ….It is lovely and stand out Fancy and after discussing fancy embellishments last night I decided not to use it, it will look great on my Box Top…..When Janice was here we started trying different lace motifs on the spot, I call this auditioning embellishments and it is when the crazy piece will talk to you which is what it did when Janice put a couple of the little flowers there, a little cluster of them looks as good as the fan and work better than the fan because by repeating the flowers I am not adding a new fancy element and I can scatter them up over the lace and onto the dark patch which will break the solid area of the pink lace and add movement.

And I have a plan for the top left seam but you will have to wait until tomorrow for it because I am going to bed now…………..

Day 65 – It Just Happens August 24th, 2006

Originally Blogged on Tuesday, 12 April 2005

Wheat Stitch

At this point with nearly all the seams done and not many embellishments to go on I am starting to think about balancing the overall look of the piece….one way that I do that is to repeat some elements and as this seam is on the opposite side to the one where I used the green/burgundy variegated thread it was a good place to put another hint of the green….I did Wheat Stitch which I angled across the seam, it looked to sparse so I added Detached Chain Stitches in the gaps but they looked so like leaves I just had to add stems and the lace flowers….Truth is I should have stopped with the wheat stitch because the bride chastised me today for making my stitches ‘to fancy’ lol… but without realizing it I have made them fancier than I intended…I had interpreted simple as using the basic stitches and thought that I was doing well to do the whole back without a bead, button or charm which are the things I think of as fancy but forgot that whilst the basic stitches are simple/easy to stitch, when you combine them they look fancy…with that thought in mind I can see that the wheat stitch was simple, not sparse and that the flowers although simple to stitch on, do make the seam fancy…Ooops, just as well the bride knows me well and I won’t be made to take them off…It is going to be very interesting when we get the 2 dresses together because in the meantime her other friends have coaxed her into adding more beads and lace than she had intended to and I think that on close inspection mine may have fancier stitching than hers but On the day mine will blend into the Garden setting and it will be her dress that sparkles.

Fly stitch net

This seam was to be this variation of Fly Stitch

fly Stitch

To make it a little different I thought that I would make the Fly Stitch wider, while I was doing the first row I thought that it would look nice with multiple rows, which is what I did, tapering them into a point….It was also only going to be on one side of the seam but it didn’t look quite right so I mirrored the pattern onto the lace patch and even though the stitches can barely be seen on the lace the seam does look finished with them there…I put a Colonial Knot on each point to emphasis the diamond that was formed.

Mary-Frances commented …. That is absolutely GORGEOUS! I can’t wait to see it all together.
So, we were chatting at our last crazy quilting meeting about different approaches to embellishment….do you plan it all out ahead or does it just “happen”? We decided that CQ folks seem to do one or the other.

My Reply ….”It Just Happens” …. I have a loose plan of what colours I want and what stitches and embellishments might suit the theme of the piece that I am working on but have no idea of what I am going to do until it happens… When I was doing my Diploma of Visual Arts and Crafts I had problems in my Visual Diary class because I couldn’t explain to my tutor that I could not pre plan a piece of crazy quilting, because of being frustrated with her insistence that I had to plan a piece of crazy before stitching it, I missed learning that Visual Journals can be used for crazy quilting and are a valuable resource for crazy quilters…. Several years Later Sharon explained Visual Journals to me in a way that I could understand…. she said to me that I was “the back of an envelope girl” and with that I understood Visual Journals which I now love, I still scribble things on the backs of envelopes but now some of them get glued into my journal before getting lost…Visual Journals are great for recording and developing ideas, techniques and instructions and for making the loose plans to get started but the actual crazy quilting still just happens and I can’t imagine not being able to change my mind mid stitch as I did with the second stitch I showed you tonight.