Sunday, June 3, 2012

Going Crazy under the Sea

This piece, which measures 41" X 31," was conceived about a year and a half ago. Last July I sketched out the design and began piecing the blocks by machine. The fabrics are a combination of silks, velvets, brocades, tulle, and man-made "fancy" fabrics. There is extensive hand beading, including 9 beaded motifs that I designed and that took between 3 and 6 hours each to complete. All seams are hand embroidered using a wide variety of threads. The silk sea anemone in block 10 was also my own design. When I began the piece, I knew perhaps a dozen embroidery stitches. By the time it was finished in April (2012), I had learned several dozen more.

I learned how to finish a crazy quilt thanks to Allie Aller's book and blog. The quilt has a false back which is hand basted through several layers, a task that requires you to look after each stitch to make sure the stitch doesn't show on the front. I then put a fancy back on it and, using a number of tutorials from the web, I attached a facing instead of a binding. (Having used a ribbon binding on my first piece, Going Crazy in the Garden, and receiving not-so-good reviews from a quilt show judge, I determined to learn how to face the quilt.)I intend to use facings on all future wall hangings.

Going Crazy under the Sea is hanging in my sewing room at present because I intend to place it in a show in September. After that, however, it is headed to Longboat Key, Florida where I have a special place reserved for it. This was truly a labor of love with a steep learning curve. I'm currently ruminating on the next piece in my "Going Crazy" series.
 Here are some close up's of individual blocks.


  1. Arlene - this is absolutely beautiful!!!!!!!! You did a fantastic job and it's so nice to see the finished piece. I have never seen a more beautiful crazy quilt than this one. Can't believe how much work has gone into this piece of art!!! All the best in your September show - this is so special and will be amazing displayed in your Florida place!

    1. Thank you, Rosella, for your lovely words. The colors always make me think of the gulf, so I can't wait to hang this in Florida.

  2. Wow Arlene, this is truly a work of art. I love all the intricate embroidery stitches and that it is all hand done is amazing. Best wishes for your September show.

  3. this is so fun! i could spend quite a long time admiring all the detail, well done!

  4. This is a gorgeous quilt, Arlene! All the pieces show such careful stitching and intricate embroidery work. I love the colors and sea theme. Good luck with it in the show you are entering it in.

    Thank you for your best wishes for the new couple! We're so happy for them.

  5. How lovely! The detail is extraordinary and I am truly in awe of the work you did. Amazing!!! It should be a show stopper. Have a wonderful day. Blessings...Mary

  6. Truly impressive! Your description did not prepare me for how beautiful this really is . I want to look at it over and over again!

  7. So beautiful! I love the ocean colours and all of the surface embroidery. The beaded sea creatures are so cute too.


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