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It’s a New Year!

Sunday, January 6th, 2013

Another new year and I’m not sure where the last one went! I was contemplating where I have been in the last few years but also where I am going. Ok, not in the physical sense so much, but more about how have I grown as a quilter and teacher. I love to teach, but with the economy as it is, classes have been quite a bit smaller. Even so, I continue to teach regardless of class size because of the joy I receive teaching others to love what I love. Even one on one classes are rewarding because I am able to spend the time working with just one person and also getting to know that person on a personal basis not just because of quilting. I think that has made me more adept at getting to know what is important to my students. The payoff is sometimes not very big in dollars but more than worthwhile on a personal level. I want my students to come back for more teaching not only because of the quilting but because of the personal connection. God is my strength; He fills my life with wonderful ladies who fulfill my need for loving relationships. There are always times when someone will not like the way you do things but that is more the exception and not the rule. My goal this year is to improve my skills and get my quilting and teaching to a new level not just on Crazy Quilts but personally. Thanks to my ladies for being a part of this journey. Happy New Year!

Categories : Quilts
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Where is this going?

Sunday, August 19th, 2012

Sometimes when you are working on a Crazy Quilt, there is a point at which you may wonder where in the world is this going?! Life is like that too. You are trudging thru and then you suddenly don’t have any idea where you are going. At that point you have a choice to just keep going and finish what you started or give up. I am not one to give up…if I start something then I want to finish it. Sometimes I just need to put it aside for a little while and allow myself time to let the project rest as well as myself. There is no harm in that, in my opinion. In fact usually, it allows me to refresh and get a new perspective so that when I pick it up again I have new inspiration and ideas to finish the task at hand. That is where I am with my current Crazy Quilt. I use the project to teach from and it needed some new inspiration! So the resting stage is almost over and the project will have a whole new look. I can’t wait to get started…I hope you are too.

Categories : Crazy Quilts, Quilts
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Personal Nature of Crazies

Wednesday, March 7th, 2012

What makes a Crazy Quilt so personal? It is the nature of what we ourselves put into a “crazie”. My first crazie holds such personal meaning for me. There are fabrics from my best friend, silk ties from my husband, lace from my wedding dress and so much more. But it is also the time that is invested which can never be replaced or that I would never want to replace. It is time sitting with the dogs in my lap and trying to do intricate embroidery with the dog licking your hand. It is the time sitting next to my husband whom I adore even after 30 plus years! So many memories and yet it was the start of something new as well. I never thought that I would be doing what I am today… (writing a blog…who me???)…teaching classes…encouraging ladies to seek their passion and enjoy the simple art of embroidery and Crazy Quilting. Anyway when I made my first crazie, my husband encouraged me to write something which would tell someone in the future all of the intimate details of my crazie. So I decided to write a poem which would at least give others a hint of the meaning that this quilt has had for me even if I’m not there to tell them. Read it and weep…I do.


My Secret Garden

My Secret Garden; filled with reminders of my favorite things

Love of sewing and quilting and tea; love of gardening and God’s creation

Flowers and plants, ivy and wheat; daisies, roses and violets

Worth beyond beauty


Buttons connecting, old and new; buttons from my favorite clothes

Antique buttons, large and small buttons; bumblebee, dragonfly and ladybug buttons

Flower and leaf buttons; oval, round and square buttons

Worth beyond beauty


Embellishments, old and new; antique hankies and new hankies

Eyelet lace and antique lace; lace from my wedding dress

Plain laces and frilly laces; butterflies, fans, hats, hearts and ribbons

Baubles, beads, pearls and trinkets; a spider web just for luck

Worth beyond beauty


A lifetime of learning, old and new; handwork and embroidery

Needle punch and silk ribbon work; accordion roses and bullion roses

Ribbon, satin and spider roses; blanket, bullion and herringbone stitches,

Chain, cretan and cross stitches; fern, feather, and fly stitches

Running, satin and straight stitches; laced and woven stitches

Buttonhole and lazy daisy stitches; french knots galore

Worth beyond beauty


Pieces of memories, old and new; batiks, chenille and cotton

Satin, silk, velvet, and wool; fabric from my favorite chair

Fabric from my best friend, fabrics left from other quilts, and fabrics from my stash

Silk neckties from my husband, my partner, my love

Worth beyond beauty


All the colors of the rainbow; arrayed in my Secret Garden

Reminders of treasures gained; my husband, my family, my friends and my God

A garden filled with blessings; faith, hope, and love

Worth beyond beauty


— Rita Meyerhoff (2007)


Categories : Quilts
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Christmas and Crazy Quilts

Wednesday, December 21st, 2011

Not much in common or a lot in common??? I think the latter. Christmas is about family and sharing time with the people in your life that you care about. Christmas is also about Christ who is my beloved savior.  My first crazy quilt was filled with memories of family and things in my life that I care about. Every piece of fabric reminded me of other things that I had made for people that I love. There were pieces of fabric from my best friend, a piece of lace from my wedding dress, and leftover buttons from projects. I felt like I embroidered my life into that quilt. But the most important part for me was the cornerstones of my quilt which contained the embroidered words: “Faith”, “Hope” and “Love”. I made the blocks over a period of two years, so as I was working on them I would put them away as they were finished. However, I think God wanted me to remember how important love was to Him. So forgetting that “Love” was already on one block, I ended up embroidering “Love” on a second block. As I pulled out the blocks to sew them together, there they were – the words that represented my life from the verse: “And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love“ 1 Corinthians 13:13 NIV. So “Love” appears twice on my crazy quilt, reflecting God’s Word that love is the most important of all. Our crazy quilts are often a reflection of our lives. I hope that your crazy quilt helps you put your life into perspective – as much as my quilt helped me do the same. Merry Christmas everyone and enjoy your time with family and friends!

Categories : Crazy Quilts, Quilts
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Sunday, October 9th, 2011
One of my favorite things in Crazy Quilting is creating “moments”.  OK, so maybe there are than a few favorite things because I love Crazy Quilting so much!  Anyway, the creation of “moments” is the simple collection of things such as buttons and laces and pearls, oh my!  When someone looks at my crazy quilts, they are always intrigued by the collections.  The idea is to take individual items and combine them together to create something special that holds another person’s attention for just a moment.  My personal favorite is creating a collection of buttons on a Crazy Quilt block, but laces and trims are right up there too.  I am convinced that the person with the most stuff for Crazy Quilting wins, and I REALLY do love to collect things.  I think I have been a collector my whole life but never knew why until I started Crazy Quilting.  Now all those bits of lace and trim and buttons make total sense.
By combining buttons that have different textures and style, each one reflects off the next and you can create something wonderful. Start with just an average button; you know the type…the one from an everyday shirt in a plain white color with the four holes.  Then add a button that has class such as a fancy Czech button that you paid way too much for but it just strikes your fancy!  Now we are getting somewhere, so just add another texture such as a lady bug button or a floral button…it’s totally up to you.  I usually just keep adding until the right combination just happens.  Up until this point you are not sewing them down or even deciding where to put the collection, but just playing with buttons until you get the combination just right!
It looks best if you use an odd number of buttons…it’s an art thing.  I’ve heard it said that artists like to use odd numbers because that is what the eye looks for; if you only do two, instead of three, then the eye is looking for the third one.  So collections of five or seven look really nice.  Once you decide the collection is just right then you can start sewing them into the perfect place – the place on your Crazy Quilt block that makes the buttons look even more perfect.  I try to nest them up against each other as close as possible, and, if needed, I then sew in extra pearls to fill in the gaps and maybe add a little flower to top it off.  Voila!  The perfect collection of buttons creates a perfect moment for your Crazy Quilt and for mine!  Check out the pictures and then try one for yourself.
Categories : Crazy Quilts, Quilts
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The True Treasure of a Crazy Quilt

Friday, September 2nd, 2011

In the Victorian era embroidery and sewing were a part of every young woman’s life… no matter what her station in life. Articles in newspapers about quilting and sewing were common, but now they are the exception. Patterns were shared and now they are copyrighted. Quilts were more utilitarian than art pieces. Labels were rare other than the date written as part of the design or signature quilts.

Sometimes people wonder why we take perfectly good fabric and cut it apart and sew it back together. It’s the creative part of us that can see something special on the other side of putting it back together. Quilting has taken on a new role in our lives as something that we do for ourselves and for the people we give them to. Only you know the amount of work and details that went into making that quilt a treasure. Crazy quilts are even more so because of the nature of what goes into them…not only the treasures that only you know the stories behind but also the special meaning of the crazy quilt itself.

Stitches have evolved into combining stitches and adding beading along with adding laces and treasures in as many ways as you can think of. Initially the stitches were a single type of stitch along a seam but now we combine and embellish with everything imaginable. The availability of these “treasures” is a big part of this. Beads, buttons, laces, trims and threads have come a long way and we are so affluent that we collect these little bits and turn them into something to treasure.

Crazy quilts can be simply one block as a wall hanging or memory quilt or an entire quilt with a lifetime of treasures. Crazy quilts can be a number of things to each person. Sometimes you take a piece of yourself and sew it into the seams and the crazy quilt takes on its own personality. The special things that you create and sew take on new meaning. I think that’s why I love crazy quilts so much because of the story behind each stitch and the love that each person puts into the quilt which becomes a true treasure to behold!

Categories : Crazy Quilts, Quilts
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Friends, Field Trips and a Perfect Day

Sunday, August 14th, 2011

A field trip…does that remind you of anything? A group of quilting students and I went on a field trip this last weekend. Definitely not like a field trip when you were in school but so much better. We went to a small town in Colorado (Niwot) with the cutest little ribbon and gift shop that I have seen in quite a while! There was a whole wall of ribbons, lace and trims of every size and color imaginable. It was literally a “candy store” of ribbons all in one spot. I had called ahead to let the owner know that a large group of us were coming. She and one of her staff were wonderful at helping us with our selections. But the nicest part was spending the day with friends and getting away from the everyday routine. We enjoyed seeing everyone else’s choices and finding great choices of our own. By the way, I spent way too much!

Our field trip group included ladies from three different Crazy Quilt groups that I meet with once a month. We all come from different backgrounds, but we have a common interest: Crazy Quilts. With a common bond like that we had lots to talk about. We visited and made new friends. We laughed, talked, and had lunch together and then went our separate ways. We were all tired but relaxed at the same time. We loved it! In fact we loved it so much, there is already talk about getting together again for another quilting social event. What a great memory and what promise for the future just because of a field trip! Sometimes just taking the time to do something different turns the routine day into the perfect day!

Categories : Crazy Quilts, Quilts
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Oh How I Love Crazies!

Saturday, July 16th, 2011

Initially, I had no intention of doing a big crazy quilt! I took a class to learn the process but I also wanted to meet some new people because we had recently moved from Phoenix to Denver. The class was good but I realized that most of the things that were taught were versions of things that I already knew how to do. I understood later that I had been working towards doing a crazy quilt my whole life but just didn’t yet know it. What do I mean by that??? Basically that I have always been crafting and sewing and all of that experience and knowledge came together when I made my first crazy quilt. God does things like that. He gives you the tools to do what He has asked you to do even before you know that you will need them. Amazing! In fact , what started out as a few blocks turned into 12 or 13 and suddenly I had to decide how big was this crazy quilt going to be and how in the world was I going to finish it. A lot of time has gone by and nowadays I teach others how to turn their love of embroidery and other crafts into making their own crazy quilt. Another reason that I love crazy quilting so much is that every crazy quilt is a reflection of the person making it. The items that they choose, the laces and trims that they pick are choices made by each maker. Their quilt gives us insight into the maker both on the inside and the outside which makes the quilt even more beautiful! I love Crazy Quilters (aka “Crazies”); I especially love the time and effort and individuality of each quilt and its maker!

Categories : Crazy Quilts, Quilts
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Change is Good!

Thursday, June 9th, 2011

Change is good even in a crazy quilt. Every time you think you have things figured out and everything is going along just perfect, something happens that alters that view. My favorite quilt shop is closing and now what is the alternative? God closes one window but opens a whole new view! I wasn’t sure how the shop closing was going to affect what I thought was “just perfect the way it is”, but now I see that great opportunities are always out there. God always has control – which is good because it is too easy just being happy with the same old thing. That’s true in crazy quilting too. Every time you add a different stitch combination or a different lace or button, you are creating a “moment in time”. Adding each item in a new and fresh way helps to create these unique moments which will catch the viewer’s eye. If you wanted to do a crazy quilt with all the same fabrics and with the same stitch on every seam, that would be ok but it would not be as interesting as when every seam is unique. Even for me, it’s important to put new stitches and combinations every time that I add something to my quilt. So don’t be stuck in the same place but be willing to try something new and be pleasantly surprised with the results. Happy Crazy Quilting!

Categories : Crazy Quilts, Quilts
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How many Blocks in a Crazy Quilt?

Monday, May 30th, 2011

I wish there was an easy answer to this question but as usual it depends on a number of factors. I am working on several different crazy quilts at one time right now…go figure! Anyway, I have one crazy quilt (the one with color but neutral backgrounds) which I was only going to do about 5 blocks, but now I have 9. Sometimes the project just grows of its own accord or ideas that just pop up. First, I decided to take one of my favorite blocks and use it as an individual block with an elaborate border which would combine my two favorite types of quilting: free motion quilting and crazy quilting. Then I found a pair of white gloves that are absolutely beautiful with tiny pearl seed beads sewn on the top of the gloves. The gloves must go on something wonderful so I decided that this single block and the white gloves were meant to go together. Check out the picture of the work in progress! Anyway what decides how many blocks?  Many factors such as how many things you wish to show off, how many blocks you decide to finish and whether you have a theme and how many blocks it takes to make that theme perfect! So the real answer is that it is a personal choice and only you know the real answer!

Categories : Crazy Quilts, Quilts
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