One of my favorite blogs to follow is Jude Hill's Spirit Cloth. Jude does the most amazing work, every bit of it by hand. She develops rich, textured quilts that tell stories, and every stitch seems to come from her soul. Her involved pieces take over a year to complete and contain a myriad of experiments along the way. She refers to them as "Slow Cloth."
Part of Jude's process involves asking "What If." What if she changed a piece in some small way to take it in a new direction? She keeps a separate blog that records each of these "What If" experiments. When she invited readers to participate in a "What If" challenge, I couldn't resist joining. Using the Crazy Quilt as a starting place, Jude asked readers to reimagine it in their own style or techniques they are currently exploring.
To me the two main components of a crazy quilt are the irregularly pieced background and the rich, often elaborately detailed, embellishments. I asked, What If I used a variety of marks for my pieced area, all in black and white. And following my latest interest in couching fabric, What If the only embellishments were couched fabric with raw edges?
Here's my first "What If" piece:
I ended up adding a bit of fine line embroidery for an accent.
The great thing is that piece led to more "What Ifs." The first being, what if I work bigger than a 6" square, so I can try more on one piece. I've been experimenting with making black and white marks on fabric to prepare for the next "What If".
I love the finer marks on the left. They were made with Sharpie Poster Paint and are lightly gray like chalk on a chalkboard. The marks on the right were Jacquard fabric paint, which turn out a rich white.
I tried a variety of inks which weren't strong enough and evaporated into the cloth. I got this fabulous orange color below from discharging with a bleach pen. The fabric was a cotton blend:
But when I tried the same discharge method on a piece of 100% cotton, the result was very different. The bleach spread and I ended up with gray ghost images.
You can see other examples of the Crazy Quilt Revisited What If's here.