August 07, 2010

What is Crazy Quilting International?

We are a Yahoo group of over 500 women (and men) who love Crazy Quilting.  Our members are scattered literally all over the world, from the U.S. and Canada, to Australia and New Zealand, Japan, Turkey, The Netherlands, Great Britain, South America – in fact, every continent is represented.  The group was started in 2004 and its current owners/moderators are Kerry Leslie (Canada), Leslie Ehrlich (Colorado, US), Hideko Ishida (Japan) and Cathy Kizerian (Utah, US).

Our members come from a variety of art and crafting backgrounds, such as sewing, traditional quilting, beading, art quilting and collage, painting and drawing, and so forth.   This appeal is easily explained; Crazy Quilting combines a love of fabric with embroidery, quilting, laces, beads, sequins (and other bling).  It was the original “collage” artform of our Victorian ancestor needlewomen!

Rita Cruz’ Wallhanging “Leaving Ft. Riley, Kansas”

The Crazy Quilting International (CQI) group actually consists of a main group and four sub-groups.  The main group serves as a gateway to (or umbrella over) the other subsidiary groups.  Most of the discussions and email takes place on the main group.  The subgroups are Gallery One and Gallery Two, where the bulk of the member photo albums and work from the ongoing round robins are housed. 
The Novice Group is the learning area and provides information and teaching tools to newbies and experienced stitchers alike.  The Novice Group also chats online through email messages.   

Right:  Friendship Book by Margreet de Reus, The Netherlands

The final area is the Swaps & Exchanges site, where contests, swaps, and charity work pictures and information is housed. 
Above:  Pinkeeper from 2008 swap by Connie Kalina, Colorado

Leslie Ehrlich is the moderator who keeps the charity projects going, as well as handling the membership responsibilities AND developing the education programs.   This year she unveiled “CQ A-Z”, a full teaching program.  It not only featured Leslie’s information on fabrics, needles, and the language of flowers, but also on CQ history by Janet Popish of Colorado, art and color basics by Carolyn Phillips of California, and a block pattern and challenge issued by Diane Ransom. 

This year, 2010, is the third year we are participating in Making Memories – a charity fundraiser to support finding a cure for breast cancer.  Each year, members make and donate a crazy quilted block.  These blocks are made into quilts that are auctioned off, the proceeds going to Making Memories.   Last year’s quilts were put together by Debbie Higgins of Texas, US.

One of the 2009 Making Memories Quilts

Every spring we host an international Crazy Quilt Purse contest, which garners a lot of attention!  There are regular swaps of crazy quilted items by those who choose to participate.    At Christmastime is the Christmas Cracker swap, and other recent swaps have included CQ-ed tins, pinkeepers and postcards.
Owner Kerry Leslie keeps our Novice group and round robins running smoothly.  At any given time, there are from twenty to thirty round robins going.  Members suggest themes, and participants sign up for whatever intrigues them.  In addition to a standard round robin, where every person makes a single large piece (a block, a purse front, whatever), we have a DYB round robins.  DYB stands for “Do Your own Block”.  In this version, every participant makes six 6” blocks (usually with the intention of grouping them together later in a wall-hanging or the like).  

As these pass through the round robin, each person selects and completes one full block.  The results are usually stunningly creative!   Kerry also hosts the Build-a-Seam, a regular feature showing a new stitch.  Members can try it on their own and post their own interpretations.  It’s a great way for members to expand their embroidery skills.

 Block using learned seams by Ritva Peltola, Finland

Hideko is the editor of our monthly newsletter, which keeps the membership informed of what’s happening in CQI.   She also spotlights one or two members in the newsletter.  Hideko does a marvelous job of this and also assists Kerry run the Novice site.

Cathy Kizerian maintains the blog (the one you’re reading now, LOL), the CQI Challenge, and the group site home pages where “cover girls” are chosen monthly and their work is exhibited for all the world to see!  

The CQI Challenge is an ongoing program for all members.   Each month, a different theme or technique is introduced.   Examples of past challenges include Landscapes & Texture, Paisleys, Dimensional Embroidery, Dyeing, and Layering Stitches.   Participation is on a voluntary basis.  A photo album is provided in which to upload pictures of members’ work (which later becomes a visual reference for the group).  A monthly random drawing is held to award a prize to one of the participants. 

 Left:  Paisley by Dakotah Davis, Kansas, US

This year, our third annual retreat, September Stitch Shenanigans will be held at a beautiful lodge in Estes Park, Colorado from September 29 – October 3, 2010.    We’ll stitch, shop, learn, share, play games and have lots of fun.  And this year, all four moderators will be there; even Hideko will be coming from Japan!!    

 You are more than welcome to join in the fun.  There are a handful of openings left  for the Retreat, and the price is VERY economical.   If you think you might be interested, drop Leslie an email at, and she can let you know the details.
   Carolyn from Texas plays at 2009 Retreat

We’d love to have you join us at CQI; a membership button is in the column at the top right.  Or come join us in Colorado in September.    At the very least, we’d love to have you follow our blog (and we’ll be announcing a contest for followers and readers shortly).  Stay tuned.

We hope to “see you” around!


gocrazywithme said...

Well done, Cathy!

Gerry said...

Very nice, Cathy!

kerrykatiecakes2 said...

Great job Cathy!

kerrykatiecakes2 said...

Great job Cathy!

Mosaic Magpie said...

I know that blogger, that wrote this great article. I wondered what CQI was all about and now I know.

Mary-Frances said...

What a great summary of a wonderful group - you're all inspirational gals!

Jacque said...

The beautiful work of this group makes my heart sing. Crazy Quilters are a special breed and our moderators are leaders of the pack. I've learned so much in such a short time.