Book Review: The Magic of Crazy Quilting by J. Marsha Michler

Standard I was a child, we took turns sleeping under a crazy quilt made by my great-grandmother. It was primarily black in color and weighed a ton. (I’m guessing the batting was old wool blankets.) My mother kept the quilt in the hall closet and it was always a treat to find it available for a night. For some reason, the sheer weight of the quilt made it comforting.

I think this is why I appreciate crazy quilts. The randomness of the fabric and the variety of stitching makes them very compelling. I’ve only ever made one crazy quilt, and I did all the stitching using my Janome. It was fun to make, but I don’t see another one in my future.

“The Magic of Crazy Quilting” (second edition) calls itself “A Complete Resource for Embellished Quilting.” As I looked through this book, I found it to be true. It would be a great reference for an experienced crazy quilter, or a wonderful textbook for a beginner.

The first chapter covers the basics of crazy quilting. There is a lot packed in these 30 pages, including how to set up your workspace, how to select fabric and colors, and how to do foundation piecing. A beginner should have no problem constructing a quilt if they follow these directions.

The second chapter is 40 pages long. It is directions for the many embroidery stitches that go into a crazy quilt, including the traditional spider and web. The illustrations are very good and this chapter contains a lot of stitches.

Chapter 3, which is 50 pages long, covers embellishments. Pretty much everything but the kitchen sink can be added to crazy quilts. This chapter covers how to add antiques, beads, ribbons and felt, as well as painting and stenciling. Once again this chapter is very comprehensive.

Chapter 4 gives directions for several small crazy quilting projects, including a necklace, a pillow, and a vest. These projects didn’t really excite me, but they certainly work as a way to practice your skills.

Chapter 5, called “Finishing Touches,” crams a lot into 6 pages. This chapter describes how to make borders and how to finish the quilt. I did like that the directions included how to add a ruffle to a quilt, something that I haven’t seen elsewhere.

The book concludes with a gallery of crazy quilts, as well as directions on how to make them.

Overall I think this is a wonderful book for anybody interested in making crazy quilts. It is available from


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