I've received several emails recently regarding my use of Waste Canvas and stitching the seam embroidery on crazy quilts. One of the big concerns is that the manufacturers packaging recommends wetting the waste canvas to pull it out after the stitching is completed.
Wetting the waste canvas is not necessary and I do not recommend it for crazy quilting.
Waste canvas was designed years ago for working charted patterns on non-cross stitch fabric such as sweatshirts and tee shirts.
As many of my long time blog followers know, I am a retired professional counted cross stitch designer. I worked with many magazines and manufacturers such as The DMC Corporation, Bucilla, Kreinik and Zweigart.
I discovered modern crazy quilting about 10 years ago but struggled with keeping my seam embroidery evenly sized and spaced. I decided to apply my cross stitch skills to crazy quilting and tried using waste canvas for my seam embroidery. I was so pleased with the results that I eventually put the directions together in my Elegant Crazy Quilt Seam Treatments book and offered it as a PDF file download.
Early in 2011, I released Volume 2 of Elegant Crazy Quilt Seam Treatments which is also still available and contains another 180 charted patterns for crazy quilt seam embroidery. There are however, no directions in Volume 2. Only patterns.
Back to my discussion of working with waste canvas, the reason I don't recommend wetting the waste canvas is first, because in crazy quilting, we use many non-washable fabrics and we also use many hand-dyed threads and fibers that aren't washable. If these fabrics and threads get wet, thread colors may bleed and fabrics might be damaged.
8.5 count waste canvas and 10 count waste canvas threads pull out very easily from beneath the stitching without wetting it. The trick is to pull the excess waste canvas threads out, from around the outside of the stitched area first. Then, pull all the short (width) threads out from underneath the stitches and finally, the long (lengthwise) waste canvas threads will pull out very easily.
Waste canvas will only allow you to pull out one thread at a time so don't get in a hurry with it. Patience is necessary but the results are very worth the little bit of extra time it takes to use it. If you find you have a stubborn waste canvas thread, get yourself a pair of tweezers, grab the waste canvas thread as close to stitching as you can (without grabbing any of your stitches) and give it a gentle pull and it should release for you. If you're waste canvas thread breaks underneath your stitches, do not panic! Try pulling it out from the other side. If that doesn't work, try pulling the waste canvas threads out from another direction.
Honestly, it's much easier than you think. It probably sounds complicated and fussy but it really isn't! It's actually a lot of fun!
I am pleased to announce that there will be an Elegant Crazy Quilt Seam Treatments Volume 3 coming later in 2012. It will contain yet another 180 charted borders for crazy quilting and cross stitch samplers.
With all that said, working crazy quilt embroidery with waste canvas and charted borders opens a whole new world of seam treatment options! The possibilities for unique, embroidered borders are endless!
Both books are available only as PDF downloads. I send the files manually within 24 hours of receiving an order. Shipping fees are refunded via PayPal, also within 24 hours.
Before I run into town for errands, here is the progress on my latest Crazy Quilt Cat Doll: