My experience of crazy quilts and blocks is rooted in the traditional Victorian genre. At that time crazy quilts were for show, not function. They were a not-so-subtle display of a Victorian woman's wealth and needlework skills (which were valued more highly by the general public than is the case nowadays). So one of the first questions I asked myself was, "What if I use materials that are the direct opposite of what a Victorian woman would have used?" Instead of luxurious silks and velvets I would use vintage, thrifted, or salvaged textiles. In place of elaborate stitching I would keep my stitches and embellishments simple and humble. With that in mind I went through my stuff and unearthed this:
I think it must be some sort of dresser scarf. It's only about 11" x 15". I picked it up in a thrift store some time ago just because it appealed to me and it was cheap. I had no idea what I might do with it. (There's a goodly amount of that sort of thing in my closets and drawers.) My next 'what if' was, "What if I didn't cut this at all but used it as-is for the foundation of my block?" Seems reasonable; we'll give it a try.
Now, I don't particularly enjoy hand applique so I've never made a crazy quilt in the purely traditional style of appliqueing organic shapes onto a foundation. I'm all for rotary cut straight edges, especially if they're a bit wonky. So it will be a stretch for me to simply lay additional pieces of fabric on top of this foundation and stitch them down. I'm not planning to turn under any raw edges though. I want to experiment with raw edges and alternative seam treatments. Jude has come up with some wonderful ideas in her explorations that I want to try for myself.
So, here are my humble beginnings for a thrifted, salvaged, What If crazy quilt block (or quiltlet - who knows?): the dresser scarf, a machine embroidered scrap from a skirt I once owned, vintage rick-rack and embroidery floss. Stay tuned to see what else, if anything, makes it into my 21st century mini crazy quilt.
What if I began by cleaning up my work space so I have a little elbow room?!