Crazy creative: How one local crafter uses fabric scraps to make projects getting noticed by the quilting industry

By Rebecca Long Pyper

 Crafters know those pesky fabric scraps can overtake a project space in no time, but rather than brush hers into the trashcan, BJ Sandusky stitches them into custom quilts that are winning her accolades in the craft world.

 Sandusky is featured on the cover of the May issue of “Crazy Quilt Quarterly,” the only publication dedicated to the art of crazy quilting. She is also gearing up for a two-part basic crazy-quilting class she’ll teach at Pocatello Art Center June 20 and 27 and is prepping for classes she’ll offer this fall with New Knowledge Adventures (link at end).

 “Taking a class such as what I offer can get a newbie started right. I then can help you not only with embroidery stitches, but ribbon embroidery and beading. I can point you in the direction of many other artists, books and Web sites out there,” she said.

 Doing a little research can help too. Sandusky’s Pinterest board is set up for students to figure out what styles they like best and to inspire future projects. She also writes a blog — — where she shares current works.

 Crazy quilting has been around since the Victorian era. Quilters build their quilt — no pattern necessary — by attaching randomly sized pieces of fabric to a muslin foundation. Next up is a layer of embellishments — think embroidery, beads, laces and more. Traditional fabrics are fancy and include velvets, satins and silks, but crafters today like to incorporate cottons and batiks too.

 Really, crazy quilting is a misleading name for what Sandusky does because she makes more than quilts. She’s fashioned tree skirts and stockings, wall hangings and purses. But the hobby has roots in her childhood, when by age 10 she had already fallen in love with embroidery “but wanted to do more than just pillowcases,” she said. She fell in love with the look of crazy quilts in the late 1960s but did not create her own until 1997.

 Crazy quilts are a good bet for any kind of quilter, from beginners to those with less dedication to precision. “Since there are no rules and no mistakes in crazy quilting, there is no such thing as a ‘bad’ crazy quilter,” Sandusky said. “Each artist develops their own style, and all have great skills and beautiful eye candy for the rest of us to enjoy. The more embellishment you put on your work, the better it looks.”

  Get more information about Sandusky’s classes through New Knowledge Adventures at

Crazy-quilt enthusiast BJ Sandusky shares some of her work, created by piecing together scraps of fabric. Photo by Jenny Losee

Crazy-quilt enthusiast BJ Sandusky shares some of her work, created by piecing together scraps of fabric. Photo by Jenny Losee


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