My sewing machine and iron are getting a mini-break so I can write this post. I’ve been sewing at all hours of the day… on all kinds of projects. I’m in one of those moods where I don’t want to work on one thing for very long. So I end up doing a little bit on a dozen different projects.
One of those projects last week was for an online quilting challenge. It’s called Project Quilting and here’s how it works. A challenge is posted and you have one week to make a finished quilt fitting the challenge. Here’s what I made for the string quilt challenge:
I’m not in love with it. It’s a completed project (yay) that was done in time to enter into this contest (yay) but it isn’t anything special. I played with pinked edges and batik scraps but kind of shrugged and wondered where to put this thing when I finished. I think it’ll be donated as a doll quilt.
There are lots of prizes with this contest. First, there’s a vote. Whichever project is the favorite wins first prize. After that, there are random drawings. Guess what?!?!?! I won one of those prizes! I’m that upside-down name under number 5. What did I win? Money towards long-arm quilting. Ho boy am I excited!
It’s lucky to win, but impossible to win if you don’t enter in the first place. Not everything you do has to be spectacular but it’s good practice to just keep making stuff. Make, make, make!
Since the beginning, I’ve categorized my crumb quilts as crazy quilting. And looking at them, you can see why. Visually there’s a lot in common with crazy quilts…. at least initially.
I’ve changed my mind. It isn’t crazy quilting. Crazy quilts use many kinds of fabrics, showcase embellishments, and are usually foundation pieced. My crumb quilting has much more in common with improvisational piecing, which is a modern approach to creating shapes without using patterns or templates. Here, let me show you. This is an improvisational pieced block that I made for a recent group challenge.
I just cut and sewed things together in straight lines, over and over, until I liked the shapes it made and the overall look. It’s regular machine piecing. That’s what I do with crumb blocks, just on a smaller scale. Here is the back of a crumb block in progress. See?
This little epiphany will help me explain my process more clearly to others. Though the finished project may look similar to a crazy quilt, that’s not how you get there. Improv. piecing is a completely different way to do things. No wonder I was getting so many confused looks! Here’s how to do it:
Sew a straight line to join two tiny pieces of fabric together. Press the seam to one side, doesn’t matter which one.
Repeat #1 until you have a small pile of two-fabrics together (2’s)
Sew two those new pieces you’ve made out of two fabrics together. Press. Now you have some 4’s.
Repeat #3 until you have a small pile of four-fabrics together (4’s)
Sew the 4’s together. Press. Repeat until you have a big enough piece for whatever you’re making. My large quilt has 3.5″ squares.
Square it up! It’s going to be a weird shape after all that work so take your ruler and rotary cutter and cut it to the size you want.
Use the cut-off leftovers to start the next block.