Tag Archives: improvisational

Crumb Quilting: Crazy or Improvisational?

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:

  1. Sew a straight line to join two tiny pieces of fabric together. Press the seam to one side, doesn’t matter which one.
  2. Repeat #1 until you have a small pile of two-fabrics together (2’s)
  3. Sew two those new pieces you’ve made out of two fabrics together. Press. Now you have some 4’s.
  4. Repeat #3 until you have a small pile of four-fabrics together (4’s)
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. Use the cut-off leftovers to start the next block.
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