Help wanted! If you’re making trees please send them my way by January 20th, 2016. Thanks guys.
Here’s a little tutorial for the treeline border blocks my friends and I are making for the turtles quilt. This quilt has been a collaboration from the start so it makes sense for this last bit to be made by many artists as well. If you want to help out and make one, I’d love that! As you can see from the last photograph I’ll need a lot of them to make it all the way around.
You’ll need some medium/dark greens and light blues for this 8 x 11.5″ block. This can be as scrappy or not as you’d like it to be. Use one green and one blue or a bunch of ’em.
Four 4″ green squares
Four 4″ blue squares
One to four strips of blue 1.5″ wide which add up to 40″ in total length
Time to make some half-square triangles. Mark the diagonal line on each of the blue pieces. Sew them, right sides together, to the blue pieces on either side of the marked line. So, you’re going to get two half-square triangles out of each one. I like to chain-piece these, sewing 1/4 inch to the left of the marked line and then flip ’em to sew 1/4 inch to the right of it.
Cut right down that marked line. Press ’em to the dark side and now you have 8 half-square triangles. Sew them into sets. You’re making a larger triangle shape with each one now. Press.
Decide which piece will be the top of your pine tree. Set that one aside. Cut the other three by measuring 2.75″ from the bottom. Chop the tops off at that point and discard.
Stack the pieces together and sew ’em up. Hello little tree! Border on all sides with the blue strips you cut and then trim the whole block down to 8 x 11.5 inches. This block is my own design. No need to worry about super-precise piecing on this one.
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.