Saturday, July 7, 2007

Crumb Chaos blocks - a photo tutorial

Now that I've finished with my orphan tops I'm back to making Crumb Caos blocks. I think I have enough crumbs and odd-ball width strips to make several quilts with these blocks. I'm afraid it's going to take a while to empty these tubs!

Several people have expressed a desire for a step-by-step tutorial on these blocks, so I took pictures of my progress this weekend. Please let me know if you still have questions!

Start with a bunch of strips of various widths plus crumbs, which are small pieces of fabric. Square and rectangular crumbs are the easiest to use, but you can also use odd shapes as long as you leave enough space between crumbs so you can cut the edge at an angle. Put a strip face up on the bed of your machine and start sewing crumbs along the strip. When you get to the end of the strip add another strip, chain sewing them all together. You can also use leftover triangle squares, flying geese, ends of strata, etc. along with your crumbs. Butt the crumbs together very closely so you need make only one cut when cutting them apart.



When you've chained a bunch of strips take them to the ironing board. Press the seams to one side - I like to press toward the long strip even though it's easier to press in the other direction.

When you've pressed all the crumb-strips take them to the cutting table. Cut the strips between each crumb.
Now you have a bunch of larger crumb pieces. Repeat the process all over again, sewing these to new strips. You can go around log cabin style, sew parallel seams or whatever you feel like doing. I place the big crumbs on the new strips in as many different directions as possible. I don't pay any attention as to which fabrics are next to other fabrics.

Once again, when all are stitched to strips, repeat the pressing and slicing apart. Some blocks will grow faster than others because the crumbs used are bigger. As you run out of large multi-piece crumbs start over adding small crumbs to the strip until you reach the end.

Continue doing this until your pieces are large enough to trim into the size block you desire. I'm doing 6 1/2" unfinished blocks as I like this size block - not too big or too small. Trim the blocks to size and repeat again and again until you have the number of blocks you want for your quilt. These can be set in any way you like, just like any other blocks.
Like string blocks, these are very addicting to make. They are called Crumb Caos blocks because they are so random and unplanned. They are also very quick to make. The first time I made them I think I made 25 or more blocks in one afternoon of sewing.

Enjoy, and post your blocks on your blog for us all to see!

75 comments:

Mrs. Goodneedle said...
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Fiona said...

I'm amazed - I never knew that was how they were constructed - what a fabulous tutorial, thanks!

Libby said...

Thanks for sharing that! I know lots of people who will be interested :O)

Dawn said...

Simply amazing! I thought they would be too dull that way - and look it! They are so cool!

Jorja's Nanna said...

Hi, I found you via the Stashbuster email site. That is a fabulous idea. Thanks so much for sharing.
I will return to your blog again.
Cheers for now,
Jenny (aka Jorja's Nanna)

kathy said...

Thanks for posting this idea. Sometimes I just want to sew and not think too hard about what I'm doing, a perfect project for that!

pamina said...

Thank you very much for this tutorial, a very good way to use scraps !

mereth said...

Thanks for the tutorial, I need to try this someday and you've made a good job of explaining it. I'd love to get rid of all my bits like that.
The sewing room makeover sounds as if it will be great fun, no wonder you're looking forward to it!

Charlene said...

Now I get it. Seeing how its done is sometimes easier than reading directions. Great looking quilt. I'm definetly going to have to try that.

Quilting Pirate said...

what a great tutorial!!! I have no clue how to use up my scraps! This is sooooo perfect!! Thank you!

QuiltingFitzy said...
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Nan said...

Patti! I have missed you! Thank you so much for the tutorial. I am definitely going to try this, as I have a TON of fabric pieces that are crying out to be used.

GO MARINERS!!!!!!!!

Julia said...

Thanks, I have heard about this technique, but never really knew how it was done. Looks fun!!

Elaine Adair said...

Wow - great tutorial - I have been wondering what that term meant, but I had the idea it was from a book/gotta buy it, etc. This is so cool, from a gal who is ALWAYS tring to use up her old stuff! (honestly, after a while, you'd think it would be gone!)

You are one organized gal - congratulations on your tidy closets.

Juliann in WA said...

This is such a great idea and a wonderful way to use up scraps. And the outcome is so pretty.

ForestJane said...

I want to try this someday... thanks for the tutorial!

swooze said...

Thanks for the tutorial. I usually can follow written directions but the pictures make it a lot easier!

Helen in the UK said...

Great tutorial - love how your blocks look set next to each other. I've made this type of block before and cut them a bit 'wonky' and set them with sashing which works well too. Great stashbuster :)

Kathy Wagner said...

Great stashbuster idea! Thanks for explaining the process and showing us with photos how you sew these blocks. I want to try to make one, but won't have any time until the fall.

Tracey @ozcountryquiltingmum said...

Right up my alley, fabulous tutorial, thanks heaps, Tracey

Sarah Jayne said...

I've always wondered how that worked. Thanks for taking the time to share it with us.

Lynda (Granny K) said...

What a fabulous result! I love it, can't wait to try your method. Thank you for showing us.

loulee1 said...

What a pretty top! Maybe one day I'll have a scrap pile big enough to do something like this. Thanks for the tutorial.

Mary said...

Thanks for the tutorial! And here I have been sewing tiny scraps to tiny scraps, your method is way fatser!

Holly said...

Great tutorial. I had no idea it would be that easy.

Jeanne said...

Great tutorial with pictures! I've done with before and you explained it very well.

Judy said...

Thanks Patti! I thought I could figure it out myself but the way you explained it made it so very simple and much easier than how I thought to sew them!

Andrea said...

Well I never ! What a great way to use up scraps - I will have to have a rummage through my scrap drawer ! Thanks for the idea .

Samantha said...

thanks for sharing- that looks like fun!

MARGO said...

great tutorial

Dordogne Clare said...

Brilliant tutorial - thanks.

Belém said...

Thanks for sharing this wonderful tutorial.

YankeeQuilter said...

I love how these blocks just seem to come together with so little stress! Thanks for the tutorial...

Nichole said...

I love that you posted this tutorial! I am a new quilter wondering if I should just throw away my mess ups and left over pieces- little did I know, there is actually a use for them. How exciting! Thanks! :)

Carla said...

Thanks for this awesome pic tutorial. I just went to a quilting class tonight, and I couldn't bring myself to throw away the scraps, so I have tons of crumbs. I'll try this sometime soon hopefully! Not enough time to get it all done, but I'm going to keep trying. LOL!

Anonymous said...
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Day-Day said...

I love this idea and can't wait to sart using my scraps.Thanks from Dale in Australia

J. said...

Holy cow! Thank you!!!! I can't wait to show this to my new 11 year old sewer!

ldahospud said...

Wow! Thanks for posting this! It's making me want to pull a bunch of crumbs out of my wastebasket--I'd been congratulating myself on getting squares and strips cut, but this looks like a blast!

amandajean said...

thanks for sharing the tutorial. I will definitely be trying this.

MJ in Michigan said...
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Judy said...

Love how YOU chose to write how YOU did these. Don't dare remove them. They are great for all of us!

Dina said...

Thanks for sharing, I am a begginner quilter, and some times I am so afraid that things don't get right, this way looks so easy... thanks a bunch

Anonymous said...

I love your tutorial. It is well explained. I have been doing crumb blocks for years now and do basically the same thing you do except that if I have small pieces the same size and different fabric, I piece them together first, then start adding them to the long strips. I have made dozens of quilts for charity with crumb blocks using various settings. They are very addicting and good therapy, too.
Ann

mamacrafty said...

I just found this in Jan 2008! A friend from Aussie told me about this site. Thank-you for the great step by step demonstartion! It was inspirational.

Kay said...

You have made my day! This is sooooo cool! The Scottish part of my heritage is doing flip-flops! Thank you, thank you, thank you.
Kay in 08055

speedyqltr said...

I love this idea. It would sure give me a reason to get rid of the ever growing pile of bits in the middle of my sewing table!

Just one question......the strips that you start with that are used to sew the "crumbs" to.......are they also scrap leftover from projects, or do you cut them specifically for this?

Great tutorial, I'm one that needs to see things done, and I would have never gotten it without the pictures. Awesome job! Thanks!

Anonymous said...

This would make a great quilt for children if you have all those novelty fabric leftovers. Another idea to work on. LOL!

Melanie said...

Thanks for this great tutorial. I'm sure that I'm going to use this method! Melanie

Frogdancer said...

Got to tell you that I'm so excited to try this. New(ish) quilter... just 4 quilts so far to my credit, but already a big pile of scraps is growing.
Thanks so much for this... it looks like fun.

Ricki said...

Thanks to your wonderful tutorial, I have just completed my first quilt top EVER!

Thank you so very much for the clear pictures and words...I'm addicted :)

Nellie's Needles said...

Ah, so that's what this technique I've been doing for years is called. An article in an AQS magazine got me going. This scrap piecing method appeals to me because the colors and patterns get distributed nicely through several blocks.

I'm glad to know where to refer other people to see instructions for doing this. Thank you.

Suze said...

I got a ton of scraps from school. I found your tutorial through the sms forum. I used it to make two rugs so far and I'm working on a third. Thank you for sharing!

Anonymous said...

Hi, I just happened to find you all. I love the way you used up "SCRAPS"...I'll follow your lead now before I bury myself in my mountain of scraps. THANKS! Gwen B.(BC, Canada)

Magic said...

I love what you are doing...can you use upholstery material and what is backing for rug

Carol Jean / Lovethemsteiff said...

How lovely and fun! I want to try this for myself. Thanks for sharing, Carol Jean

M. Regina said...

Hello,Thank you very much for this tutorial, a very good way to use scraps !hugs from Brasil.

jake said...

I read your blog once before and was blown away by your instructions. I was so excited ! In my excitement I managed to delete your information.
Now over a year later I have discovered you again.
Thank you so much for shareing your methods. I am one very happy bunny. Jake. from deepest Kent. U.K.

Anonymous said...

What a great idea!!! Now I can use up buckets of scraps. Just found this blog. Thanks for the tutorial.
Marilyn from Alberta, Canada

kleiosbelly said...

I finally started work with the blocks I made following your technique. I've turned them into market bags instead of a quilt. You can see the results here:
http://kleiosbelly.wordpress.com/2010/01/08/scrappy-market-bags/

Thanks and happy crafting!

Lady Gem said...

Gotta love the Crumb Caos lol I sure did.

Karen said...

Thank you much for sharing the photos. We've been making these blocks for several years and incorporating them into crib sized quilts. Our quilts are given through our charity to families with premature or term newborns. We love scrap quilts so much that folks are prone to give US their scraps! You have just made it so easy for anyone to follow the photo directions!! Thank you , Karen for Faith, Hope and Charity Stitches, Inc. {www.fhcsinc.ws}

Anonymous said...

I love this idea! I never save "crumbs" but you can be sure I will save them now and I can hardly wait to make my first crumb quilt...thank you for an excellent tutorial.

Blue Ridge Mountains said...

I have saved "crumbs" for years in a large plastic clear jar. When it gets full I give it away at one of my guild meetings. First come, first serve. Now I can tell them about your blog and the wonderful tutorial for using the "crumbs. Thanks

MaryLu said...

I don't know if you check this post anymore, but I just completed my second Crumb Chaos quilt. I absolutely love them! I've posted pictures on my blog, feel free to check it out!
Thank you for such a great tutorial.

Sue said...

What a fantastic tutorial. Thank you so much for taking the time to create and post it. I'm going to start one this afternoon.

Anonymous said...

Hello, just found you after reading a post on stashmanicure.blogspot. I'm glad I came over. Thanks for the tutorial. You posted this years ago & it's obviously still relevant! Can't wait to get started on this one!!!!
P.S. you have some comments by "katty" and "kimberly" that are inappropriate, not quilt related and should be deleted.
Quilter in Texas.

emily said...

thanks for simplifying the process!...we are making crumb blocks for charity quilts and i wasnt " getting it"... a picture is worth a thousand words....:))

Jean said...

I just found your tutorial on using fabric crumb to make quilt blocks. I'm old, but i"ll bet I will get a few blocks done. Love the random way they seem to slip in together.

Frances said...

Just found this. Perfect timing as I just sorted through a whole bunch of "scraps" which are too good to throw away. I see a crumb quilt this fall ;~}

sparkle jars said...

Thank you for sharing such a great tutorial! :-)

Sharina said...

Thank you for this amazing way of using up bits and pieces I can see myself having a fun day of sewing all my bits together...I don't like to waste material.

Anonymous said...

thanks for share.

Anonymous said...

just stopping by to say hey

Vicki said...

This is a great tutorial! Thanks for taking the time to share. Have some small scraps but haven't been able to handle anything truly scrappy - my scrappy is pretty planned. Need to find and free my inner scrap personality? spirit? A nosy question - how many 'blogger fans' do you have? Any idea?