Crumb Therapy

Have you ever had one of those weeks where you need a project to sink your teeth into otherwise the stress will tip you over!?  Well this was one of those times and I’ll skip the details but suffice it to say that things are more settled now and it truly does take a village sometimes!  I needed some mindless sewing this week and after making a pink string quilt at the start of last week, crumb blocks were in order.  Luckily, I am never without fabric scraps, so getting started was simple.  I’m calling this crumb therapy!

What are crumb blocks?  Well, they are blocks made up of lots of tiny pieces of scrap fabrics.  You just grab a bin of scraps, sit and sew every size shape of fabric side by side to form larger sheets of fabric. Some people call these crumb and others call them “slab” or crazy quilt blocks.  To me, crazy quilt blocks are where you use all different colors at the same time in one block.  I went with solid colored blocks because I know that these will be easier for me to later apply in a design.  I learned a great deal and continue to discover things as I play with different layouts for these blocks.  I wrote my tips below so that I’ll remember for next time and maybe to help someone else wanting to attempt this.

My plan was to start with just the color that I had most of at the time, the pink.  Well, sure enough, I couldn’t stop and then dragged out the scrap bins for other colors, stopping with blue, green and pink, along with the orange.  Ok, I didn’t really stop there, because then I realized the need for some low-volume cream colored blocks and had to make some of those.

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I love the frog fabric, that last scrap of lime green Sweetwater fabric from decades ago, and of course my most favorite “chicken soup prescription” low volume fabric.

All total, I have 24 colored 10.5″ crumb blocks and 11 low-volume untrimmed blocks.  My plan is to make a cozy modern quilt with these, but my rough design isn’t yet complete.  I promise to show the final quilt when it’s completed.  I may have gotten the idea for this after reading posts from other quilters online.   Great minds think alike, so I jumped on the bandwagon?  I now have 35 blocks ready to become a lap quilt.

I will definitely be making these blocks again.  Hopefully, I won’t wait until a stressful week happens, but will dive in just for fun.  While I love that look of multi-colored crumb blocks when other people make them, mine often look like mush.  However, I think I’m getting the hang of this now and may not be able to stop.  I will definitely attempt this again at some point with a simple two or three-colored block and see how that works.  My tips for next time are listed below.

Meanwhile, I hope to show you the completed quilt this weekend before long but no promises.

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My tips for making crumb blocks are here.

  1. When your scrap bins are multiplying and getting in your way, stop and make some crumb blocks to use them up.  Of course, you will never fully deplete your scrap supply but it’s a fun way to try!
  2. Keep to 1/4 inch seams or larger so that your pieces don’t pop up with later use of the quilt.
  3. Iron, press and starch like crazy as you go so that your blocks remain as flat (and stiff) with as little creasing as possible.
  4. This is a time to use all those precious scraps of favorite fabrics.  I like to toss in a novelty print here and there for fun.
  5. Decide in advance if you want to sew free form “slabs” to use later or to cut each slab into one uniform block size.
  6. If choosing one uniform block size, make sure it is larger than at least 8″ or you will find too many blocks to deal with.
  7. If sewing low volume slab blocks, add in a 1-2 colored scraps in each block for added interest.
  8. Keep sewing fabric pieces next to fabric pieces.  When you have two larger ones to connect, stack them with the connecting edges on top of one another, right sides together.  With a rotary cutter, at the same time, slice a tad off and straighten the connecting edges with a rotary cutter.  You will have a straight edge on both pieces now and can sew them perfectly together.
  9. An online quilter just made an amazing suggestion to try next time.  Sew your blocks on top of a sheet of very thin, soft interfacing with the glue side up.  Of course, this would mean you can’t iron as you go, so flatten pieces beforehand.  This will give extra support to any seams that might creep open.  If you use this method, then skip tip #3 and don’t press or iron until the block is all done, or else you’ll get a messy iron.
  10. Look online for many ideas on ways to use these blocks.  The list is endless.
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21 responses to “Crumb Therapy

  1. Pingback: Marceline Gaylor·

  2. I love crumb blocks and yours look fantastic 😍 thanks for linking up at Orphan Block Odyssey
    adventurousquilter.blogspot.com

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  3. Your blocks are so bright and vibrant! I’m excited to see how you will pair them with the low volume blocks and bring it all together.

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    • thanks for the compliment and for visiting. I have a plan now and just need time to sew them together. I promise to keep you posted.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I love making crumb and string blocks. They seem to go so fast, but no matter how many I make, my scraps seem to multiply faster than the blocks. Your blocks look like they will make a pretty quilt.

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    • Thank you for visiting my blog and leaving such a nice comment. I also am kind of getting obsessed with string and crumb blocks. I agree with you that the scrap bins never empty. If I only had more time to sew!

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    • Thank you for visiting and leaving such a compliment! I would love to see your blocks. I hope to try some multi colored ones soon. Then I saw some spiral log cabin scrap blocks and those may be calling me as well!

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    • Thanks. I think I now have an arrangement for them. The guys here will be watching football soon so maybe i’ll get a chance to sew the top together. We shall see. Thanks for stopping by and visiting my blog.

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    • King Size!?? You are brave. I can see how this process is quick and rewarding though! I could keep on making crumb blocks and may just need to start another batch when this top gets finished.

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    • Taming is a good way to put it! I would love to see more completed crumb quilts online for inspiration, however I have an idea for mine now. II also love scrappy way more than any other quilt design. I think it’s how quilts were really meant to be!

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    • I don’t exactly know what crumb size is for most people, but for me, less than 2″ square is probably too small. I admit to using some stash for the low volume squares so perhaps that’s cheating. I keep hearing about dog bed stuffing. Do you make the beds as well, or just donate the filler?

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