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Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Create backgrounds w/crumbs

We're always looking for new ways to use up our scraps, including those tiny pieces that are even too small to qualify as scraps - crumbs!  Here's how I used some of my crumbs as a background for a small quilt, inspired by this picture. 

First I grabbed some crumbs and scraps in the same color family for the background, blue in this case. 

Depending on the look you're going for, you might want to stick within the same color range - light or medium or dark. For this little project, it didn't really matter though - I wanted the impression of a sky with "something" going on in the background. I found a couple longish strips and started sewing on the crumbs at random until the strips were filled, then I pressed towards the small pieces. Note: When I sewed these, I wasn't overly concerned about the few bias edges, they got caught up, or stabilized, in the next round! 

small pieces on a strip
The strips were cut apart into pairs  
and the pairs were combined into larger groups until I had decent sized pieces...
At this point there's no hard and fast rule about the size, or how many pieces you combine; you're just looking to make pieces (or blocks) that you can attach to other pieces.  It helps. though, if you keep aiming for a square or horizontal shape.

Can you see my pins?  I placed them horizontally along the seam line rather than perpendicular - for me this makes the edges more stable while I'm sewing.  Of course, they're removed before the needle gets to that point!  I continued joining in this way until I had a background the approximate size I wanted,

then I trimmed it down to the final size and my background was pieced!   

And now for the foreground.  I made a pattern of the pig's face and cut a quarter circle for the sun.  Hmmm... leaves or not? Yes, definitely leaves to balance out the sun on the other side! 

I did raw edge applique on the entire piece, including the small areas of the leaves. To make the pebbled wall, I layered the fabric onto a piece of batting and filled the area with continous different-sized loops. I cut the wall along some of the larger circles to give it a ragged appearance, then I applique'd it down along the top edge.  Pin the wall or use spray adhesive to hold in place, then quilt as desired.

So here's Petunia, peeking over a stone wall, with her curly pink tail in the air! 

I used buttons for her tail; I could also have embellished with bugs, butterflies, wiggly worms, whatever... or I could have extended the leaves down the wall... but I wanted to keep this one simple.

Here's another one I did, using yellow crumbs to make the background for a larger quilt;

you can see the finished piece here.  One note though ... if you're making a large quilt, I'd try to use larger pieces for the background, else all those seams might create a challenge when you go to quilt it.  Just saying.

Here's another small one I made of a water bearer, using leftover yellow pieces from the quilt mentioned above. 

In my opinion, she doesn't need anything else except binding; the many shades in the yellow background have enough movement and texture! 

Thanks for reading, I hope you enjoyed my tutorial!
Sew forth and sew on til later


  1. Wow, Thanks that was explained beautifully. I'll have to give that a try.

  2. It's always nice to revisit a project - besides, I just love Petunia!

  3. That was a very helpful tutorial, and something I definitely want to try in the very near future. Thanks for including it!

  4. I love your approach. I have not tried applique although my grandmother did lots of applique quilts.

  5. I have a ton of scraps and your tute inspires me to make a story quilt for my sister. Years ago, she gave me a book on story quilts. Thanks!


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