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Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Tutorial: Fractured crumb blocks!

I was playing around with some scraps, when I discovered this new way to use crumb blocks! 

I had made a few blocks and put them on my design wall, with the idea of sashing each little block with a solid fabric and making a small quilt.  These were my starting blocks:
please excuse my design wall, it's covered with strings, pins and lint!

*Note* You'll see me using "square" and "block" interchangeably in this tutorial... they're the same to me!

Make some crumb blocks from small scraps/crumbs; try to use more than just strings and strips, I think odd-shaped pieces give your crumb blocks character!  For a great tutorial on making crumb blocks, check out Bonnie's tutorial on crumb piecing, and Victoria's tutorial on creating "made" fabric.  Just keep piecing until your blocks are approximately 5 inches wide or tall - try for an even number of blocks.  I think a rectanglular shape works really well for this pattern. 

When the blocks are the size you want, trim to even up the sides.  You can make a few angle cuts to add interest but try not to have the angle too sharp, it'll be hard to work with in a later step.

Cut 2-1/2" sashing strips to add around the squares.  Just because it was handy, I used muslin but you can use regular white or off-white fabric.  Why 2-1/2" strips?  At this point I was still fooling around, but they seem to work! 

Add sashing to opposite ends of your squares.

At this point begin to pair up your squares, to see which two look nice together.  For now, just ignore the relative size of each square ... we'll deal with that later.  If they look good together, they're a pair!

**At this point I want to stop and point out something very important!  See the dingy surface the blocks on the right and in the photo above it are lying on?  That's my ironing board!  I hereby give each and every one of you permssion to show your stained ironing board cover in your blog posts.  Come on now... we all have stained pressing surfaces, let's not pretend we have a "good" ironing board cover that never gets grungy!  If you press using steam, sooner or later the combination of heat plus dripping water will cause staining, it's a quilty fact of life!  No quilt blocks will be harmed while using this surface.**

Now, back to my tut...

When your pairs are sorted and lying side by side, add another sashing strip to what you've decided is the  outside edge of each block.

Next, sew the pairs together along the raw, un-sashed side.  Don't try to match up the middles, they won't!
The pieced middles do not match - they aren't meant to!  That's an important design element; it's what makes this crumb block "fractured!" (See my grungy design wall?)

Decide whether you want a vertical or horizontal layout; for this tutorial, I'm going with horizontal.  Notice the uneven top and bottom edges ... this is the awkward part. 

Trim the inside edges of each block straight, then pair two of them together and sew.  Align them so that when they're lined up, you have as much sashing at the bottom and top as possible, because you'll have to even up those edges after sewing. 

Trim the bottom and top of each set, sew the rows together, then square up the outside edges.  I set my final blocks side by side, separated by the middle sashing strip.  Note that the sashing isn't a consistent width in the middle or on the sides - it doesn't need to be, this adds to the fractured look!  Add a border, quilt as desired.

Below is a closeup of my quilting; I wanted to continue the fractured look, so I quilted slightly curvy lines diagonally across the quilt.

Well, I hope you liked my tutorial!  I apologize for all the pictures but I thought they were necessary.  Wouldn't this make a lovely table runner?  And what if you paired three together instead of two? 

If you like the pattern and use it, please kindly link back to me, then let me know - I'd love to see what you've done!

Sew forth and sew on


  1. cool idea. I will have to try this - if I can remember with all that I have going on!

  2. Great job on the tutorial. I love the results of using the small pices left over from cutting up fabric.

  3. I have leftover scrappy backing trimmed from the quilt that is currently getting its binding.

    Wanted to do something with the scraps (too cool and too many to waste) and this is a perfect way to calm the chaos of the colors.

    Will link back when I post -- thanks for sharing your idea!

  4. I like the way this looks. I may have to try this one of these days. Thanks for the tute.

  5. Nice. Last year I got obsessed with 'made fabric' and 'crumb blocks' and now I have TONS of them. I made a very nice squares with sashing quilt for my son but these suckers are multiplying. NOW I can try this. Perfect...and thanx!

  6. Great quilt idea and thank you for the tutorial. My ironing board is a disgusting colour too ;-)

  7. Great Tut! Another way to use up all my scraps.

  8. Very cool idea! Thanks so much for sharing!


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