Piecing a Crazy Quilt Block

Barbara Blankenship © 2010

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In this issue you will find a number of articles written especially for the beginning crazy quilter. In this article I will share my technique for piecing a crazy quilt block. My approach is somewhat different, and I hope you will find it as simple and enjoyable as I do.

Begin with a piece of muslin two inches larger than the size of the project you are working on. For example, if you want a 12” finished block cut your muslin 14” and piece the entire area. Embroidered seams and embellishments often make your finished block smaller. With this additional area you will be able to square your finished block to a perfect 12”.

Cut a five-sided piece of “fancy” fabric (silk dupioni, brocade, velvet, etc.) Place this piece, right side up, onto the muslin square a little off center and pin.

Choose one side of this first piece to add your second piece of fabric. With wrong side up, pin into place.

I find it easy to use my ruler and mark a straight sewing line to follow. After marking your line stitch, flip and press this piece.

This photo shows how I mark my angles and trim along those lines. Most crazy quilters do not piece in this manner, but I find it easier and have always done my piecing in this way.

You will work counter clockwise around your original five-sided piece adding pieces three, four and five. After stitching each piece you will flip and press. Mark your angles after adding each new piece and trim.

In the next photo you will see your angles cut and prepared for adding your fourth piece of fabric.

This photo shows your fourth piece of fabric with the seam marked and ready to stitch, flip and press.

We have now made our counter clockwise circle around the original five-sided piece. You will mark and cut your angle and prepare for adding your next piece.

You will continue to work counter clockwise.

When you are adding a piece that will extend beyond the muslin square, I find it easier to flip the entire piece and cut the fabric along side the muslin back. Always press and smooth your piece before doing this.

Notice the burgundy piece with the black dots.

Follow the photos and see how I’ve slipped that piece under the preceding one. I’ve also left the raw edge with the frayed edge as it is. I like the effect it lends and will add stitching below the fringed area to anchor that piece in place. I have turned under a seam allowance and pinned that piece. I will blind stitch it in place.

We are almost finished with our block. All that’s left is attaching the two remaining corners.

This photo shows our completed block.

Press the block on the front and back. I love using the Teflon pressing sheet made by BoNash; it is available in most quilt shops.

When you use this pressing sheet you don’t have to worry about your iron being too hot and discoloring your fabric. It leaves your seams flat and perfect for adding your embroidery, embellishments and silk ribbon work.

Since I do lots of marking before stitching my fabrics into place, I’m always interested in products that mark on fabric. In the majority of cases I’m marking on the reverse side, so a pencil works great. Clover sells a wonderful white marking pen for marking on the dark fabrics. Simply mark your seam, and in several seconds the line will turn white. An added feature of this pen is being able to iron away the mark.

I hope you will find these directions easy to follow. Gather those fancy fabrics and begin your project today; you won’t be disappointed! Be sure and read all the articles in our “Back to Basics” series. You will want to embellish your beautiful block.

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