Quilts from Crumbs, making beautiful quilts with the smallest scraps

From the article "Crumbs to Quilts". Made entirely with crumb blocks.Welcome to the last installment in my scrap quilting series.  In my first article I discussed turning your random scraps into valuable precuts leaving the tiny pieces left over as crumbs.  If you haven’t seen it, be sure to check out my previous article: “What Am I Supposed To Do With All These Scraps?”.  These tiny bits very often end up in the trash destined for the land fill.  What a terrible waste! I hope that this article will inspire you to create beautiful art with these tiny treasures.

I thought of 3 types of quilts that could be made with these crumbs: Miniature Quilts, Micro-Miniature Quilts and Crumb Quilts. and I will write briefly about each one.

MiniatureMiniature 4 Patch QuiltQuilts, sometimes called Small Quilts are generally less than 24” on any side.  The quilt to the right is simply a smaller version of a regular disappearing 9 patch using 1 ½” squares.  It was quick and easy, but I learned that an EXACT ¼” seam is a lot more important in a miniature quilt than it is in a regular quilt.  I can either admit to stretching the fabric in order to get the corners to line up, or pretend that I meant for the blocks to be a little wonky.  So, here is my deliberately wonky quilt! The colors were organized in a roughly radiating pattern with the yellow orange, just left of center being the focus.

I used the lengths of fabric which are too short for string quilts and made these pot-holders.  The perfect hostess gift!  I show step by step how to make these cute little leaves in the latest issue of the newsletter.  It’s not too late to sign up

I then made this original (9“ X 11 ½”) mini mosaic quilt.  I started by drawing a swirl pattern on a plain piece of printer paper.  Next, I took an 8 ½” X 11”sheet of “Steam-a-Seam” double stick fusible web.  This is like normal fusible web in that it is see through, but it has adhesive on both sides.  I took off the protective paper from one side of the fusible web Mini-Mosaic Quilt from the article Quilts from Crumbssheet and stuck it to the top of the paper with the drawn swirls.  I then removed the other sheet of protective paper.  I cut tiny rectangles of fabric (from 1/8” to ½”) and placed them on top of the web.  I could see the pattern through the fusible web and the glue on the top of the web made the little pieces of fabric stick.  Once the design was complete, I carefully peeled the fusible web off the paper with the pattern and put it back down on a beige piece of fabric to be the background.  A hot iron is needed to melt the fusible web and permanently stick the tiny pieces of fabric to the background.  I used the protective paper from the fusible web as a pressing cloth to be sure that the tiny slivers of glue between the pieces wouldn’t get on the iron.  I put the batting and backing on and quilted it with invisible thread following the swirls and making sure that I caught all of the little blocks.

Mini Prismatic Quilt, from the article on making quilts from small scrapsMicro Mini Quilts are a thing!  Who knew?  What a cool idea! You can give one to someone to keep as a reminder of how much you love them. You could pop one in a birthday card, or attach it to a Christmas present. Really small ones could be used as key fobs or zipper pulls.  These looked like just too much fun, so I decided to try making a couple myself.  I found this great free pattern for a Mini Prismatic Medallion quilt by Jamie Swanson (http://www.craftadream.com/pattern/)Miniature Star quilt from my article on making quilts from tiny scraps

In order to keep all the little pieces aligned, the micro-mini quilts I found were paper pieced.  I tried my hand at drafting my own little star quilt.  This little guy is 3” by 3” and took me less than an hour to make.  I can see how this could be really addicting.

Crumb Quilts are my favorite thing to do with these colorful bits of fabric.  I love to play with the colors and patterns to make my own unique fabrics!  And you can too!!

Assorted red and orange crumbsSample Crumb Block made with red and orang fabric. From my article Quilts from CrumbsI sort my crumbs by color and keep them in zipper bags. Think of them as tubes of paint that you can mix up to create the exact look you want. For the block here, I mixed fabrics from the red and orange bags to create something entirely new.  It is so much fun to use this new fabric in projects to a make them even more special.

Leaf potholder from my Crumb Quilt articleHere is an example of a leaf block I used for another pot holder (do you notice a theme?).  I don’t think it would be nearly as interesting or enjoyable to make if I had used a single piece of fabric.

Wall hanging made with crumb blocks from my article.I teach a workshop where you will learn how to think about your crumbs. Then I teach you my organized method to build beautiful crumb blocks.  You will combine your new fabric with a white background to make the Tulip Wreath wall hanging shown here.


Crumb blocks used in the Crumb Quilt.For the final quilt of this article, I decided to see if I could create an efficient color flow with crumb blocks.  I started with my bag of yellow scraps then started adding in more and more brown crumbs. Then I started adding orange then moved to red.  I was initially thinking of putting these blocks on a white background like the Tulip Wreath above, but then I looked at all the white and almost white crumbs that I had.  It occurred to me that using these to make the background fabric would make the quilt so much more interesting.

I made 5” crumb blocks then made Half Square Triangles by putting a light and dark blocks together, marking the center diagonal, and sewing ¼” on either side of the line. I then cut along the marked line to get two Half Square Triangle blocks.  These were then trimmed to 4 ½” square.

This beautiful quilt is made entirely of crumb blocks for my article "Quilts from Crumbs"As I put this on my design wall and started experimenting with layouts, I realized that I needed a “splash” color.  Going back to my Color Theory article, you can see that yellow, orange and red are analogous colors, with orange in the middle.  The compliment of orange is blue, so I made blue crumb blocks to use as accents.

I am also very pleased with how the light crumb background worked in this quilt.  If you look closely, the top half of the quilt has some very pale pinks in the background and the bottom half of the quilt has some very light yellows.

The quilt is 36” X 48” and shows what can be achieved by using crumb fabrics.  The color fade and effect you see in this piece would have been nearly impossible using any other method.

I hope that this article has inspired you to try making something with your tiniest scraps instead of throwing them out.  Or, at the very least, finding someone who would appreciate them instead of sending them to a land fill.  I have a confession to make.  Please don’t judge me, but I am that weirdo you see after you take a class, pulling tiny scraps out of the waste baskets.  Maybe now, I won’t be alone.

If you would like to see an entire article investigating any one of these quilt types, Miniature, Mini Mosaic, Micro-Mini, or Crumb Quilt, please let me know in the comments below.