I often find that the best way for me to try something new is on a small scale. The most recent is crumb quilting.
If you’re new to the idea, crumb quilts are made by sewing small pieces of fabric together. You’re probably thinking “Isn’t that how every quilt is made?” This is a little different, because there is no pattern to follow. You just keeping sewing bits together until it’s the size you need.
This technique goes against everything I believe in. It’s random and messy, two rides I don’t usually go on if I can avoid it. Yet somehow I found it oddly freeing and almost therapeutic.
Honestly, it’s probably not something I will do often, but I could see myself giving it another go when I’m feeling like I need an artistic outlet.
To make this mug mat you need:
tiny fabric scraps (measuring more than 1/2” wide and tall)
When I started this project, it was going to be a pincushion, but as I worked I realized it would be difficult to push the pins in with all those seams. It’ll be cute on my desk anyway.
To begin, sew a few pieces together in pairs with 1/4” seams. Press the seams to one side.
Continue adding pieces, making sure each seam is straight. That might involve some trimming.
This is a very freehand process, so you have to figure it out as you go.
You can start attaching sections together as you go.
This is where I noticed I had a deep hole developing in one of my sections. I refused to sew an Y seams, or any other shape that wasn’t straight, so I had to sacrifice some of the bits around it.
I sewed on a strip that was even with the highest point.
And then trimmed away the excess.
It’s important that the seams are straight so they’ll lie flat, so I trimmed some pieces before sewing on the next section, just to be sure I would accidentally veer off.
Is there some waste doing it the way I am? Yes there is. Would I ordinarily throw all these little bits in the trash in the first place? Also yes. Besides, if the pieces you cut off are large enough, you can sew them right back in somewhere else.
You need to keep piecing until you are able to cut out a 6 x 9” rectangle. In order to track how close I was, I marked off the size on my mat with blue painter’s tape.
I kept piecing sections and adding them together until the inner line of my tape from was covered.
Rather than move the piece and risk cutting off too much somewhere, I used my ruler and rotary cutter to cut it inside the tape frame.
I’ve never spent so much time sewing on something so small.
Stitch around about 1/8” from the edge so the seams don’t come apart during the next steps.
Cut the batting and backing fabric to 6 x 9”.
Lay out the batting. Add the top over that, right side up. Lay the backing right side down. Pin and stitch 1/4” from the edge, leaving 3” open.
Clip the corners. Turn right side out and press, turning in the opening. Stitch around close to the edge.
This is where it occurred to me that it would look really fun to follow each piece with some quilting. Then I laughed.
It would, but that just wasn’t happening on a little mug mat. Maybe a wall hanging. Maybe.
Instead I stitched a few wavy lines in each direction. It suits the craziness of the pieces.
You can see it a little better on the back.
This reminds me so much of the crazy quilts that were popular when I was a kid. And don’t we all need a little crazy once in a while?