Agilejack’s Crumb Block Tutorial

Here it is! The long-awaited crumb piecing tutorial. There are some preliminary things I’ll cover here in this post, and then there’s a looong video, included below, to give you a look inside my crumb piecing brain.

I absolutely love crumb piecing. I find it almost meditative… sitting at my machine, matching small pieces of fabric to other small pieces of fabric, taking joy in lovely fabric combos in tiny pieces. It’s free form. It’s easy. There’s something about the quiet repetitiveness of it that is very calming for me. And after a few minutes at my sewing machine, I’ve created some really fun blocks or even a piece of fabric I can use to make something wonderful.

To get started, the first thing I did was dig into my big bucket of scraps and sort out some Kaffe Fassett Collective scraps that are perfect for crumb piecing.

 I decided to go with all KFC fabric scraps, but I’ve done crumb piecing before with only batik scraps. You can use any fabrics you like and mix and match any way you like. You could select fabrics from all one color family (like all reds, or all blues, etc…), you could do all black and white, or you could do all one color family with an occasional pop of a contrasting color thrown in.  

I pulled out some smaller pieces, anywhere from about 1.5×2 inches all the way up to 2.5 x 3 inches or so. Squares, rectangles, triangles, irregular shapes, they all work. I also pulled out some strips.

The video will show some good images of the type of pieces I’m using and how I piece them.

Once I had my pieces selected, I pressed them all and sorted them according to size and shape: larger pieces, smaller pieces, irregular pieces. Then I sat down at the sewing machine and got started.

Before you dive into the video, the one thing I want you to remember is that there are no rules in crumb piecing. Nothing has to line up, no seams have to match, no shapes have to be a particular shape. So relax, have some fun, sew some fabric together, and dive in!

Ok, I promised you that I’d show you some things that can be made with crumb piecing. So here we go.

This quilt is probably my favorite of all I’ve ever made. I haven’t had it quilted yet, but it will stay with me when it’s done. I made crumb blocks and squared them up to 8 inches and then added borders and sashing.

You can also use crumb piecing to make a bag. Either make the bag out of entirely crumb pieced fabric like this one…

Or use various sized crumb blocks like in these Frankenbags.

Here’s a deconstructed look at how you can incorporate crumb blocks in a bag:

I made this batik wall hanging out of crumb blocks.

I later cut this wall hanging into four pieces and made two Frankenbags. Here’s one of them.

I hope the video is clear. Let me know if you have any questions or need clarifications.

51 Replies to “Agilejack’s Crumb Block Tutorial”

  1. Hi Anne Love love love the tute! Thank you so much!!! Been doing crumbs for a while, or trying to, but what your tute and video have now done for me is to lay it out systematically, and show me the optimum points at which to start correcting for straight edges. Me, I’d just keep going until I reached a Point of No Return, ending up with great misshapen blobs that could no longer be put together, nohow.

    On a different topic, I’d like to offer you my thanks again, this time for your recent remarks about not doing commissions. You have captured my thoughts on this exactly. I only ever did ONE commissioned quilt. It was a very pretty quilt but it took me FIVE YEARS, because I so totally lost interest in the damn thing, for all the reasons that you have enunciated. I hated it, and will never, ever do another. Fortunately, the friend for whom I made it was extraordinarily patient, and politely said nothing about it in all that time, despite having chosen and paid for all the initial fabrics, and I know she was genuinely delighted to get it finally. (As was I, to see the back of it.) I couldn’t bring myself to charge her the agreed price for my labour, either, because it had amounted to such an astronomical sum that I didn’t have the nerve to even mention it, which probably helped us both to reach the whole amicable outcome. I just asked her to compensate me for the cost of having it professionally quilted, about two hundred dollars, which she was happy to do, and indeed she quietly and very graciously doubled it. But I think what I want to say to you about this is that what you said is really important. It indicates, and indeed vindicates, our right to regard our craft as also an Art. I mean, we all know that craftswomanship is required to do this Thing of ours and do it properly, but there’s also a big question of artistic freedom mingled in there, isn’t there? I’m not putting this well, I know, but dammit, we who work so joyously with design, colour and pattern are Artists, as well as Craftspersons, and we should all think of ourselves that way, not just those of us who do those rather pretentious pieces that nowadays get called “art quilts”!

    Kind thoughts Selma

    PS I think I may be going to weaken, quite soon, and have a go at making a Frankenbag. But I promise NOT to send you a photo…

    Sent from Mailhttps://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkId=550986 for Windows

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    1. I’ve read your comment several times and laugh every time… and also commiserate with your commission experience. I think the overwhelming emotion I get when doing commissions is sadness. There just isn’t much joy in a commission… and I hate being held to a timeline. I just don’t work that way.

      I think there area a lot of people who think we just love to shove fabric through a machine. These are the people who ask us to mend their jeans or make their Halloween costume. They don’t understand that it’s all a creative process.

      I’m do disappointed that you;re going to make a bag and NOt send me a photo! hahAHA!

      Anne

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  2. Whoa. That. Was. A. Terrific. Tutorial. Thank you so much! I made crumb pieces before I knew they were called that, but your method streamlines the process. I see now how I can make them faster and turn them into more useful shapes. Thank you for sharing your knowledge/process.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. the speed is critical for me! I love finding efficient ways to do things. the chain piecing of crumb blocks is brilliant! That combined with some prep and organization of your scraps and it goes really fast!
      Anne

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  3. Thanks so much for the crumbing video! Too cool 😎! Was hoping the boys would show up 😉. Love the crumb pieced bag , so pretty 😻. Hope y’all had a good 4th, luckily ours was not too noisy outside.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. My neighborhood is like a war zone on the fourth. Bender doesn’t mind the noise, but Rico hates it. He doesn’t freak out, he just gets sad and needs a lot of consoling. Luckily I haven’t heard any noise tonight.
      Anne

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  4. You got me hooked on crumb piecing when you first showed your crumb quilt on the blog while trying to decide on the sashing colors. I agree that this is by far the least amount of stress you can have while quilting. Its addicting on how freeing it is and I can’t stop doing it!! I use any scrap that’s at least 1″ wide! I love it. Thanks for sharing ALL your creative juices with us. You are very inspiring.

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    1. I really went crazy when I was making that quilt. I think I made all the crumb blocks for it in a couple weeks. I had so much fun with it! I had no plan for those blocks…. just sad down one night and decided to try some crumb piecing!
      Anne

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  5. I can understand why that’s your favourite quilt – it is a beauty! Love how you turned your wall hanging into a bag. I always enjoy seeing your shared posts of other peoples bags. I made a crumb quilt last year, but your colourful Kaffe fabrics really are the best 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That wall hanging was much better as two bags. As a wall hanging it was ok, but the bags were really cool! I might have to cut up one of the quilt tops I made during the pandemic. There are a lot of them!
      Anne

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  6. Outstanding post and video – I love crumb piecing and have done a lot of it but I still learned a couple of “tips” from watching your method. Thanks a lot and here’s to saving small scraps to make beautiful things.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks! I love crumb piecing. So relaxing and free form. And I don’t know how I end up with so many scraps! It seems like everything is from scraps. Where the heck are all these scraps coming from?
      Anne

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  7. Loved the video and hearing your voice! Great job! I figured I knew how to do this, but you gave so many great tips. Thanks so much for sharing🤗

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Thank you so much – what a great reference tutorial – it will be my ‘go-to’ for crumb quilting. I am grateful for the effort and time you devoted to sharing with us.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Thank you for the fabulous video ❤️.
    I will be trying crumb piecing soon…
    This evening 😄. You made it look so effortless and freeing! I need some free form fun in my life! You have a great eye for color.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks! I go about it a little differently than the video tutorial I used when I first started. But it’s a method that works for me and works for the type of scraps I tend to generate.
      Anne

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  10. Excellent video and written tutorial, thank you! I have crumbs in the millions I think but having read and seen the video I’m certainly going to be sorting pieces. as soon as possible.
    I love your quilt!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks! that quilt is actually my favorite of everything I’ve made. It’s not quilted yet, but will be staying with me when it’s done.

      I think sorting the scraps is probably the worst part for me. I just get so distracted. But this is a great way to use up those smaller pieces that you just can’t part with.

      Anne

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