quilts, treadle sewing machines, crochet, watercolor, dogs, & other fun stuff

“Bars and Crumbs” Quilt

I enjoyed making my original crumb quilt (“Crumbs to That!”) so much that as soon as I had enough crumbs, I started on a new one.  Whether or not I actually did have “enough” is debatable, as I ended up using some fairly big strings to get my “crumb blocks” up to size, but the flexibility and no-rules nature of crumb quilting are a big part of why I like it. 

For this second crumb quilt, I wanted to have some negative space for the eye to rest. (This has the added benefit of getting you to quilt size in half the time compared to an all-crumbs quilt-top!)  In this case, the negative space is bars of denim, which was plentiful in the stash. 

There are two tones of denim, scattered “randomly” (that is, carefully, to look more or less random) across the quilt. Bars of denim alternate with bars of crumbs, strings, etc.  Many of the “crumbs” are HSTs created from off-cuts (is that the right word?) left behind when I pieced my scrappy Arkansas Crossroads.

The batting is cotton (with polyester scrim), the backing is red flannel (from a huge stash of flannel that I’ll probably never actually turn into rag quilts), and the binding is a white and grey sheet that turns out to actually be a cotton-poly blend instead of the 100% cotton I thought it was when I saved it for quilting.  (It’ll be fine for this quilt, but I wouldn’t use it in a “nice” quilt, even though the quilt I used most when I was growing up was probably more polyester than cotton.)

For the quilting, I stuck with a simple meander on the crumb blocks, since nothing much would show against such a busy background, anyway.  But to quilt the denim, I just did random patterns, referring to my doodle notebook for inspiration.  Some of the doodles translated well to thread.  Others… Well, I need more practice!  Some patterns got a bit lost even against the denim (especially the spotted denim), but others stood out maybe a bit too clearly (nothing to hide mistakes!). 

I took photos before and after washing.  Washing made a big difference.  Certain patterns are all but hidden by the post-wash crinkle effect.  Those are probably best saved for wall-hangings that won’t be laundered.  Either that or I should use a thicker thread in a highly contrasting color, if I want to help them to show as much as possible.  Otherwise, textural quilting probably works best with crinkly cotton batting.

It’s always a learning experience! 

One more thing I learned was that flannel works pretty well as a backing.  It’s not my favorite, personally.  I don’t like it as much as smooth, cool cotton.  Flannel is prone to pilling and just seems less durable than cotton– but for a utilitarian quilt or just anything you’re not particularly worried about lasting forever, it seems fine.  I have a lot to use up, so I’ll probably keep using it as a cheap backing, since I need a lot of practice with the quilting machine, which can get expensive with huge swaths of nice cotton on the back.  I did pre-wash the flannel to give it a chance to shrink.  I think that’s worth doing, though I don’t pre-wash quilting cotton.

Here are the pre-washing photos (some of them are a bit repetitive, but I’m not up to sifting through and deciding which are the best):

And here it is after washing:

And finally, here are a couple of “almost the whole quilt” photos (though these turned out a bit washed out and ugly, now that I really look at them…):

And that’s that! 

Another quilt finished! 

I think this is the fourth “real quilt” (not a rag quilt) I’ve finished/bound, to date.  Doesn’t sound like many… 

“String Quilt” (from Mom’s kit) was #1, so far as I can recall… Then there was “Crumbs to That!” (I think), #2, followed by “Rainbow Rows”, #3.  So “Bars and Crumbs” is only #4, unless I’m forgetting something. 

I have one more with the binding on to show (next time?) then another that will soon be ready for binding.


I’m Michael (a female Michael, to remove any doubt).  I live on the Alabama Gulf Coast with my husband, Donald, and our crazy American Eskimo Dogs. 

I love to fill my spare time with various crafts and other hobbies, and this blog is where I share photos, record my progress, and ramble endlessly.

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