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Grr’s Crazy Quilt

Finished size : 72″ × 90″

I proudly possess a quilt that was handed down to me by my grandma, my Grr! It’s a beloved family heirloom. I don’t know how many times I’ve wrapped a sick child in it or how many movies we watched while cuddling under it. It’s not fancy. No, it’s not even pretty; it’s ripped, torn, and stained—and I love every bit of its 1960s crazy-quilt madness. This is my version of the quilt that my Grr shipped to me for Christmas when I was cold and living 2,000 miles away from home for the first time. This pattern is made with as much love as Grr put into that care package nearly 20 years ago.

Materials and Supplies

  • ⅓ yard each of 22 different fabric prints for quilt top (some leftovers will be used for the back)
  • 2⅞ yards each of 2 fabrics for backing
  • ¾ yard fabric for binding
  • 2¾ yard batting, 90″ wide*
  • 1 ball of perle cotton #8
  • 18″ quilting hoop (optional)

* Choose a batting with a scrim when hand-tying a quilt like this; it will give the stitches more to bite into, and the quilt will hold up much better.

grr’s crazy quilt 1

For the most part my sample quilt is made with scraps and leftover fabric from all the Modern June aprons and the miscellaneous products that my Junies and I have made in the last seven years. Of course, you can use new fabric or use precut charm packs, perhaps filling in from your fabric stash and scraps.

cutting it out

WOF = width of fabric

  1. From the quilt top fabrics: Cut 2 strips 5″ × WOF from each fabric. Subcut each strip into 8 squares 5″ × 5″ to yield a total of 352 squares. (You will use 320 for the top and 22 for the back, and have 10 extra.)
  2. From the backing fabrics: Trim the selvages from both fabrics. Cut 1 rectangle 40″ × 99½″ from the first fabric. Cut 1 rectangle 34″ × 99½″ from the other fabric.
  3. From the binding fabric: Cut 9 strips 2½″ × WOF.

It’s a quilter’s choice to prewash the fabric or not; for this casual everyday quilt I opted not to.

sewing it up

Sewing Guidelines

All seam allowances are ¼″, and all seams are pressed to one side. Alternate the direction that you press the seams in each row to nest the seams and avoid bulky intersections.

grr’s crazy quilt 2

Making the Quilt Top

  1. Take some time to arrange your blocks into 20 stacks of 16 squares. Make sure that you don’t have the same print in each pile twice. Try not to get too fussy about the order in which these are stacked; that helps make the quilt so charming. Remember, it’s called a crazy quilt for a reason.
  2. Refer to chain stitching (in Tips and Tricks) to chain piece 2 squares from a stack, right sides together, and then another 2 squares, without clipping the threads between. Repeat to sew all the squares in a stack into pairs.
  3. Clip the threads between the pairs and continue to sew the pairs together until you have a row of 16 squares.
  4. Repeat Steps 2 and 3 to make a total of 20 rows.
  5. Lay the rows in front of you and spend a bit of time arranging them in order from top to bottom. Try to avoid having any of the same prints on top of each other.
  6. When you have them in an order that you like, press the seam allowances in each row to alternating sides. Start with the bottom row, press to the right, and set the row aside. Working your way from the bottom to the top, alternate the direction of the seams. Stack one on top of the other. When you are finished, the top row will be on the top of the stack.
  7. Pin the top 2 rows, right sides together, matching the seams. Sew. Press the seam allowances to the bottom.
  8. Continue sewing rows in the same manner until all 20 rows are sewn together.

grr’s crazy quilt 3

Making the Quilt Back

  1. Arrange 22 of the remaining 5″ × 5″ squares in the order that you like best and sew them into a long strip.
  2. Sew the 2 backing panels along the long sides of your block strip and press the seams to the side.

grr’s crazy quilt 4

tying it up

  1. On a clean, smooth floor, spread out the batting and place the quilt top on it, faceup. Smooth out any lumps and bumps. Cut your batting down so it’s about 2″ larger than the quilt top on each side.
  2. Starting at the top of the quilt, carefully roll up the quilt top and batting as if it were a single piece and set it aside.
  3. Spread the quilt backing onto the floor, wrong side up, smooth it out, and secure it to the floor with painter’s tape. Tape it on all sides; use plenty of tape.
  4. Roll the batting–quilt top combo onto the quilt backing, doing your best to center it. Insert a safety pin through all 3 layers every 2 blocks as shown by the red X’s; baste the entire quilt this way.
  5. Remove and discard the tape. Turn the quilt over and make sure it is free of wrinkles. Carefully slide the quilt into a quilting hoop if you have one. You can also use a large embroidery hoop, or just stretch the quilt out over your lap.
  6. Thread an embroidery needle with a single strand of perle cotton. You might want to use a needle threader. Pull your needle to the center of the thread, as if you were doubling it, but don’t knot the ends. Prep several needles at once to save time and frustration later.
  7. Leaving a 3″ thread tail on the top of the quilt, take the needle down through a pinned corner, and with the opposite hand on the back of the quilt, feel for the needle and pull it through to the back. Be careful not to pull the thread all the way out the back! Guide the needle back up to the quilt top about ¼″ away from its entry spot. Pull the thread taut, so that all 3 layers are securely bound.
  8. Repeat the stitch for reinforcement. Stay close to the first stitch but avoid the same holes. Trim off all but 3″ of the thread that is still attached to the needle.
  9. Tie the 3″ tails with a square knot twice. Trim the tails down to 1″
  10. Repeat Steps 7–9 until you’ve replaced all the safety pins with knots, moving the hoop as needed. This will take some time, so gather up you girlfriends and put them to work.
  11. Trim the backing and batting even with the edges of the quilt top.

grr’s crazy quilt 5

binding it up

Sew the 2½″-wide binding strips, right sides together, with diagonal seams to make a continuous binding strip. Trim the seam allowance to ¼″. Press the seams open.

Press the entire strip in half lengthwise, wrong sides together. With raw edges even, pin the binding to the front edge of the quilt a few inches away from a corner, leaving the first few inches of the binding unattached. Start sewing, using a ¼″ seam allowance.

Stop ¼″ away from the first corner (see Figure 1), and backstitch a single stitch. Lift the presser foot and needle. Rotate the quilt a quarter turn. Fold the binding at a right angle so it extends straight above the quilt and the fold forms a 45° angle in the corner (see Figure 2). Then bring the binding strip down even with the edge of the quilt (see Figure 3). Begin sewing at the folded edge. Repeat in the same manner at all corners. Continue stitching until you are back near the beginning of the binding strip. See Finishing the Binding Ends (page 115) for tips on finishing and hiding the raw edges of the ends of the binding.

grr’s crazy quilt 6

grr’s crazy quilt 7

Finishing the Binding Ends

Fold the ending tail of the binding back on itself where it meets the beginning binding tail. From the fold, measure and mark the cut width of your binding strip. Cut the ending binding tail to this measurement. For example, if your binding is cut 2½″ wide, measure from the fold on the ending tail of the binding 2½″ and cut the binding tail to this length.

grr’s crazy quilt 8

Open both tails. Place a tail on top of the other tail at right angles, right sides together. Mark a diagonal line from corner to corner and stitch on the line. Check that you’ve done it correctly and that the binding fits the quilt; then trim the seam allowance to ¼″. Press open.

grr’s crazy quilt 9

Refold the binding and stitch this binding section in place on the quilt. Fold the binding over the raw edges to the quilt back and hand stitch. Have the girls back over, pop in a movie, and get everyone to help.
I hope that your crazy quilt will be part of family memories for generations to come!

Source :
Kelly McCants
at home with modern June
27 Sewing Projects for Your Handmade Lifestyle