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Tutorial – Crazy Square Block

One of the ladies up at Sew Crazy asked if I could show her how to make a basic crazy square. She has seen several of mine and wants to make some. Unfortunately due to scheduling conflicts, we were unable to get together in person before this weekend. So tonight I started a new square and took a lot of photos to provide a tutorial that hopefully they can access this weekend at the quilt retreat. Plus anyone else that wants to know how to make them can use this!

A quick note first: there are many ways to make a crazy square. My way is just one of the ways. I do not claim that it is the best way or that other ways are wrong, this is just what I have found works best for me.

Materials needed:
Sewing machine
Thread
Iron and ironing board
Ruler (straight one and a square one the size of your finished square if you have it)
Fabric (usually cut into 2 1/2″ strips but don’t feel restricted to this size)
A piece of muslin cut to the size of finished square that you want.

My process:
The first thing I usually do is go for a dive in the fabric stash and start picking out at least six different fabrics. Then I toss them in a loose pile on the cutting board to get a good look at my choices.

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After looking at this pile, I decided one of my choices stood out too much and removed it.

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Once I have decided on my fabrics, I cut out 2 1/2″ strips of each and again put them in a loose pile.

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Since this particular square will end up being used for my CQJP challenge, I wanted a more plain center piece so I could make it go with my theme. I cut a piece of the plain blue strip into an odd shape. Four or five sided works best for me as long as it’s oddly shaped.

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This square will end up being 6 1/2″ square so I cut out a piece of muslin to that size.

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Next, I lay the odd cut piece roughly in the center, trying to keep it from being “perfectly” center. This is a crazy square after all! I use an 1/8 inch seam around the center piece.

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Next, we start getting into the fun part. Picking the second piece to be added AND picking which edge to use.

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Once that is decided, place the piece with the right side down and the edge of the new piece of fabric lines up with the edge of the odd shaped piece. Using a 1/4″ seam, sew the new piece on. Do not worry about locking the stitches. If you go a little past on each side, when you add more pieces they will help lock the pieces in.

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Important step: after each piece is added, you must flip the piece over right side up and iron at the seam.

Then you add your next piece in the same way:

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Then the next:

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Keep adding until you’ve attached fabric to each seam of your odd shape piece. Your pieces will overlap. You will have some sections become smaller as you add more fabric. This is okay!

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At this point, you can see the four corners of the muslin are still showing. Now we add another round of fabric.

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Once the muslin is covered, I turn the square over so I am looking at the backside.

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At this point, you can use a straight ruler to trim the edges, or if you have a square ruler in the same size as your square, use that.

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All edges trimmed? Save the larger pieces of scrap, you can always use them for something else. Even another crazy square! You do not have to limit yourself to only 2 1/2″ strips.

Flip the square over so you are looking at the right side.

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Check for any “oops”. In the first picture below, I have a pin pointing at an oops, where the raw edge of one of the fabric sections is showing. You can fix this in a couple ways. One way is to add another piece of fabric that will cover the mistake as shown below in the second photo of this section:

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Another way to fix the mistake is to use your border/sashing to cover the mistake, if you are going to be using sashing or a border:

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Yet another option to fix a raw edge mistake, if you plan to embroider the block, is add some embroidery that will cover it, as I did on this block from last year (shown below). The big jellie and the orange seaweed are both covering some raw edge mistakes (this was one of my very first crazy squares):

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Normally in a 6 1/2″ square, I end up with around 9-12 sections of fabric to play with for embroidery. Occasionally when I try for it, I can get around 31 sections as in the block below.

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I hope this tutorial was helpful to you if you are getting ready to dive into the world of making crazy squares. I love making these as they require little planning, you can throw together various fabrics, and you can have fun! And no two are alike unless you follow a pattern. Which…I dont! And once you have your square done, you can keep making more, and/or embellish the square(s) with embroidery.

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Leapfrog Crochet Border

I was reading a post on Made In K-Town’s blog where she was trying to decide on a border for her magic blanket once she has the blanket itself finished. The blanket is primarily white on one side, gray on the other, with stripes of various colors mixed in. She was wondering what color to pick to make the base round of the border blend in.

After studying the blanket and thinking about it, I mentioned in a comment that she could use both the white and the gray and leapfrog the colors around the blanket. Then I thought more about it and decided maybe I should see if it works. I’ve never seen this technique before, although it may be out there in the world somewhere. But here I hope to show you what’s in my head and how I pictured the border.

So I whipped up a quick granny square then grabbed two contrasting colors so that the stitches would show easier for a tutorial. I’ve not done a tutorial like this before, so please bear with me as I try to explain this technique.

sc = single crochet

B1 – border color 1 (blue in tutorial)

B2 – border color 2 (orange in tutorial)

1. Attach B1 with a sc then pull the loop a little bigger, slip the hook out of the loop:

2. Put the hook though the next stitch, make a slipknot with B2 on the hook:

3. Wrap the yarn over the hook then pull through the slipknot and the stitch, leaving a nice size loop:

4. Take the hook out of the B2 loop, put back through the B1 loop and then the B2 loop again, re-tighten both loops up to a normal tension:

5. Wrap the B2 around the hook and finish the sc, making sure the B1 is carried along:

6. Continue to insert hook through next sc and pick up the opposite color than what’s currently looped on the hook and finish the sc, making sure to carry the other color along under the stitch.

The back of the border has an interesting look as well:

As mentioned above, this is (as far as I can recall) the first I’ve done this type of tutorial for a technique I just thought of, so please let me know if you need more pictures and/or clarification and I will try to help.

I hope you like this border!

 

Edit to add: Me being the curious crocheter that I am sometimes, I decided to see how a small swatch would look like doing this technique. While easy, it is very time-consuming, between having to concentrate on color switches and untangling the skeins. But I think it does have a very interesting look to it: