Friday, September 1, 2023

Hive 5 - September Tutorial - Crumb Polaroid Blocks for Sara

A while back, I came across the image to the right while scrolling Pinterest for quilty inspiration. The pin linked to an article on Curbly and referenced a photo collage display that was originally on Urban Outfitters. While not a quilt, it captured my attention - I liked the play with colors, and gradiant display. Plus I've always liked Polaroids. I pinned it and forgot it.

When I started brainstorming what I wanted to do for September, I came back to this idea. Hopefully it'll be a fun way for everyone to get scrap busting in, especially for the smaller pieces that we may not usually get a chance to use! 

Block Details

I'm looking for one 7" wide x 8" tall Polaroid style block, with the "picture" improv pieced and surrounded by solid white or very low volumes. 

For the "picture" colors, I'm hoping to make a rainbow-ish display so choose whichever color family you have the most scraps of, except for white, brown, gray, etc. You'll want mostly medium values, however some light and dark valued fabrics are ok. 

There's a lot of creative flexibility in making these blocks so I'm excited to see what everyone makes!

Crumb/Improv Piecing

A crumb is just a small scrap of fabric. For these blocks, we'll be piecing together all these crumbs into strips or squares using improv piecing to make a bigger block. Please try to keep the largest size to no more than 3" so the piecing is the highlight.

There are no rules! All straight lines? Ok! Curves? Ok! 

If you find yourself overthinking the placement of fabrics, set yourself some rules (such as all fabrics must be placed next to unique fabrics) or randomly grab out of a basket. It can also be helpful to find something you can fussy cut or use as a highlight, from which you can start with.

I've included some information about how I approached this below, but other resources include: Scrap Fabric Love's Crumb Quilting Tutorial, Alanda Craft's Crumb Quilt Technique Tutorial, and a Youtube tutorial by Teresa Down Under.

Constructing the "Picture"

Start by sorting out your crumbs and scraps by color, so you can see what you have to work with. From the piles I have here, you can see that I pulled out a variety of sizes and shapes. 

I would've been tight using only these greens or yellows shown in the pile, but I had plenty of blues and pinks so I decided to start with my blues. 

From this overall color sort, I sorted each of my blue fabrics by fabric. I was originally aiming to not have repeat fabrics touch, but I did not have quite enough to do that. You could also sort by size or shape, or skip sorting at all, if it isn't useful.

I used two 2.5" squares to make a HST, which I then cut to use as my starting piece. A square or rectangle is easier if you aren't sure where to start (in the pink block below, I only used squares and rectangles). 

Pressing as you go helps keep your block neat, but a good finger press can work. Depending on the size of your scraps, seams can get bulky. Press seams open or to one side, depending on what works best for that seam. 

Once you find a straight edge, add a piece that fits, then trim off the overhand to square it up again. Keep adding as you go. Depending on the size of your scraps, you may need to piece some together to fit the straight edge. 

    Blue fabrics sorted      
     My starting piece

First piece added

Continuing to add on:

Keep adding fabrics to your starting pieces, similar to how you'd construct a log cabin (just less precisely) or strip smaller blocks together that can be pieced together. Trim down angles to create a straight line or get really wonky. Keep going until your crumb can be trimmed down to 5.5" square.

In the picture below, you can see my block assembly on the left and the "picture" on the right, before it was trimmed down.

Framing the "Picture"

From your white or very low volume fabric, cut the following:
  • 2x - 1.25" x 5.5" (sides)
  • 1x - 1.25" x 7" (top)
  • 1x - 2.25" x 7" (bottom)

Attach the sides first, then the top and bottom. Press. The finished block should be 7" wide x 8" tall.

I hope you have fun making this block! I really enjoyed it and am excited to see everyone's blocks! 

Thank you!

IG @rippingoutstitches

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