I couldn’t afford to buy this book, but after seeing one of the authors, Marguerita Mcmanus, describing the technique on YouTube and showing samples, I ordered the book Crazy Shortcut Quilts from the library. What a terrific book. I have a nice Pfaff sewing machine with several decorative stitches and I thought using the techniques in this book would allow me to finally use all my fancy machine stitches.
Once I read through the book, I decided to do regular free-motion quilting all over each block, rather than use decorative machine stitches only on the seams. I don’t have the patience to fiddle with the decorative stitches, and they use a lot of thread and I can’t afford to buy expensive thread right now. I LOVE the cutting technique and the quilt-as-you-go strips for joining. So, I am making a modified Crazy Shortcut. It will retain the sensibility of a crazy patchwork and the ease of the Crazy Shortcut method, but I will adapt it to what I have here in fabric and tools.
In the book, the recommended size of the initial fabric squares is 18 inches. I don’t have a large ruler to use with my rotary cutter and cut something that big, all I have is a 15.5-inch cardboard template from back in the days before rotary cutters, so I used that to mark my squares for one of these quilts, and then cut the squares out with my rotary cutter and rectangular ruler. I am going to use a 3-cut pattern so my initial blocks should shrink by about 1.5-inches. I figure the blocks might finish at about 13 to 14-inches.
The great thing about this method is that you don’t have to drive yourself nuts with rigid initial dimensions as long as you are consistent with dimensions when trimming the blocks after quilting. When I’ve got them sewn and quilted I hope to have the money to get one of the bigger rulers for trimming the blocks, and I’d like to buy my own copy of the book too, as it’s excellent. I usually only get quilting books from the library these days but this one is so good I feel it’s worth buying.
I’m making 30 blocks, and so I cut 30 fabrics; it took me 2.5 hours. Yes, I actually have enough fabric to cut 30 large squares of 30 unique fabrics! The whole point of this project was to use up tons of fabric from 25 years of quilting, and get a quilt I can use right away by quilting as I go. I have a partial package of Hobbs Heirloom quilt batting to start, and buying batting is expensive, but I can make a start anyway.
Tomorrow, I’ll start the cutting and sewing process and post updates and photographs as I move along with this. Here is a photograph of the 30 squares ready to go. There is a loosely purple theme as that’s the predominant colour, but basically it’s a scrap quilt. I found the authors’ quilts to be a tad over-coordinated, so I’m interested to see how the blocks turn out with the palette I am using. I love the challenge of working with a disparate palette and pulling things together.