Crazy for crazy quilts

As I mentioned above, I planned on using a crazy quilt design for my next vest.  I Like crazy quilt blocks because they lend themselves to whimsy and also getting rid of scrapes.  The single most important decision on any project is what fabrics are chosen.  My crazy quilt block will have 4 segments so only 4 fabrics are required but I will use more to give the blocks a random feel and visual interest.  Since I am making a vest, I felt it called for a main fabric which would be worked into most of the blocks.  I wanted 2 rows of blocks along the front of the vest  so after some math I ascertained a 5 3/4" finished size block was needed so the blocks would need to trim to 6 1/4" which would allow for the 1/4" seam allowance along each side.  The next decision is how much contrast in the blocks.  I threw in a dark blue for contrast  and used up the dark blue from my first vest.  What I ended up with is the main fabric, 3 different turquoise fabrics, 2 dark blue fabrics and 3 med. golden brown fabrics for a total of 9 fabrics.  The vest will reverse to the floral fabric .  The first step it to cut out the reverse side of the vest from the main fabric so I will know how much of that fabric will be left to work into the crazy blocks.

I find that Karla Alexander's method which she describes in her book "Stack the Deck" is the fastest and easiest way to construct a large number of crazy quilt blocks.  There are other ways of constructing rotary cut crazy quilt blocks but this method works best for me.  Since there are only 3 seams in a 4 segment block, I took 5 of my fabrics (which included the main fabric) and cut out a 7" squares from each fabric to make a batch of test blocks.  I always make test blocks for 2 reasons, I want to check that the fabrics do indeed play well together and also that the fabric squares I am starting out with will indeed yield the correct size block after trimming.  I then stacked the 5 fabrics and rotary cut the shapes (see top photo) and then it is time to "shuffle the deck" by removing the top layer of a segment and placing it on the bottom of that stack.  I then moved around to the next segment and removed the top 2 layers and placed them on the bottom of it's stack and continued shuffling (since I am using 4 segments I only have one more shuffle to do) removing the top 3 layers and placing them on the bottom of their stack.  With 4 segments I will shuffle 3 segments and leave one alone.  If I had cut 5 segments, I would have shuffled 4 and left one alone, increasing the number of layers removed by one on each shuffle.  The bottom photo shows the block after the shuffle.  It is imperative to keep the segments in this order.  Chain stitching the block will aid in this.  I then chain stitched the inside seam of segment 1 and 2 together (segment one is the floral and segment two is the dark blue/green) one after the other for all 5 blocks, clipped and pressed them KEEPING THEM IN ORDER.  Next I chain stitched  the lower corner this unit, and worked though that stack one by one and clipped these 5 units apart, keeping them in the proper order and then I chain stitched the upper corner onto it's corresponding unit.  With this method, no one fabric should end up beside itself in a block but if they do, I know I have gotten things out of order or shuffled incorrectly.  No problems, I just play solitaire and lay each block out to see where I have gone wrong,  I always have the segment pieces laid out in front of me and stacked together with a space between each segment so I can visually see which way the next segment gets attached.  After I pressed all the blocks, I then trimmed them to 6 1/4 ".  I will need 44 on these blocks. 5 down, 39 to go!

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