This demo is to help explain my crazy piecing technique, and is for the When Pigs Fly quilt from the Completely Crazy book. Because I used every two pinks, (or every two browns or every two creams) to show contrast between the pig body and head, there's a bit more checking to do once your fabrics are stacked. So begin by stacking brown (on the bottom), pink, cream, brown, pink, cream etc ending with a cream on the top. Then look at every two fabrics of each color to make sure they contrast for the pig.
So looking at the creams first, from the right which is the top of the stack, one block will have the cream flower fabric and the cream and pink stripe together for a pig.
The next one will have the cream and pink stripe and the cream and pink lattice fabric together for a pig.
Then the lattice will be with the pink & cream check for a pig.
Then the check will be with the cream sprig fabric.
And finally the cream sprig will be with the top cream flower (when it gets shuffled down).
NOW look at the pinks: starting at the top, the pink check will be with the pink geometric,
then the pink geometric with the pink stripe,
then the pink strip with the large pink plaid,
then the large pink plaid with the medium pink plaid,
and finally the medium pink plaid will be with the pink check after it gets shuffled down. Repeat this same process for the browns. You can see from this block how it works:
Once you have the fabrics arranged how you'd like them, stack your fabric in a pile, right sides up. As you stack, try to align two sides, the selvage and the left side of each fabric.Using a pencil and a ruler, trace the pattern onto the unwaxed side of a piece of freezer paper. Be sure to label each piece. Iron the freezer paper pattern onto the stack of fabric. I usually cut through 12 - 15 fabrics at a time using the big 60 mm rotary cutter. So for this pattern with 15 blocks, I did cut through all 15 fabrics at once.
Hint: You can overlap two pieces of freezer paper by about and inch and then iron along the overlap to make a bigger piece of freezer paper.Cut around the outside of the pattern, cutting it out of the stack, cutting through the freezer paper and the entire stack of fabric. After following the specifics in each pattern, i.e. cut the top half of the block away from the bottom half of the block, you will determine the cutting order by saying your alphabet backwards and counting backwards to determine the cutting order. As you cut out each piece, stack them on the master to help you stay organized and keep pieces oriented correctly.Once all the pieces are cut and stacked on the master, it's time the shuffle! Each of the pig body pieces will be listed in the instructions, and for each of these piles, you will pick up the entire pile and put the top cream flower fabric on the bottom so the pink check fabric is showing for the pig body.
For the wing, you will pick up the entire pile and put the top TWO fabrics on the bottom so the brown circles are showing for the left wing.
For the pig head, you will pick up the entire pile and put the top FOUR fabrics on the bottom so the pink geometric is showing for the head.And finally, for the right wing and snout, you will pick up the entire pile and put the top FIVE fabrics on the bottom so the brown lattice is showing for the right wing and snout.Once you are all shuffled, be sure to take a minute and check to make sure it looks like it should, and that you haven't missed shuffling any pieces. Then, separate the block slightly into it's sections A-T. Each section will be stitched back together piece 1 to 2 then add 3 etc.
Prior to stitching, you will need to cut out piece the ears. Place the ear fabric right sides together on top of a piece of batting. Trace each ear unto a piece of freezer paper and cut out each ear template. Iron the templates onto the the fabric/batting stack and cut out each ear pair. Stitch each ear together leaving the side open as indicated. Grad the seam at the point and turn each ear right side out and press. Top stitch along the seam with a quarter inch seam to complete each ear. Notice on the master that there are dots to indicate where you should try to have an accurate quarter inch. Just pick up the two pieces to to stitched, look at the seam line between them to see which end the dot is at and that is where you will try to maintain an accurate quarter inch. Don't worry if the other end isn't even after stitching! This minimizes the amount of fabric you trim off and you will have better results! If there aren't any dots, just center one piece on the other and stitch. So when stitching B1 to B2, you will try to keep the seam line straight along piece 3 where the dot is so that you can add piece 3 without having to trim any excess fabric.At the dots, you will generally have to have a dog ear sticking up. It can be difficult to decide how large of of a dog ear to have. You want your stitches to go exactly through the point where the two fabrics intersect. This illustration attempts to show you my Goldilocks rule: instead of being too hot and too cold, you want the dog ear to be just right! The dog ear at the top is too large, and the middle dog ear is too small, but the bottom dog ear is just right since the stitching goes right through where the two fabrics meet. You will be following this rule where ever there's a dot!
Dog ears can come in different sizes but the rule is the same to get the edge straight after piecing!
This photo shows all of the piece 1's stitched to the piece 2's. Notice the the edges are straight at the ends with the dots and there is extra at the end without the dots- that's the way it should be! Looking at the pig belly section R (between the leg sections) there was no dot, so piece 2 was centered on piece 1 and there is extra at both ends.
Looking at section T, the front leg section, before you can add piece 4 to piece 1-2-3, it is necessary to straighten the edge. After each section A-T is pieced, then the sections are generally stitched together in alphabetical order, but the specifics for each pattern are always in the instructions. It is VERY IMPORTANT that when stitching one section to another, you straighten the seam before you stitch, taking off the least amount. Generally the portion you are trimming off will be parallel to your ruler so you know it's just seam allowance. If for some reason, you have a funny angle sticking out, go back to your master and check to see if you twisted a piece before you stitched: DON'T JUST TRIM IT OFF!!
(This photo shows trimming the edge of Section A prior to stitching to Section B on the left. The edge of Section B that you are sewing will also need straightened prior to stitching. Only trim/straighten the edge that you are sewing
!!)Detail of straightening Section S prior to stitching to Section T, which will also need to be straightened. Notice that the piece being trimmed off is parallel to the ruler.
Sandwich the left ear while adding Section E to Section ABCD. Sandwich the left ear while adding Section F.
Progression as sections are stitched together.
Notice that the front and back leg seams are matched to the belly seam. Stitch the four quadrants together following the specifics in the directions. And don't forget to straighten/trim the edges before stitching one section to another!Once the blocks are done, you square them all up to one consistent size, add the nostrils and eyes to complete each block! All of the crazy blocks are just this easy and so much fun to make! Pick your favorite and get started! Enjoy!