Hearts Like Crazy Paving: Thoughts on a Quilt
Book Review: Break the Fall by Jennifer Iacopelli

Hearts Like Crazy Paving Quilt Tutorial

Hearts Like Crazy Paving Instructions

Hearts like crazy paving finished

FABRIC:

hearts and inner borders: I bought 11 assorted fat quarters in purples and pinks. Some of these are Moda solids but most are subtle patterns that read as solids. I used two more purple scraps and three pink scraps from my stash; these were less than 5” wide and in one case (the pink flowers) I literally only had 2” to use. I used four pieces of black fabrics also from my stash. I had quite a bit of leftover fabrics, but since I only bought fat quarters it wasn’t too much. (I think I am going to save these scraps and make a baby quilt—one that isn’t an angsty statement about modern love, mind you—but it will definitely have to be for a mom who loves purple too.)

color theory note: I tried to only use cool pinks and purples, but when I started pairing fabrics up, it felt like there needed to also be a few warm ones. Since I don’t love warm or plummy purples, I threw in a couple of warm-ish pinks.

Hearts like crazy paving cut strips
I tried to group the like colors together as I cut, which makes making contrast easier. Also, here is a first introduction to my messy crafty space. It's small so it gets crowded.

outer border (the black with wavy lines): I bought two yards because I wanted the stripes to run vertically and I didn’t want a seam on the long borders. This means I cut the strips for the borders on the long side (parallel to the selvage) of the fabric. (This is called the straight grainline.) It also means I have a ton left over! (I was OK with this because I like the fabric enough to use it for other projects and because I bought the end of the bolt and so got it at a better price—I think it was only $6.50 a yard.) I prefer doing borders this way when I can, even without stripes, because when you cut the fabric strips lengthwise there is less stretch and it makes squaring up the quilt much easier. If you cut the strips along the width of the fabric (crosswise grainline) instead, you need 5/8 of a yard.

white background: If you cut *exactly* right without any mistakes, you need exactly 35” (there will be some leftover smaller scraps), so one yard will work if you never mess up. I always buy extra just in case; so 1 1/6 yards might be safer. I loved this white tonal floral (It is from the Sugarcreek line by Corey Yoder) so I bought 1 1/2 yards.

batting: I used a white cotton batting from my stash…not sure what brand. (I have a few more large-ish chunks of batting and once those are used up I’m going to invest in some Quilter’s Dream batting instead, as my Joann has stopped carrying—or is just always out of—the Warm and White batting which I like. I don’t love what they carry now.)

quilt backing: My finished quilt is 53”x62”. I used a big chunk of minky (this one came from Joann) plus some cuts from the two yards of “Magic Carpet” by Bernatex I bought at a new fabric store I found a few weeks ago. When I make pieced backings I don’t do a ton of measuring, I just lay the fabrics out and then cut and piece as it feels like it would fit. Sometimes this means I cut things wrong and have to add an extra strip here and there…but this one turned out just about right. (I have a fairly wide scrap of the minky left that will also be perfect for a baby quilt. Or two.)

Hearts like crazy paving quilt back
I also tend to take quilt pictures in my front room. Also a small space so getting a straight-on pic is hard. But the light is better.

CUTTING:

assorted colors:
cut three or four angled strips on the crosswise grainline (so if you’re cutting fat quarters, these will be 18” long). I stacked three colors together for this part. The angles are not exact but random. Make some of the strips wide and some narrower, with the narrowest edge at least 1” wide. I LOVED this cutting process as it was fast and sort of…freeing, I guess, to not worry about exact straightness.

black scraps:
I wanted the black to not overtake the colors, but just be an accent, so I cut all of the black strips in fairly thin widths. I also put in some of the border fabric, and I cut those strips straight (no angles). A few straight strips helped to balance things out a bit.

background fabric:
2 18.5”x18.5” squares
4 6.5”x6.5” squares
2 2.5”x35”-ish strips
2 2.5”x width of fabric strips
16 1.25x1.25” and 8 2.25x2.25” squares (cut from scraps, see step 8 in assembly)
8  5.5x1.25” strips (cut from scraps)
8 7.5x1.25” strips (cut from scraps)

outer border:
2 3x52” strips (seam as necessary)
2 3x65” strips (seam as necessary)

ASSEMBLY:

  1. Chain piece colored strips together, alternating colors and angles to create a scrappy mix. I pieced them first into pairs, then I added a third strip to about half of the pairs, then pieced a two-part piece with a three-part piece. Then I laid the strips out on the floor to see if I needed to add more. This is improve piecing, so just have fun with this step. You will make TWO pieces that are 18”x43” (or so…it’s OK if it’s longer). End with a fairly wide piece on the top and bottom to give yourself room for straightening. It’s OK if you have leftover strips as you’ll use them in the border.
    Hearts like crazy paving making the strip
    As you improv piece the two strips, keep in mind the seam allowance. I added five or six more strips after this point! Also, make sure to alternate some fat ends with small ends, or the long strip will curve too much and you'll have to trim it much narrower.
  2. Iron the seams. I ironed mine open because there is so much dark/light going on and I didn’t want the dark undersides to show through on the light fabrics. I would be faster to iron them all to one side, it’s up to you.
  3. Straighten the pieces. Due to the nature of the angles, the two pieces of the heart will not be straight yet. Fold each piece in half and straighten to 17x40.
    Hearts like crazy paving trimming straight
    One strip, folded in half just before trimming.
  4. Make the two heart pieces. Draw a diagonal line on the back side of the two large background squares. Pin one to the bottom left side of one strip. Sew along the diagonal line, then cut 1/4” away from the sewn line.
    Hearts like crazy paving making the heart
    It helps if you pin not just along the diagonal line, but on the straight edges too, especially with the larger pieces.

    Repeat with second strip, except sew the triangle on the right side. Repeat this process with the smaller squares, one on each side of the top of each strip. If this is confusing, refer to THIS AWESOME TUTORIAL on Amy Smart’s blog, it walks you through step by step.
  5. Press the seams away from the white (toward the colored strips).
  6. Line up the points of the heart and sew both sides together.
    Hearts like crazy paving two halves of the heart
    Just before sewing the heart together.
  7. Using the white 2.5” strips, sew a border around the heart. Sew the LONG (left and ride) borders on first, and then the short (top and bottom) borders, so you don’t have to piece any strips. (BORDER NOTE: I know many quilters cut the border strips exactly the size of the piece they are sewing the border to. I don’t do it this way. Instead, I cut the border pieces about 1” longer than the piece I am bordering, sew the strips on, and the square off the ends. This is less frustrating to me, but use whichever method works best for you.)
  8. Make the four small hearts—more improve piecing. When you cut off the big triangles in step 4, you were left with two triangles formed out of strips. Use these to create 8 pieces that are 2.5x5 inches. Don’t be afraid to cut more angles—have fun! Use these 8 pieces to create four smaller hearts, using the same method from step 4. Use the two leftover white triangles as necessary to make the background and borders of the smaller hearts. These should finish at 7.5” square.
    Hearts like crazy paving finished small hearts
    I think these little hearts are adorable
  9. Make the large border strips. You guessed it: even more improve piecing. Use whatever leftover strips you have, along with the scraps from the hearts. My favorite were the tiny little pieces of crazy pieced triangles left over from the smaller hearts. Piece four border strips, two that are as tall as the large bordered heart, two that are as wide. These are 7.5” wide.
    Hearts like crazy paving adding borders
    Hey! Another view of my mess! Cord from the iron. Big paper trimmer under my tall desk. That paper bag has a bunch of Skirt Sports skirts I am going to try to resell. Garbage can and paper recycling can. I work well in chaos.


  10. Sew the top and bottom borders to the heart.
  11. Sew the left and right borders with the cornerstones (the small hearts) at each corner. OK, here’s where things get real. The traditional way to add cornerstones is to measure the height of the quilt (WITHOUT the top and bottom border), add the seam allowance, then cut the left and right borders to that length. Sew on the cornerstones, then sew that strip to the left and right sides. I have NEVER managed to make this work correctly. The corners just never match up perfectly. So here’s how I add cornerstones. First, I make the left and right borders about 1-2” longer than the left/right sides. Sew the top cornerstone to the top of the left border strip. Line up the corners and then sew the strip to the left side, but stop about two inches away from the bottom corner. Pin the rest of the way, and then trim the leftover bit so it is one seam length longer than the corner. (I used 1/4” seams on this quilt.) Unpin, sew the second cornerstone to what is now the bottom of the border, then match up the corners and finish sewing it down the length. Repeat on the right side. I know…this is clunky. But it works best for me, and, again: use your favorite method.
  12. Sew the outer border on, starting with the top and bottom and finishing with the left and right. Iron the quilt top on both sides and clean up any stray threads.
    Hearts like crazy paving finished top
    Finished top!
  13. Sandwich, quilt, and bind.

For the quilting, I used an idea I found in the book Quilting Modern.  (I used this idea even though the title of that book is annoying. Modern is an adjective, not an adverb, so it should be titled Modern Quilting or Quilting Modernly, which admittedly is awkward but grammatically correct. Quilting in the Modern Way would be OK, although clunky. Quilting Modern is not. Unless there is a thing that is called a “modern” and you’re quilting it. End of rant.) It is called “shattered.”

Hearts like crazy paving more quilting
When I first started quilting this, I marked the lines with painter's tape. Then I got frustrated with how long that was taking so I just freeformed. Are the lines *exactly* straight? No. But straight enough, which works for this style.


This took a while and it has lots of starts and stops, but the random angles felt like they fit the best with this quilt’s aesthetic. I also echo quilted white lines around the heart. (I love echo quilting!)

Hearts like crazy paving quilting close up
Another view of the quilting, this time from the back. The pink lines make me happy.

Things I learned from this quilt:
(because I think you can learn something from every quilt you make)

  • I wish I would’ve made the strips 22” instead of 18”, so the heart wasn’t quite so angular. I cut them on the straight grainline because I was worried that with the random angles, the extra stretch that comes from cutting on the weft would be problematic. The black strips, though, are cut on the weft, and they are narrow, but it was still fine.
  • I also wish I would’ve made the border less balanced. The busiest parts are squares and they are roughly balanced on the four middle points. I didn’t want that much symmetry but didn’t notice until it was already sewed together.
  • Angles and improv piecing are really fun. It’s freeing to just see different pieces coming together in random ways. Some of my favorite parts of this quilt are the TINY little slivers of fabric that you can barely see.
  • Sewing angled pieces together makes WAY more lint that pieces cut on a straight line. I cleaned out my feed dogs about 37 times.
  • I’m getting better at accurate quarter-inch seams, which was one of my goals for this quilt.
  • I’m NOT happy with how my new machine cuts the bobbin thread. I mean, it was really fast to just push the “cut” button but because the bobbin threat cut is really short, they all got tangled up on the back. Not sure how to resolve that other than cutting it with the thread cutter instead.
  • Despite reading about it and following all the tips—use a wider seam allowance, sew with your walking foot, pin like crazy—I still am struggling to get the combination of minky+cotton to be pucker-free. (You can see on the pic of the backing that the cotton has ripples. I’m not sure what else to do! However, I only ended up with two small puckered spots on the back when I finished quilting, so that is OK.
  • I think I am now ready to make a quilt that uses some of the many little strips of scraps I have from other quilts. Stay tuned!

Honestly, I’m not sure anyone would want to replicate this quilt, and that is just fine. But I’m hoping you find some little helpful nugget in this tutorial to use in your own quilting.

Hearts like crazy paving finished with binding

Comments

Keely

This is amazing. Thank you for sharing. It kinda makes my head hurt but I love it!! One of these days I hope to try my hand at quilting.

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