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Everything You Need to Know about the Controlled Chaos Scrap Quilt


Controlled Chaos - a free scrap quilt pattern from Shiny Happy World

I’m completely in love with the Controlled Chaos scrap quilt!

A lot of you are too, because I’ve been getting a lot of emails asking about it lately. 🙂 It’s about time to put all the links together into one handy place!

I’m still working on the quilting, so this is a work in progress. I’ll update it with new info as I get closer to finishing and post more details. 🙂 Read all about the finished quilt here!

The Blocks

Click on the image to jump to the instructions for that block.

The Quilting

I used Big Stitch Quilting for this quilt, all by hand.

Controlled Chaos - a free scrap quilt pattern from Shiny Happy World

I find it helpful for a project like this, where every block will be quilted a little differently, to establish “rules” for the overall quilt. For this quilt, my stitching within each block runs parallel to the edges of the block. My quilting in the sashing is zigzag angles. I think it helps set that sashing off as different, so it frames the blocks better.

The Tutorials

These are all general tutorials you can use for any quilt project, but they’re especially helpful for the Controlled Chaos quilt.

Choosing Colors (part of the Block #3 instructions)

Cutting Small Squares from Scraps

How to Chain Piece

How to Join Pieced Strips

How to Add Sashing to a Quilt

How to Layer and Baste a Quilt

Big Stitch Quilting

How to Bind a Quilt

There it is! Everything you need to make your own Controlled Chaos Quilt! Of course yours will look totally different because your scrap bins are filled with your favorite colors – the ones you go to again and again. Sew them up into a beauty like this! 🙂

Happy quilting!

Wendi Gratz from Shiny Happy World


  1. Jennifer SAYS...

    Thank you Wendi for organizing the blocks like this!

  2. Fransak SAYS...

    I have had this controlled chaos quilt on my mind for some time now. I am planning on trying one or two blocks and seeing how it goes. I recently saw someone’s blog about using a pair of squares as beginners and enders every time you start and stop sewing so you are killing two birds with one stone so to speak. So I have started doing it and have a bunch of random patches started that I think would work wonderfully for these blocks. (I think it was Bonnie Hunter’s idea)
    How very thoughtful of you to organize these all here for us; very convenient.

  3. Nancy SAYS...

    I LOVE the look of big-stitch quilting, and I would love to try it on a baby quilt I need to make, but I’m torn between the ease and speed of this method, and wondering if a baby could get his/her little fingers in those big, beautiful stitches and pull them. I’m almost scared to do the big-stitch quilting for a baby. What do you think?

    • I haven’t tried it with a baby quilt yet, but I don’t think it would be a
      problem. Most of my stitches are 1/4″ to 3/8″ and they tend to sink in to
      the batting. I think they’ll sink in even more after it’s washed and
      crinkles up. Once I take it out of the hoop it’s hard to get anything
      underneath the stitches.

      • Diana Kastelic SAYS...

        Wendy, I love this quilt SO much, and enjoyed your journey in piecing and quilting it with such avid interest, I named the blocks: (!) Scrappy Stripes; (2) Life Saver; (3) Thousand Islands; (4) Doe-See-Doe; (5) Napa Valley Vinyard; (6) Indian Corn; (7) Strawberry Short-Lake; (8) Daffodils Squared; (9) Goldfish Candy Kiss; (10) Rosewater Iris; (11) PolarBerry Popsicle; (12) Cherry Cross Station; (13) Yellow Brick Road; (14) Bahamas Blueberry; (15) Fairy Garden; (16) Sky Poppies; (17) Spring Carrots; (18) Wide Sargasso Sea; (19) Pink SnoBall Donut; (20) Grape Ape Envy. I aspire to make one one day!

  4. Susan SAYS...

    Hi, Wendi, Well, I have finally gotten around to starting the controlled chaos quilt. Last week, I went through my stash scraps and sorted some colors that I liked then I cut then into 2.5 squares. I am making 16 blocks instead of 20 so I decided to go with a larger square. Anyway, I am have made two blocks already. I won’t get around to block three for a couple of weeks – vacation with grandchildren, BUT I am enjoying this so much…. It will be my unwinding time when I go back to work in August. Thank you, Wendi for a great pattern!
    PS 4 favorite squares put together with a border would make a cute baby quilt, but I bet you already figured that out. (-:

  5. barbara t. SAYS...

    I absolutely LOVE this quilt! I don’t usually get so psyched about quilts, but this is a MUST DO. Thank you so much for generously sharing the pattern and instructions with us.

  6. aNoQ6/UezucGProdw7G/uOg5X6VrI4xly3eCwWSLI1s= SAYS...

    Wendy,I loved this the minute I saw the first post. Thank you for your generosity in providing this . I want to try the big stitching as getting older, it is harder to manage my machine or my fingers!!!! Thanks again

  7. betty SAYS...

    I just love your quilt. I really intend on making one. Thanks so much for the pattern.

  8. Pingback: Friday Funday! Free Scrap Quilt Patterns – Quilt Therapy

  9. Jenedel Wilcox SAYS...

    I love big stitch quilting and am so happy to have found your video teaching a new to me method. Usually I do a block at a time then join them, because I have found it difficult to do a whole quilt. Your method makes that possible. I have taken simple applique designs and stitched the design with big stitches in variegated pearle cotton on light background. Thanks again.

  10. Bunni Rankey SAYS...

    What kind of thread do you use for your hand quilting?

  11. Annette SAYS...

    Absolutely wonderful inspiring you are so takented

  12. Anonymous SAYS...

    Love this quilt finished mine with big stitch quilting it’s beautiful thanks Wendi