Mini Quilt Mania 2015

I recently made my first mini quilt in many years, and I loved it!  Mini quilts are awesome because:

  • You can try a new technique without having to commit to a large quilt
  • They are a great way to use scraps or make a dent in your stash
  • It is super rewarding to have a project that you can produce quickly
  • A mini is like a sketchbook for a quilter!

Mini Mania 2015


Since we can now agree that mini quilts are marvelous, I am declaring that 2015 will be my year of the mini quilt!  This year I am going to attempt to make 50 mini quilts.  That means that every week (except for two weeks TBD) I am going to create a new mini quilt.  The requirements I am setting for myself are:

  • The term “quilt” will mean at least two layers of fabric with at least one layer of batting sandwiched between.  These layers will be held together using either hand or machine stitches.
  • A mini will be defined as any quilt which has a perimeter of 80″ or less.  (There is no minimum perimeter measurement)
  • The quilt may be any shape and proportion as long as size requirements are met.
  • All patterns will be original designs, but may be influenced by traditional blocks/patterns/designs (traditional meaning that these designs are old enough to be in the public domain) or a specific technique.
  • Provided the definition of a quilt is met, any and all techniques are fair game.  This could include, but is not limited to:  hand piecing, machine piecing, foundation piecing, needle turn appliqué,  machine appliqué, fusible appliqué, hand embroidery, machine embroidery, beadwork, hand quilting, machine quilting (either free motion or with a walking foot), whole cloth quilts, fabric dying and manipulation.
  • The completion rate for these quilts should average one per week, but quilts may be started at any time.  (I don’t have to start and finish a quilt in the same week)

What are your thoughts on mini quilts?  Do you love them? Hate them?  Have you ever given or received a mini as a gift?  Do you ever use mini quilts to experiment with a new pattern or technique?

I am linking this post up to the Small Blog Meet at Lily’s Quilts.  Please stop by to see what everyone is working on!

Mini Quilt Mania! Quilts

Mini #1

Happy New Year!  Mini Quilt

Fibonacci on the Seashore

Fibonacci on the Seashore

Implied Spiral

Implied Spiral Mini Quilt

Triple Heart

Triple Heart

Valentine Tic-Tac-Toe Set

Valentine Tic-Tac-Toe Set

Blue Improvisation Front

Blue Improvisation Mini Quilt

Repeat with a Twist Detail B

Repeat with a twist

Whole Cloth Mini

Whole Cloth Mini

 

Catch a Falling Star

Catch a Falling Star

Winter Trees

Winter Trees

π, pi, PIE!

π, pi, PIE!

Embellished Spring

Embellished Spring

Marsala Mini

Marsala Mini

Name Tag

Name Tag

Rainbow Roundabout

Rainbow Roundabout

Graffiti Feathers

Graffiti Feathers

Fruit Crush

Fruit Crush

April Showers

April Showers

Topsy Turvy

Topsy Turvy

Selvage Mug Rug

Selvage Mug Rug

May Flower

May Flower

Green Grass

Green Grass

Yellow Rays

Yellow Rays

Violet Calm

Violet Calm

Tiny Cottage Garden

Tiny Cottage Garden

Op-Art Grid

Op-Art Grid

Orange Segments

Orange Segments

Fading Floral

Fading Floral

Running Hot and Cold

Running Hot and Cold

Sashiko Min

Sashiko Mini

2015 Mini Quilt

As I began preparing posts for the upcoming year, I realized that there would be occasions I would need a general graphic or background image.  I considered creating a graphic from scratch in a photo editing program, but the more I thought about it, the more I wanted to create a quilt to use as a background image.  This is the quilt I designed.

2015 Mini Quilt Full


As I began sketching, the only major requirement I had of this design was a large area of negative space.  I knew that I would want to be able to easily place text over the image.  Ultimately I landed on a classic “Flying Geese” border design with separate corner blocks.

2015 Mini Quilt Line

When choosing colors, I had a few requirements:

  • The palette must be eye-catching even in a thumbnail scale
  • Text placed over the finished quilt image should be easy to read
  • I must like the colors
  • All fabrics must be readily available in my stash

White with shots of bright pink, red, violet, and orange fulfilled all of these requirements

2015 Mini Quilt Color Sketch

I paper pieced each corner block and border for the quilt top and then chose a bright red and orange dot for the back of this little quilt.

2015 Mini Quilt Back

I quilted the piece using diagonal lines approximately 1/2″ apart.  I am happy with the finished quilt, and I think I will be able to use it in a lot of different configurations.

  1. A corner border where text can be placed in the opposite corner2015 Mini Quilt Corner Detail
  2. A side border with text along the opposite side2015 Mini Quilt Side Detail
  3. A center only version that supplies texture, but no bright colors2015 Mini Quilt Center Detail
  4. And of course, the full quilt image2015 Mini Quilt Full

I am very happy with the cheerful color scheme, and I’m certain that this image will be making an appearance frequently in the coming year.

Quilt Stats

Title:  2015

Size: 8″x8″

Techniques:  Paper Piecing

Quilting:  Diagonal lines using a walking foot on a Bernina 1008

Fabrics:  Background- White Kona Cotton, Triangles- 100% cotton prints

Batting:  Warm and White cotton batting

Thread:  Pieced with Gutermann Mara 100 in white, Quilted with cotton machine quilting thread in white

Binding:  White Kona Cotton bias cut at 2″ wide, machine stitched to the quilt front, and hand stitched on the back

I am linking this post up with Let’s Bee Social at Sew Fresh Quilts, Finish It Up Friday at Crazy Mom Quilts, and Whoop Whoop Friday at Confessions of a Fabric Addict.  I hope you all have a wonderful New Year!

Quilty Resolutions 2015

I am excited to share my quilting goals for the coming year!  I usually avoid typical New Year’s resolutions that tend to involve a short term burst of motivation which quickly fizzles out.  What I can get behind is a statement of long term goals, but that sounds really boring, so “Quilty Resolutions” it is!

2015 Resolutions


Establish a Consistent Blogging Schedule:  I am new to the world of blogging, and I am still developing a schedule that allows for both ample sewing/quilting time and consistent posting.

Connect:  The biggest reason I wanted to start blogging is to reach out to the online quilting community.  I hope to connect to other bloggers as well as share my own projects.  I am also going to attend at least one local guild meeting, hopefully more if I find a group that is a good fit!

Mini Quilt Mania:  This goal is the single most labor intensive of the year.  The mini will become my quilter’s sketchbook!  I plan to make a mini quilt a week for the duration of 2015.  I will be posting more on this goal very soon.

Free Motion Quilting:  Of all quilting/sewing techniques, this is far and away the most challenging for me.  It has been a long time since I have been a complete beginner at any area of sewing, so I am finding it very difficult to remain patient with myself as I move forward on this journey.  I don’t expect my FMQ to be perfect by the end of the year, but it will be better.

Enter Quilt Shows:  I see shows as another means of connecting to the quilting community as well as sharing and inspiring one another.

Write Patterns and Tutorials:  I LOVE creating my own patterns, and I thoroughly enjoy sharing those designs with others.  In 2015, I hope to pass on the information to make some of these projects.

Teach a Quilting Class:  I taught college for a few years, and I hope that I can return to a classroom this year to teach quilting classes.

Make an article of Quilted Clothing:  I have spent most of my sewing life creating clothing, including a few quilted pieces.  I would like to return to my sewing roots to create wearable art!

This post is linked to 2015 Sewing Goals at PennyDog Patchwork and Quilty Resolutions at Quilting Jetgirl.  Please take a few moment to see what everyone hopes to accomplish in the coming year!

Holiday Gifts 2014

I hope you are all having a wonderful and joyous end of 2014!  Now that the gift giving portion of the holidays is winding down, I thought I would take a moment to share a few of the gifts I created for family members this year.

I love these tote bags!  I originally created the pattern for these a few years ago when I was teaching a class to college students involving beginning sewing techniques.  I have done some revisions, and I will offer a series of tutorials for developing your own version of this bag in January.  We will start with drafting your own pattern, and move through the entire construction process.  I hope some of you may want to join in the fun!

Tote Bag A

Tote Bags


 

I posted about these cord/coin pouches last week, but I love to see all six lined up and ready for my older nieces, nephews, and their significant others!

Cord Pouches

Cord/Coin Pouches

 

I gave my parents a joint gift, but I rounded it out with these potholders for my Mom.  They are improvisationally pieced and quilted, so each one is unique.  I quilted them with Insul-Bright and a layer of cotton batting, and chose fabrics that won’t stain very easily, so I hope she will be able to use them for years to come.

Oven Mitts - Front View

Oven Mitts – Front View

Oven Mitts - Back View

Oven Mitts – Back View

In retirement, my Dad has taken on a lot of the grocery shopping, and he is really good about taking reusable bags with him to the store.  Some of the store bags have seen better days, so I made a new one using the tote bag pattern I used for my sister’s gifts.  I used a double layer of denim for this bag and omitted the exterior pockets.  It seems really sturdy.  If this works well, I’ll have to make a few more!

Grocery Bag

Denim Grocery Tote

 

I hope you have all had a wonderful holiday season and are looking forward to a fabulous 2015!

 

I am linking this post to Santa’s Sweatshop Linky Party at Porch Swing Quilts and TGIFF hosted this week by Sew Fresh Quilts.  I hope you all take a few minutes to stop by and look at all of the lovely work being done!

Solstice Mini Quilt

I always get excited for Winter Solstice.  The last few weeks have been particularly dreary, and that coupled with the short amount of daylight everyday has made it feel like it is perpetually either dusk or night.  But solstice means we have made it to the shortest day of the year, and for the next six months we will have more daylight every day.  I felt like doing a little something to celebrate, so I designed this mini quilt.

Winter Solstice Quilt

Winter Solstice Quilt


I decided to feature evergreens since they are about the only sign of plant life this time of year in the midwestern US.  I also wanted to embrace modern shapes, and lately I have been thinking of doing something with a “Flying Geese” motif.  After some very rough sketches, I sat down to draft and eventually landed on this design.  The flying geese are paper pieced in wedges, with each triangle growing smaller as it reaches the top of the tree.  The Wedges are then joined with the background pieces to construct the overall pattern for the design.

Solstice Trees Line Drawing

Solstice Trees Line Drawing

Once the line drawing was done, I moved to color options.  I started with a standard landscape color scheme with green trees and blue sky, but quickly abandoned it.

Solstice Mini Quilt with "Standard" Color Scheme

Solstice Mini Quilt with “Standard” Color Scheme

Then I decided to try something monochromatic.

Solstice Mini Quilt in a Monochromatic Color Scheme

Solstice Mini Quilt in a Monochromatic Color Scheme

Then I went with something more high contrast and modern.

Solstice Mini Quilt in High contrast Modern Color Scheme

Solstice Mini Quilt in High contrast Modern Color Scheme

Finally, I realized that since I am thinking of this quilt as a celebration of Solstice, maybe I should embrace a dark background.

Solstice Mini Quilt with a Dark Background

Solstice Mini Quilt with a Dark Background

This is where I was wanting to go with project.  With a general color scheme decided, I went to raid the stash.  I had quite a few low volume prints and batiks in pale greys and blues, but the darker fabric proved more challenging.  In an effort to decrease her stash, my mom had given me pretty much free reign in her collection.  That is where I came across this fabulous piece of Hoffman woodblock print.  The photographs just don’t do this fabric justice- the color variation is delightfully subtle with a wide range of hues that played nicely with the low volume fabrics for the trees.

Solstice Quilt Fabric Selection

Solstice Quilt Fabric Selection

The block design for this quilt is about 18″ so I printed it out over several sheets of paper, taped them together, and cut out the pattern pieces.

Solstice Mini Quilt Paper Pattern Pieces

Solstice Mini Quilt Paper Pattern Pieces

I paper pieced the tree wedges and laid them out with the background pieces so I could keep all of the pieces in their appropriate orientations.

Solstice Mini Quilt with "Tree" wedges assembled

Solstice Mini Quilt with “Tree” wedges assembled

I assemble the quilt top by first joining each tree to the background piece to its right, and then sewing all of those pieces together.

Solstice Mini Quilt Top

Solstice Mini Quilt Top

I almost went with a single piece of fabric for the back of the quilt, but decided at the last minute to mix it up just a little bit.  I decided to echo the idea of the evergreen tree on the back of the quilt as well.  I cut unequally sized triangles from some of the low volume fabrics used on the front, and stitched them together to form a larger triangle.  Once this was inserted into the quilt back, it creates another version of an abstract evergreen tree.

Solstice Quilt Back View

Solstice Quilt Back View

The quilting design proved to be more of a challenge.  Since I wasn’t feeling particularly inspired, I printed off a few copies of my line drawings and started sketching some of my ideas.  At first I thought about doing straight horizontal lines.

Horizontal Quilting Design

Horizontal Quilting Design

Then I considered echoing the shapes of the trees.

Echo Quilting Design

Echo Quilting Design

Then I started thinking about doing some free motion designs.

Freemotion Quilting Designs

Free-motion Quilting Designs

Free-motion quilting is one of my great weaknesses, so I was a little hesitant.  I have only ever experimented using scraps of fabric and batting, so this was the first time for doing any of this type of work on something “real.”  Of all my possible quilting designs, I liked the swoops in the trees and the circles on lines in the background the best.  I took a chance on free-motion, and I think the swoops in the triangle of the trees and the wavy lines in the snow are coming close to being ok.  However, I wish I had practiced a lot more on quilting circles before attempting the background design.  I almost ripped it out to try again, but I decided to leave it.  I think I’ll keep this quilt as-is to serve as a “base line” piece.  In the coming year, one of my major goals is to improve my free-motion quilting, so hopefully I can come back to this quilt in a year and marvel at my improvement.  We all have to start somewhere!

Winter Solstice Quilt

Winter Solstice Quilt

Quilt Stats

Title:  Solstice Trees

Size:  17.5″x17.5″

Techniques:  Paper Piecing, Standard Piecing

Quilting:  Machine Free-Motion Quilting on a Bernina 1008

Fabrics:  Background-Hoffman woodblock print,  Trees and Ground- low volume prints and batiks

Batting: Warm and White cotton batting

Thread:  Pieced with Gutermann Mara 100 in grey, Quilted with cotton machine quilting thread in white and navy

Binding: Bias made from the background fabric- cut at 2″, machine stitched to the front, hand stitched on the back

What would I do differently?  Oh my goodness do I ever need to work on free-motion quilting!  Otherwise, I think this quilt would look great with the background also quilted in white, just like the trees.  I think it would look like snow falling amongst the trees.  I also may have left the background a single fabric- I wasn’t happy with the dark thread on the white tree shape.  However, I really liked how the white quilting showed on the back of the quilt.

Have a happy Solstice!

 

I am linking this post to Let’s Bee Social at Sew Fresh Quilts, Whoop Whoop Friday at Confessions of a Fabric Addict, Finish It Up Friday at Crazy Mom Quilts, Show off Saturday at Sew Can She, and A Very Merry Happy Holiday Linky Party at Quiltville’s Quips & Snips.  Please stop by to see all of the beautiful work everyone is producing!

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