Blue Improvisation: Mini Quilt #6

The last few weeks I have done mini quilts that were (for the most part) carefully planned before I ever started cutting fabric. This week I thought it would be a fun change of pace to do a small improvisational mini with fabric pulled entirely from my scrap bin.

Blue Improvisation Front

I started with two left over half square triangle blocks which a sewed together to form three sections including this larger hourglass block.

Blue Improvisation Detail A

This smaller hourglass block and oblong shape also came from the original block.

Blue Improvisation Detail B

The rest of the mini was formed by adding pieces from the scrap bin, trimming, and adding more pieces.  Even the backing and binding were created by piecing together scraps.  For the quilting, I continued the improvisational theme with wavy lines moving across the quilt.

Blue Improvisation Back

Quilt Stats

Title:  Blue Improvisation

Size: 12″x12″

Techniques:  Improvisational piecing

Quilting:  Improvised curvilinear lines using a walking foot on a Bernina 1008

Fabrics:  100% cotton prints, solids, and batiks:  All pulled from my scrap bin

Batting:  White and Natural cotton batting

Thread:  Pieced with white Gutermann Mara 100.  Quilted with navy cotton machine quilting thread.

Binding:  2″ wide binding scraps, mostly cut on the bias.  Machine stitched to the quilt front and hand stitched to the back

What was new:

Using fabrics entirely from the scrap bin

Starting a project with an extra quilt block

Quilt 6 / 50

Quilt 6 / 50

Goal #5 is Finished!

Goal #5 is Finished!

I am linking this quilt up with Oh Scrap! at Quilting is More Fun Than HouseworkFinish it Up Friday at Crazy Mom Quilts, Whoop Whoop Friday at Confessions of a Fabric Addict, Scraptastic Tuesday at She Can Quilt, Sew Cute Tuesday at Blossom Heart Quilts, Let’s Bee Social at Sew Fresh Quilts, Needle and Thread Thursday at My Quilt Infatuation, and Show off Saturday at Sew Can She.


Valentine Tic-Tac-Toe: Mini Quilt #5

What could be more fun than a mini quilt?  Eleven mini quilts!  This week I decided to make the fun and games of Mini Quilt Mania into a real game!  This mini is a quilted version of tic-tac-toe with a Valentine’s Day twist.

Tic-Tac-Toe Quilt Set

The game board section section of the set is comprised of a grid of red echoed with this fun pink print.  The background of white Kona Cotton really shows off the echoing heart spiral quilting.

Quilt Front

The backing of the quilt is also white Kona, which shows off the pink quilting thread.

Back Quilting and Binding

One quilt isn’t enough for this week, so I made ten more mini quilts to act as game pieces.

Tic-Tac-Toe Set Bag

The five X’s for this game are square blocks made from half-square-triangles that are paired with one another then stitched and cut again along the opposite diagonal.

Square Game Pieces

I replaced the standard O’s of the game with five heart shaped pieces.  The inner hearts are fused using Wonder Under before being machine blanket stitched around the edges.

Heart Game Pieces

All of the game pieces were “bagged out” (stitched together with right sides of the fabric facing one another and then turned right side out through a small opening in the stitching) with a piece of cotton batting.  I had never tried this technique with batting before, and I was a bit concerned about the bulk around the edges of the pieces.  Fortunately, a row of edge stitching around each piece allowed them to lay flat.  The added bonus was that the edge stitching closed up the openings used to turn the pieces right side out.  No hand slip stitching on this project!

Game Pieces in Bag

To keep the game pieces together, I whipped up a cute little drawstring bag in matching fabric.  It is fully lined in the light pink cotton.

Bag Closed

Quilt Stats

Title:  Valentine Tic-Tac-Toe

Size:  Quilted Game Board- 16.5″x16.5″   Hearts and Squares- 3″x3″   Storage Bag- 5″x7″

Techniques:  Machine Piecing, Fusibles, Machine Applique, Bagged-out shapes

Quilting:  Machine quilted.  Game board- Heart shaped spiral.  Heart Pieces- heart shaped ech0.  Square Pieces- diagonal orange-peel shapes

Fabrics:  100% Cotton fabrics including Kona Cotton in White, Marble Dot from Moda, a Suzy Ultman print for Robert Kaufman, and a Nancy Halvorsen design for Benartex

Batting:  Scraps of Warm and White and Warm and Natural

Thread:  Pieced using Gutermann Mara 100 in White and Magenta. Machine embroidery done with Mettler Cotton Machine quilting thread in Magenta.  Quilted with Connecting Threads Essential Thread in Magenta.

Binding:  Marble Dots from Moda, cut on the bias in 2″ strips.  Machine stitched to the front of the quilt, hand stitched to the back

What Was New:

Creating an interactive game in quilt form

Bagging out small quilt pieces with batting included

Quilt 5 / 50

Quilt 5 / 50

Goal #4 is Finished!

Goal #4 is Finished!

I am linking this quilt up with Finish It Up Friday at Crazy Mom Quilts, Whoop Whoop Friday at Confessions of a Fabric Addict, Sew Cute Tuesday at Blossom Heart Quilts, Let’s Bee Social at Sew Fresh Quilts, Needle and Thread Thursday at My Quilt Infatuation, and Show Off Saturday at Sew Can She.  Please stop by to see everyone’s lovely work!

Triple Heart: Mini Quilt #4

I had originally planned to post this sweet little mini quilt a bit closer to Valentine’s Day, but ultimately decided that there may be someone who could draw inspiration for their own heart-based endeavors in the coming weeks!

Triple Heart Front View


I recently did a quilt with a lot of hexagons that were made by cutting a circle and folding the edges in to create the hexagon shape.  In creating these pieces, I became curious about how these shapes would look if I omitted the final fold.  The result is a vaguely ice-cream-cone-shaped piece.  Two of these together make an adorable heart!

  1. To make these shapes you will want to start with a circle.  I used a container from a round of Brie cheese, but this technique will work with any size circle.
  2. With the wrong side of the fabric out, fold the circle into quarters to find the center point of the shape.
  3. With a needle and knotted basting thread, catch 1-2 threads at the tip of the fold and pull the thread through to the knot.
  4. Unfold the circle with the wrong side of the fabric facing up and your thread coming up from the center of the circle.
  5. Take a small stitch at a point on the outer edge of the circle.  You will want to insert the needle as close to the edge of the fabric as possible without the stitch pulling out of the cut edge.  The needle goes in on the wrong side of the fabric and emerges on the right side.
  6. Now pull the thread through, bringing the edge of the circle to meet the center.  Press the fold you have created with your fingers.
  7. At the end of the fold you just created, take another stitch and pull that point on the edge of the circle to the center.  Finger press this fold, and take another stitch at the end of it.  Pull this point into the center.
  8. Continue around the circle in this manor until you have an ice-cream-cone-shape.
  9. Knot off your basting thread or backstitch at the center point and take the shape to the ironing board to give it a good press.

Triple Heart Construction InstructionTo form the center design, place the shapes right side together and whip stitch them together.

Whip Stitching

You will end up with a shape that looks like this.

Triple Heart Shape The back is almost as pretty!

Heart Medallion Back View I was originally planning to hand appliqué the shape to the background, but after thinking it over, I decided the hearts needed some additional emphasis in the form of more decorative stitches.  I liked using decorative machine stitches on Fibonacci on the Seashore, and I was eager to experiment with using machine stitching for appliqué.  For this project, I used a blanket stitch in a different color to stitch around the edge of each heart.

Blanket Stitch Detail

The hearts in this project are created without using curves, and I selected a gridded background for the piece.  Given all the linear aspects of this mini, I thought it would be interesting to make the overall shape a circle.  The radius for this 4.5 inches.

Triple Heart Back View

The hearts are quilted a quarter inch inside the appliqué.  The background is a radiating hexagon shape, with diamonds filling in the gaps.  The binding matches the background and backing, and I love the linear effect.  It was worth the effort I made to match up the design.

Binding and Blanket Stitch Detail

Quilt Stats

Title:  Triple Heart

Size:  9″x9″  (circumference is about 28- 1/4″)

Techniques:  Hand piecing, folded “hexagons” (without the final fold), Machine appliqué

Quilting:  Machine Quilted.  Hearts: Offset quilting 1/4″ inside the edge  Background: Spiraling hexagon

Fabrics:  Background from Carolyn Friedlander’s Doe line.  Hearts are 100% cotton prints and batiks.

Batting:  Warm and White cotton batting

Thread:  Pieced by hand using Magenta Gutermann Mara 100 (and Thread Heaven); Machine appliquéd with red, magenta, and violet Cotton Mettler Quilting Thread; Quilted with navy cotton machine quilting thread; red, magenta, and violet Cotton Mettler Quilting Thread.

Binding:  Bias strips cut at 2 inches, machine straight stitched to the back, machine blanket stitched to the front.

What Was New:

  • A round quilt!
  • 5- sided “hexagons”
  • Machine appliqué with a blanket stitch
  • Finishing the binding on the front with a machine blanket stitch
Quilt 4 / 50

Quilt 4 / 50

Goal #3 is Finished!

Goal #3 is Finished!

I am linking this post up with Thank Goodness It’s Finished Friday at From Bolt to Beauty, Finish It Up Friday at Crazy Mom Quilts, Show Off Saturday at Sew Can She, Needle and Thread Thursday at My Quilt Infatuation, Fresh Sewing Day at Lily’s Quilts, and Whoop Whoop Friday at Confessions of a Fabric Addict.  I hope you take a moment to see all of the wonderful work being created!

New Blogger Series

Implied Spiral: Mini Quilt #3

Mini Quilt Mania continues this week with Implied Spiral which is the third mini quilt finish for the year!

Implied Spiral Mini Quilt Front

Implied Spiral: Front View


I started this week by doing some drafting for a theatrical scenic design which included two spiral staircases.

Initial Stages of Spiral Staircase Drafting

The first thing I do when drafting a staircase is to rough in the stair placement, and it occurred to me that this type of visual may be an interesting inspiration for a quilt.  I especially like seeing several spiral staircases together (like in the step by step image above)  When looking at a spiral staircase from the front, the stair placement shifts from one side of center to the other.  I sketched designs with and without the central post, but ultimately decided I liked the simplicity of the design without a separate vertical design element.  I did, however, want to emphasize the shift from one side of the quilt to the other.  This is how I decided to use a color shift to define the vertical areas of the design.

I started a pair of bright colors for the background with a single, sharply contrasting color for the stairs.  Then I experimented with a black and white version in which the stair and background colors would reverse on each side.  Finally, I combined the two ideas by using a consistent “stair” color with contrasting background colors.

Implied Spiral: Color Options

I enjoy using complementary color schemes, and blue with orange is one of my favorites.  In looking through my stash, I was happy to discover some Carolyn Friedlander prints.  The architectural feel she uses in many of her designs reinforces the architectural influence of this design, and I had the same print in both the white and blue color ways.  Another fabric from her line is used for the orange “stair steps.”

Implied Spiral Detail

Implied Spiral: Detail

I made up a quick cut list and layout for the design to help in translating the design from the computer to fabric.

Cut List for Implied Spiral

Once the quilt top was assembled, I selected a blue from the stash to serve as a background.  I knew I wanted to do heavy horizontal quilting, so I thought a solid would show off the stitching without competing with it.

Implied Spiral Mini Quilt Back

Implied Spiral: Back

The quilting lines are mostly orange, but I did incorporate two white stitching lines through each “stair.”

I wanted to create a sense of continuity in the application of the quilt binding, so I chose to split the binding fabrics at the center line of the quilt.

Implied Spiral Binding Detail

Implied Spiral: Binding Detail

I like the linear simplicity of this quilt, and I may create a longer version to function as a modern table runner.

Quilt Stats

Title:  Implied Spiral

Size: 12″x25″

Techniques:  Traditional piecing

Quilting:  Tightly spaced horizontal lines

Fabrics:  Front and Binding- Carolyn Friedlander prints.  Back- Blue solid from stash fabric

Batting:  Scrap of Cotton/Polyester blend

Thread:  Pieced with white Gutermann Mara 100.  Quilted with orange cotton Mettler and white cotton machine quilting thread

Binding:  Straight grain binding, cut in 2″ strips, machine stitched to the quilt front and hand stitched to the back.  Binding color shifts to match the background fabric.

What was New:

  • Using fabric from one designer for an entire quilt design
  • Matching binding to the background fabric
Quilt 3 / 50

Quilt 3 / 50

Goal #2 is Finished!

Goal #2 is Finished!

I am linking this post to Finish it Up Friday at Crazy Mom Quilts, Show Off Saturday at Sew Can She, Sew Cute Tuesday at Blossom Heart Quilts, Let’s Bee Social at Sew Fresh Quilts, Needle and Thread Thursday at My Quilt Infatuation, and Whoop Whoop Friday at Confessions of a Fabric Addict.  Please drop by to see all of the wonderful work being done!

Fibonacci on the Seashore: Mini Quilt #2

This week, I set out to create a snow inspired wintery-beyond-belief mini quilt.  That did not happen.  There were unexpected technical difficulties that I have not been able to resolve yet.  I still have a couple options to explore to make this work, but I need to track down some supplies.  This quilt is not eliminated (although the original design may end up altered), so I will share those challenges when I write about the finished mini quilt.

If I can’t play in the (fabric) snow this week, I decided to celebrate the beach!

Fibonacci on the Seashore

Fibonacci on the Seashore: Front View


The Fibonacci spiral has long been inspiring to me as a designer.  I am fascinated that art can be derived from mathematics, but since I am definitely not a mathematician, I will not be going into any specific details about how it works!  The Fibonacci spiral is based in a grid which starts with a square which is duplicated.  Then those two squares together determine the length of the sides of the next square. Now the size of all of these squares determine the side length for the next square.  This can continue on forever if you want it to!  This gridded image shows the basis for the spiral.

/Users/cassandra_ireland/Desktop/Quilt/Quilt Designs A.dwg

To get the spiral, you draw a quarter circle in each square.

/Users/cassandra_ireland/Desktop/Quilt/Quilt Designs A.dwgFor my mini quilt I started with two 1″ square blocks, and added 2″, 3″, 5″, and 8″ blocks.  Each block is essentially like sewing a Drunkard’s Path block, but the illusion created due to the size shifts is like a seashell.

Fibonacci on the Seashore with Grid Overlay

I selected subtly colored batiks with the thought of having the quilting thread inject a bold moment of color to the shell.  There are six different blue, pink and lavender batiks used to create the “Shell” and the “Sand is created with one batik which is both incorporated into three of the blocks as well as the border strips.

Fibonacci on the Seashore: Detail

Fibonacci on the Seashore: Detail

I quilted the “shell” first using a silver metallic thread as well as bright pink and purple.  This was done using the walking foot, but I shifted to free motion quilting to create “pebbles” in the sand.  My free motion quilting is definitely a work in progress, but this is a vast improvement over past attempts.

Fibonacci on the Seashore Detail 2

The back of this quilt is another batik print that I selected to incorporate both the yellow of the sand and the blue tones of the shell (as well as implying water).  I think the quilting on this piece makes the back as interesting as the front, although in hindsight, I wish I had used a batik with a less rigid pattern.

Fibonacci on the Seashore: Back View

Fibonacci on the Seashore: Back View

The binding is another purple batik that I selected to: (1) Draw the purple used in the center of the quilt out to the edge, and (2) play off the yellow of the sand fabric- I seriously love using complementary colors.  To create a greater sense of definition in this quilt, I used a decorative stitch to secure the binding and enhance the spiral shape.  I liked using this technique of finishing the binding, and now I wish a had a few more options on my wonderful little mechanical machine!

 

Fibonacci on the Seashore: Binding Detail

Fibonacci on the Seashore: Binding Detail

Quilt Stats

Title:  Fibonacci on the Seashore

Size: 12″x16.5″

Techniques:  Curved Machine Piecing

Quilting:  Outline and curved quilting using a walking foot, and free motion pebbles in the background.  All quilting was done on a Bernina 1008

Fabrics:  Batiks (I have never done an all batik quilt before!)

Batting:  Warm and White cotton batting

Thread:  Pieced with Gutermann Mara 100 in white.  Quilted with Light Blue cotton machine quilting thread, Gutermann Silver Metallic thread, and Mettler cotton quilting threads in Magenta and Purple

Binding:  Blue and Purple batik- cut in 2″ strips, machine straight stitched to the front, top stitched to the back, and accented with purple decorative stitches.

What was new:

  • An entirely batik quilt
  • Using bright quilting threads on a pastel background
  • Trying out metallic thread for machine quilting (I need to explore other thread and needle options for use in the future- Does anyone have suggestions?)
  • Decorative stitching for quilting and securing binding
Quilt 2 / 50

Quilt 2 / 50

Finish #1

Goal #1 is Finished!

This post is linked with Sew Cute Tuesday at Blossom Heart Quilts.  Please stop in to see all of the wonderful creations that have been shared!