Fully embracing Mini Quilts

If you are not on Instagram you probably are not aware of the flurry of mini quilt swaps that have been happening over the last year or so.   Hundreds and hundreds of mini quilts have been made a swapped all over the world and people’s homes now have walls adorned in beautiful little quilts.  After resisting for nearly a year, in February I finally signed up for my first mini quilt swap – the Cotton and Steel mini quilt swap.

I shared my first quilt for this swap a couple of months ago, including the paper piecing pattern I used for this quilt on my original post…….

Economy block mini quilt copyI liked it but I was not exactly what I wanted.  So I went back to the drawing board and came up with this beauty…

cotton and steel sampler mini quilt copyI loved making this 15 inch square sampler and shrinking all these quilt blocks down to 3 inches was fun.  Nearly all these blocks were paper pieced as I find it is the easiest way for me to get accuracy at this small size.

cotton and steel sampler close upI really loved putting this quilt together…and even found some prints I could fussy cut at this small size!

So with my Cotton and Steel mini done I felt the need to sign up for another mini swap… this time the Lizzy House mini quilt swap.  Now Lizzy House is my favorite designer… I love her prints. As so many of my quilts end up going to kids charities Lizzy Houses fun, modern novelty prints were an instant hit with me.

So what do you do when you have a huge collection of fabulous Lizzy House prints… you make hexagons of course…

lizzy house hexagon mini wipSo this is my Lizzy House mini work in progress.  The day I signed up for the swap I started making hexagons and once I had them all I had a blast arranging and re-arranging them until I had a layout I was happy with.

Lizzy House hexagon close upThis quilt has been so much fun to make…though a little tough on my hands as there has been a lot of hand sewing…

lizzy house hexagon cu I started making this mini before I had my partner details (yes I was that excited!).  After you sign up you get assigned a partner, you get sent a list of likes and dislikes and you can stalk them on Instagram so you can make something appropriate for them.  So as much as I love these hexagons, I was not sure it was totally up my partners alley… so I made another mini…

lizzy house NY beauty mini quilt..which is much more her style. This quilt is uses four different New York beauty patterns… and I love the unity of the similar shapes of the New York Beauty block combined with the disconnect of the different patterns pieces.

lizzy house NY beauty mini quilt detailI am sure my partner will love which ever mini I end up sending.  I have a couple more weeks before the quilts have to be sent and there is a chance I will change my mind again and make something else.  This is the joy of mini quilts…they are so quick and easy to make.

So I can now say I am a mini quilt addict, though I have controlled myself this month and not signed up for any more swaps…yet.

The last green star….

Welcome to Paper Piecing Monday….the final edition of the Green Star series…

fractured starThere is no rhyme or reason for my colour placement on this star… I just had fun and put scraps where ever they fitted.  Some how it seemed the thing to do with this the 20th star in the series.  Yep you read that right, I made 20 green stars and shared 20 patterns.

block partsI had a change of heart this week about how I wanted to layout of the stars in the final quilt, and so do not want to share anything yet.  I hope to play some more this week and have a WIP (work in progress) shot for you next week.

The last 8 inch star pattern can be found here…fractured star pattern.

Do not fret, paper piecing Monday will be back next week, but with something NON star related.

A modern baby quilt…

This week I finished the binding on my Paper Piecing Monday baby quilt.  I am so thrilled with how this quilt turned out…and how easy it was to make.

WQ Snowball baby quiltAs you can see the quilt used just four of my paper piecing Snowball patterns, and they really are the stars of the show.   My favorite block is definitely this one…

free paper piece patternBut you can find the free paper piecing pattern for all the blocks under the “Free Paper Piecing Patterns” tab if you want to make your own version.

pink snowball quilt detail 2To build out the quilt I cut a bunch of 6 1/2 square blocks from my black and white stash.  The blocks were just the perfect size so I could play with layout and see how I wanted the quilt to flow.

I originally started with the pink blocks running down the side of the quilt, but after some procrastination went for the layout I have now – one row below the paper pieced blocks and 5 above.

bw block detailI had some serious fun fussy cutting… this block in particular seemed so appropriate for a baby quilt…

favorite bw blockThe quilt could easily have been made longer by adding another row or two of black and white blocks but I liked the square format.

black and white blocksFor the quilting I ran straight lines down the quilt and then sewed intersecting vertical lines thru the paper pieced squares.

pink snowball quilt detailFor the back I used some fun pink number fabric and some black and white dots.  Nothing too fancy.  The binding was of course scrappy pink solids!

quilt backThis quilt is destined for an exciting life when my friends baby is born.  They are an amazing couple that lead a slightly unconventional life.  A traditional baby quilt was not going to do…

Quilt Details:

Technique:  Paper piecing and simple patchwork.
Block size:  12 inches
Quilt Size:  48 x 48 inches

A simpler green star…

Today’s paper piecing Monday I decided to keep it a little simpler – only  a four-part pattern!

free pape pieced patternWith this pattern you can decide to not do the pieced center part (just use one piece of fabric to cover the center triangle).  This give you a different looking star with less bulk in the center.

block piecesYou can find the free paper piecing pattern for this 8 inch block here…Stripey Star pattern.  Only a few more green blocks to go and then I can star putting this top together.


When your old life intersects with your new…

When the Modern Quilt Guilds of the Pacific Northwest were recently invited to submit quilts for a Quilt Show in August I was a little apprehensive.  The guild lines were that the quilts could use black, white and the shades of grey in between and as you can tell from my quilts I love colour.  We were allowed, if we wanted, to add one colour in one place but that was it.

I pondered this challenge for a month or so and then one day, as I was talking to an old friend it hit me what I could do.  You see in my previous life I was in film and a key essential tool in the camera kit was always a grey card.  This card was used to white balance and focus the camera (back in the old days before digital took over!).  A grey card would make the perfect quilt for this project….

So I found an image similar to the cards I used to use…

greyDid some crazy quilts maths… not something I usually do and not something that comes easily to me…

quilt mathsPulled some greys from my stash…

grey stashAnd went to work.  The end result was this…

WQ grey card quiltI am thrilled with how it turned out.  I was really impressed with the depth of my grey stash, which allowed me to do some fun colour graduation….

graduating greysI cheated a bit and used some black and white stripes for the focus bars… I was not going to be able to get that kind of sharp precision with piecing… (but it is driving me crazy that photos in this post seem out of focus unless you click on the image to enlarge it….@%*$#^! WordPress….AUGH!!!!!

grey card detailI also managed to get my favorite prints, Mirror Ball and Pearl Bracelets into the mix.  Now all I have to do is work out how I want to quilt it.  I was thinking of echoing the circle on the card in the quilting but that is as far as I have gotten so far.  I do know that I am going to add one tiny splash of colour in the binding.

I am really thrilled with this mini quilt (it is 36″ long by 28″ wide)… not because it is amazing or beautiful or revolutionary.  I love it because it has such meaning for me.  As I stepped out of my film career I stepped into quilting… and this quilt represents that life change for me.

Dealing with bulky seams….PP Monday style

After making my green star for this week I ummed and ahhed about whether to share it on the blog.  I love the star, but it suffers from the problem that a lot of paper piecing stars suffer from… a bulky center.

free paper pieced star blockIt is a fun star but the center is where 16 points of fabric meet, and as the star is only 8 inches square it makes for a lumpy middle.  Now this is a problem that I came across when I first started making paper pieced stars and there are a couple of tricks for minimizing the bulk.

1.  Iron seams open… ALL the seams are ironed open on my stars… and when the paper is removed I starch the seams so that all they want to do is stay open.

turning star partscompleted paper back2.  Remove the paper pattern in the corners BEFORE I sew all the pieces of the star together.

remove paperThis step means you are less likely to get paper stuck in the center joins… and so less bulk.

3.  Use tweezers to remove any excess paper that does get stuck….

tweezer actionThe only other trick is I have found that quilting through the bulk helps soften it, and with time, washing also softens it too.

Now there is only so much of the bulkiness you can effect… at the end of the day the bulk is there because so many seams are meeting at the same point. I personally think the visual effect of the stars are worth the extra bulk…

Now, if I have not turned you off this pattern, you can find the PDF here….turning star pattern.