Ahh! Summer is upon us! My daughter has mere days left of school before summer break is officially here! That means all three kids home all day, every day, which in turn means time to take lots of day trip adventures! Summer also means lots more opportunity for slow stitching, and a need to have some hand stitching available at all times. We all know that the day I forget my handwork will be the day all three kids somehow fall asleep in the car on the way to some adventure!
My portable hand stitching kit this summer consists primarily of English Paper Piecing (EPP) hexies and some experimental embroidery-quilting projects.
After a lull in my Carolyn Friedlander modern hexies project progress, I’m ready to pick it up again and baste more hexies! While 2 1/2″ squares work just fine for EPP hexagons, I really enjoy the neatness that starting with a hexagon of fabric provides.
A lovely stack of fabric hexagons ready to baste. I need to cut a few more cardstock templates, but this will do for now!
I am also continuing to add embroidery quilting to my Rainbow Hex Star mini, as well planning a couple small embroidery quilting experimental projects. My goal is to find a way to get the back to look as neat as the front. Practice, right?
Slow stitching on the go is not the only slow stitching I’m looking forward to this summer! I’m also officially registered for the Slow Stitching Retreat hosted by Sam at A Gathering of Stitches this August. I can’t wait to slow down and sew with Sam, Chawne Kimber, and Alison Glass. I’m doubly excited since I will also be leading yoga on the retreat! Just imagine… slowing down, breathing deeply, stretching out, learning from amazingly talented and inspirational quilters, and slowly stitching in the sun, rocking on the rocking chairs out on the porch in the calm, cool woods of Maine. You can read about my experience dropping in on a day of this retreat last summer HERE. I am very much looking forward to spending the full four days rejuvenating my soul with some slow stitching in inspired creative company. Are you coming!? I sure hope so!
It’s no secret that Carolyn Friedlander is one of my favorite fabric designers. Last year, I made an entire quilt featuring her Doe fabric line, with cameos from Botanics and Architextures. But as her new fabric lines come out and continue to coordinate so well with her originals, I decided I wanted a quilt that truly showcased her varied and gorgeous fabrics. What better than a Modern Hexies mini quilt using Nicole at Modern Handcraft’s fabulous method?!
Now, I’m already putting myself up against a wall a bit, since I began this project after Architextures became all but extinct. I’m hoping, though, with a bit of luck and a few insider tips, I can eventually acquire at least a 2 1/2″ square of each of the fabrics from Architextures.
Through the #getyourquiltywishesgranted event on Instagram a few months back, I obtained a few more archaic Architextures prints, as well as the Carkai mini charms I’ve nearly made into hexies. I’m on my way!
I already have basted hexagons from all of Botanics and most of Carkai. I have some scraps left from my Doe quilt, so I’ll see where that brings me and go from there.
I think I will make a few more hexies before ultimately deciding whether to back the hexies in my favorite Essex yarn dyed linen in charcoal, or to stick with solid white. Perhaps I’ll be crazy and use one of the still easily attainable text prints from Architextures as the background. Time will tell.
If you have any tiny (2 1/2″ square at least) scraps of Carolyn’s Architextures fabric, please let me know if I can persuade you to send them my way! I will be happy to compensate with fabric, chocolate, or cash money. And of course gratitude. Lots and lots of gratitude.
I thought I would link up with Lee’s Work in Progress Wednesday, but it appears I’ve been out of the WiP loop long enough to have missed that she’s taking a (potentially permanent) break from her link up. Oops! Still check out her blog at Freshly Pieced since she’s always making something gorg! I’m also going to go wild and link up with Molli Sparkles’ Sunday Stash since I’m finally sharing my new CF acquisitions.
You can see my quilts in both the Large Quilts and ROYGBIV categories. I had a bit of silly fun trying to get a photo of my large quilt entry, Unlocked, next to the mini mini Modern Hexies quilt, my ROYGBIV entry. My son Max was excited to help out like Daddy, but is also a super silly three year old.
I managed to get a few photos before he ran off flapping the mini mini like a wing, flying over the muddy driveway, as I panicked and thought, “What was I thinking!?”. Fortunately, no quilts were harmed or dirtied during this photo shoot, and calm was somehow maintained.
You can read more about each of these quilts in my entry posts:
This mini mini quilt makes me giggle. The English paper pieced hexies are 1/4″ each, and were hot-iron-basted in lieu of thread or glue due to their size. I then carefully removed the cardstock templates and followed this awesome tutorial by Nicole at Modern Handcraft to attach the hexies to the mini mini quilt, which finishes at 4 1/2″ square (18″ around–it would easily fit into the mini quilts category, too!).
I love how teeny tiny the hexagons are, and how well the diagonal quilting worked despite slight wonkiness due to their teeny size. I quilted with 50wt Aurifil thread in 2600-Dove, using the walking foot on my Bernina 560.
A single-fold binding with my favorite neutral from Carolyn Friedlander’s Botanics line finished this quilt in a subtle way, letting the rainbow hexagons be the stars. I really love this mini mini quilt and had such a fun time shrinking the pattern as much as my adult fingers could manage.
The toothpick for scale in this process photo helps you see exactly how tiny these hexagons are!
Just one more peek with a US quarter after quilting. Such cute little hexies!
Lately, I’ve been sucked into the world of mini mini quilts, sparked by an Instagram post by my quilty blogger friend Michelle Bartholomew. The Mini Mini Quilt Swap, as far as I can tell, is an open swap of teeny tiny quilts (finishing usually between 3 – 5 inches square). It’s entirely independent, and up to you or a partner to send the invitation to swap, on you and your swap partner’s own set timeline, and open to as much fun and interpretation as you want. As Yvonne from Quilting Jetgirl said, it’s the perfect “Squirrel!” activity for quilters.
I have a big project to fini…. Squirrel! Off to the world of mini mini quilts.
I’ve finished four mini mini quilts so far and have at least two (more like three or four) in progress. You can see my mini minis in progress HERE. I have promised mini mini quilts to 9 people and have received 4 (5, technically, since Allison sent me two!) so far. They are a perfect little brain-rest in between bouts of completion on larger projects.
The first mini mini quilt I finished was inspired by Chawne Kimber’s Roberta quilts and her idea to sew SMALLER (check #sewSMALLER on Instagram to find her amazingly tiny and detailed quilting @cauchycomplete). I had played around with the idea after meeting Chawne and seeing her amazing work in person at the Slow Stitching Retreat hosted by Sam of A Gathering of Stitches this summer, and this mini mini was originally one of my play pieces. Michelle claimed it, I quilted it with a spiral and bound it with as much skill as an elephant threading a needle.
As my first mini mini quilt bound, I was silly and tried a normal binding method, except thought it would be a good idea to join the binding at a corner (like a miter, right!?). Trust me, don’t do that. I’m seriously strongly considering ripping off the binding and giving it another go. In fact, I think I will. Sorry, Michelle, it will be a bit longer before your mini is in the mail.
The second mini mini I finished is for Yvonne, who said she liked rainbows and that I could have free reign. I first made the rainbow strips 1/4″ wide, but it ended up far too large.
So I channeled Chawne and sewed smaller… these finished rainbow bars finish at about 3/16ths of an inch. In my typical style, this mini is rainbow with a black/grey contrast (it’s either that or low volume, right!?).
I added a little meticulously cut bit of Medrona Road that says “a place to call home”. Without going into too much detail, one of the projects Yvonne is undertaking in an ongoing manner is her Reclamation Project, where she creates quilts with a personal statement. As she says, she “decided to take seeds of inspiration I found in song lyrics to create my own unique poetry in the form of a simple haiku. Once I had derived my own original work, my goal was to use my poetry as design inspiration for a mini quilt.” (from her Reclamation Project intro) From these projects, and through knowing Yvonne for nearly 2 years (really!?), I know that Yvonne has moved quite a bit in her life. I mean this mini mini quilt as a positive reminder that now that she’s found quilting, she will always have a place to call home. Home is where your sewing machine is, right?!
I quilted this mini mini with 50wt Aurifil 2600 – Dove around the text, and then used 12wt Aurifil in coordinating colors to hand quilt a single stitch above and below each rainbow bar. I think it’s the perfect amount of quilting to bring out the colors without detracting from the overall clean aesthetic of the quilt. I hope Yvonne loves it!
Next, I attempted my first improv and resulted in this mini mini. I love the scrappy binding and the gold 50wt Aurifil works great to bring out the pops of gold in the quilt. This mini mini is not yet claimed, but I figure I will make a few more and then email the folks with whom I agreed to swap and let them choose a mini mini of their liking.
Finally, I made what is perhaps my favorite mini mini to date: my ultra tiny modern hexies mini mini, with 1/4″ EPP hexagons glued and sewn according to Nicole at Modern Handcraft‘ awesome Modern Hexies tutorial, and finishing at 4 1/2″ square.
I wasn’t sure if these tiny hexies would work, but with forgoing actual basting (I just used a hot iron and Flatter to press the fabric around each tiny cardstock template), and using a toothpick for fine-tuning placement, it all worked quite smoothly! I quilted with 50wt Aurifil 2600 – Dove and bound in one of my favorite Carolyn Friedlander prints from her Botanics collection.
Now that I’ve bound four of these mini minis, I think I’m beginning to get the hang of a method that works. A single fold binding, joined before it’s attached to the quilt, and sewn to the back before top stitching to the front seems to work the best for me. As you can see, the bottom left corner of the modern hexies mini is a *bit* mis-calculated, but the rest of it is spot on. I’m planning to send this one to Jennifer at Little Black Cat quilting, since it’s somewhat inspired by the gorgeous mini mini she made for me!
My sewing progress check-ins have been scarce lately, but I have been doing a little bit of sewing. Some consists of projects that I can’t quite show yet, but some consists of literal little bits of sewing: mini mini quilts. The mini mini quilt swap idea has certainly blossomed since my first post about the mini mini I received from Michelle, and it seems that I’ve spread the bug to quite a few of you (Yvonne, Allison, and Jennifer are three who I know have jumped onto the mini mini quilt conga line–it’s a party, afterall!–but I’m sure there are more!). I’ve also agreed to a lot of swaps, but with a relaxed deadline. Many of you swappers asked me to make something I love. I know myself well, though; if I let the momentum go, it *might* be tough to get going again. So I decided to make a few mini minis, trying out techniques or ideas that I wanted to try. Here is a sampling of mini minis in progress, new and old.
This collection includes two “old” mini minis–a foundation paper pieced snail house that I designed a year or so ago for a mini house along, and is actually a large-sized mini mini at 5″ (top right); and, another practice go at small stitching that I created upon returning from the Slow Stitching retreat, inspired by Chawne Kimber (bottom left). There’s also the beginnings of another not-yet-fully-formulated mini mini in those pink donuts (bottom center), my first attempt at improv (bottom right), and a couple rainbow strip remnants that I made while creating Yvonne’s mini mini, which is finished and you’ll hopefully see on Friday (top left). Here are some closer looks.
My first attempt at improv was actually an interesting exercise on two levels. It was inspired by a solid improv mini mini Yvonne was creating, which appealed to me since it looked like improv with intention. The 4″ block consists of four 2″ blocks, each built in a wonky, triangular, log cabin-esque style with the same five fabrics and sewn together. I figured it was as good a place to start my journey into improv as any, and gave it a go. My end feelings were, “Meh” but the response on Instagram was overwhelmingly in the other direction. The photo received 118 “likes” and many comments along the lines of “beautiful!” and “love love LOVE”. This struck me as funny, but is yet another indication that we all have our styles, and what may seem “meh” to you might be absolute visual perfection to another! So I will quilt this up and swap it with someone who hopefully loves loves LOVES it.
This mini snail house is really quite cute, and I’ve been trying to figure out what to do with it. It’s clearly time to quilt it up as a mini mini and see who claims it first.
The first rainbow strip I made was far too large to use in a mini mini, since it had 1/4″ strips of color and black. When I switched to 3/8ths of an inch and a few less colors, it turned out perfectly. I’m intent on using both of them in mini minis, somehow.
Sew smaller, Chawne said. Sew smaller, I did.
Finally, as of yesterday, I have begun another mini mini quilt. I’m honestly astounded that it actually worked, but I’m resisting the urge to latch onto a new obsession and make multiples of this one. I present to you: Modern Hexies, Crazy Mini Mini Edition.
I used the fabulous Modern Hexies tutorial by Nicole at Modern Handcraft, and just shrunk it down to 1/4″ EPP hexagons. Instead of actually basting the teeny hexagons, I used Flatter by Soak and pressed the dickens out of them with a hot iron. Astoundingly, I didn’t even burn my fingers, although I don’t know how.
I am loving how this one is turning out, and can’t wait to finish it! The toothpick helped with little adjustments while gluing, and is a good size reference.
I’m sneaking in one last post before I disappear for a few weeks on a much needed vacation & blogging break. I finished the mini quilt I’m making for my partner in the Schnitzel and Boo Mini Quilt Swap, and I just have to share! I have loved working on this quilt, and I’m pretty certain my partner will love it, too! Nicole at Modern Handcraft has a wonderful tutorial on this short-cut hexagon quilting method. I’ve done some blogging (and a lot of Instagramming) about my progress on the quilt, which you can read here and here.
Are you ready for a total photograph color explosion? Okay, good. I took a LOT of photos of this baby, and in my usual style I can’t choose just one.
Finished quilt stats:
Name: Modern Hexies Mini Quilt (for Schnitzel and Boo, Round 3) Size: 24″ x 18″ Fabric: Hexies are primarily Anna Maria Horner’s True Colors collection, with supplements from my stash (including but not limited to Carolyn Friedlander’s Botanics, Timeless Treasures Sketch, other Anna Maria Horner fabrics); backing Kona Snow; binding is Carolyn Friedlander’s Leaves in Charcoal from Botanics. Quilting: Straight-line quilted through each hexagon, lines 1″ apart Thread: Aurifil 50wt 2615 – Aluminum (light grey) and 28wt 2000 – Light Sand in the bobbin Finished: December 2014 Related blog posts: Schnitzel and Boo Mini Quilt Swap: I’m in!, A Mini Sneak Peek, Modern Hexies Mini Progress
One of the secret projects I have in progress is actually not entirely secret. It’s for the Schnitzel and Boo Mini Quilt swap. I suppose I can share all of my progress photos, I just can’t say for whom the quilt is being made! We’ve had a long string of uncharacteristically dark days here in midcoast Maine (it usually snows every few days with lots of sun in between), so I’m sharing photos taken with my iphone. Instagram has a wonderful array of filters and adjustments that help bring out the light and color in an otherwise dark space. Many (all?) of these are repeats from my Instagram feed, so I apologize to those of you who also follow me on IG. Just think of it as an inspiration flash-back de ja vu color explosion!
I cut out my chosen ones, and was all ready to EPP some more gorgeous hexies.
Next, I played around with layout and decided upon an Instagram-approved arrangement. It was decided that the bottom right dark blue-white hexagon would be best removed. I had been struggling with it already, upset that I didn’t have the perfect transition fabric to make it “work” in the flow, but hearing other IG friends and quilters suggest removing it helped me make the final decision. Out it went.
Next, it was time to start actually gluing! Yipes!
Nicole atModern Handcraft’s tutorial is fantastic. This is such a simple and “easy” method, yet the outcome is so fabulously gorgeous. I love the aesthetic of the borders between each hexagon, and the range of possibilities is endless. I didn’t have the suggested Aleene’s Fabric Fusion glue, so I used Fabri-Tac, which I had already. Boy was it a stinky and stringy experience! The glue would bubble up on the tip of the bottle by the time I got the next hexagon trimmed and de-papered, so it was quite a sticky process. Next time, I will definitely try Aleene’s, since I love the all-purpose glue for just about any other craft project. Sticky stink aside, I finally got all 44 hexies glued down, in a little over two hours.
I layered, basted, and was all ready for quilting! I only got a few passes done with the quilting before my sewing window ended for the day, but I’m very happy with my progress. I can’t wait to see this quilt completed, and I definitely will be making another one (or ten) in the future!
Update: I have finished the quilting and I’m getting ready to bind! I will show the quilt in its full completion after the recipient has received it (most likely… maybe sooner if I just can’t wait!).
Question for those of you who have participated in mini quilt swaps before: Do you stitch on a hanging sleeve, or leave it as is in case the recipient would prefer to clip it or hang it in a different way?