Tag Archives: quilty friends

Let Your Heart Shine True: A Mini Quilt Finish

let your heart shine true mini quilt giftI recently finished and gifted this mini quilt to a fellow quilting friend as part of a small private swap, and now that it has been received, I can tell you all about it! I entitled it, “Let Your Heart Shine True”, and it’s meant to be a visual representation of the fact that the goodness in your heart shines through, despite any missteps, mistakes, wrong words, or other things we personally may feel will tarnish or cloud our good intentions. It was made for Yvonne of Quilting Jetgirl, who often reflects on her introverted personality and how it influences her day to day, both quilting and non. The design inception came after Yvonne posted a number of articles about the struggles of attempting social interaction as an introverted person. The articles mentioned a desire to have people understand your good intentions, even if the words or actions that emerged as a result of an uncomfortable social interaction as an introvert may have been less than smooth. I think we are all familiar with foot in mouth syndrome; at least I am!

let your heart shine true gifted mini quilt finishThis is my first attempt at a “statement quilt”, per se. My thought was that the quilt would show the large pieces on top as representing “people”, and the rippled reflection below being the public perception of the person. When mistakes are made, things are said in a not so clear way, or even just general awkward social interactions happen, those are the ripples that cause the reflection to be jarred and shaken. Yet despite the ripples and the jolted reflection, the heart remains intact and unbroken. If you lead with the heart, your good intentions ultimately must become known, no matter how many times you need to back pedal or rephrase things to clarify your meaning. I thought creating a statement quilt for Yvonne was fitting, since she has created a number of quilts as part of her Reclamation Project, which she describes as “a project series to explore discomfort in [her] life with the hope that [she] can reclaim and redefine.” I primarily create quilts as things of beauty, but I thought it would be fun to try to create one that is both beautiful and meaningful.

let your heart shine true detailThe construction of this mini quilt was a fun multi-step process. I began by needle-turn appliquéing the rounded pieces onto panels of background fabric. I cut the bottom pieces with an identical free-style rounded top, but with much longer length since I planned to cut and resew it many times. Once they were appliquéd onto the background fabric, I cut random, varied width strips from the bottom ones, off-set it enough to wobble but not extend beyond the width of the finished panel, and resewed it. Each one was cut and re-sewn six or seven times to create the rippled effect. Let me tell you–that first cut into the needle-turned mound was a bit nerve-wracking! It was another one of those times I just had to trust that the vision in my head would translate well to reality.

let your heart shine true mini quiltAfter rippling all three reflections, I squared each panel and sewed them together creating a horizon with a very narrow, approximately 1/8″ strip of solid orange fabric (Kona Persimmon, I think!). Yvonne’s favorite colors are blue and orange, which clearly influenced my fabric selection. I used some of our mutual favorite oranges from Carolyn Friedlander, and added some sketch by Timeless Treasures and an unknown solid from my early quilting days stash. I bound it in blue Mercury by Alison Glass, including a bit of framing while adding a bit from another mutually adored fabric designer.

For quilting, I knew I wanted to matchstick quilt the background, but have the lines become gradually further apart in the bottom half, similar to ripples becoming less dense the further from the source they extend. I matchstick quilted the background of the top portion with 50wt Aurifil 1320-Medium Teal. To keep my rows evenly spaced, I used a stitch length of 3.0 on my Bernina 560, and I carefully moved two stitches (with a three-stitch gap thrown in here and there for interest) between rows. For the bottom portion, I first matchstick quilted with the same 1320-Medium Teal 50wt Aurifil, but instead of making the rows two stitches apart like I did for the top portion, I increased the number of stitches by one between each row. I moved one stitch between the first and second rows, two stitches between the second and third rows, three stitches between the third and fourth rows, etc., all the way to the bottom of the mini quilt. I think at the bottom, each row was 19 or 20 stitches away from the previous row. Yes, it got a bit trickier to keep my quilting lines straight, but I eyeballed it and it turned out well. Organic lines were my goal, after all.

let your heart shine true matchstick quilting detailAfter that, the quilt begged for some more quilting, so I added random rows in yellow, gold, and orange for interest (40 wt 1135-Pale Yellow, 50 wt 5022-Mustard, and 50 wt 1154-Dusty Orange respectively). Both the top and bottom ended up pretty thoroughly matchstick quilted, but I really like the addition of the yellow, gold, and orange thread in the bottom, as well as the added interest of using a slightly heavier weight thread as the yellow. It reminds me of light reflecting off the ripples in a pond, which is perfect given the intention of the quilt.

After matchstick quilting this mini, I can certainly see why people are so drawn to dense quilting. It creates a whole new textural element to the quilt!

let your heart shine true mini quilt gift
One of my dedicated helpers. He really wanted his picture taken with this mini!
let your heart shine true mini quilt gift
My other dedicated helper, who helped by not crawling *too* far into the lake while we were photographing this quilt.

I’m really happy with the final result of this mini quilt–it pretty much looks exactly like I imagined. Yvonne is also happy with it, even though it took months for me to finally finish each part and mail it, so that makes for one happy exchange! The true joy in quilting is in the giving, and it feels really great to have been able to create a little daily visual reminder for Yvonne that as long as you lead with your heart, joy will be found.

I’m linking up with Crazy Mom Quilts Finish it up Friday, Needle and Thread Thursday, and TGIFF. I hope you have a joyful day!

Work in Progress: Cyclic Mini Mini

I’ve been debating whether to show you another mini mini quilt I’ve been oh-so-slowly working on over the past months, since I probably could wait until it’s finished to share. Then again, I love to share my process, and perhaps by showing you each step, you can better see what goes into my thought process as projects evolve. I also think that this project is a perfect example of “use the method that works best for you”. There are no hard rules in quilting, right!?

carolyn friedlander cyclic mini mini quilt progressI’m nearing the finish line with this little one. It features some of my favorite Carolyn Friedlander fabrics, with a goal of playing with transparency in a cyclic way. I created a mini 2″ square foundation paper pieced pattern for each quarter of this mini mini, resulting in about a 4″ square. I used the template I designed for accurate piecing of the center spokes, and then have used different methods for sewing the outer curves.

carolyn friedlander cyclic mini mini quilt progress traditional curved piecingOne of the fun perks of dragging projects out over obscene lengths of time (chuckle with me for a minute, here) is that it becomes a documentation of skill development. Two of the four curves were pieced using traditional curved sewing, and the wobbly, puckery wonk is indicative of my amateur curve abilities a few months ago. In fact, my original plan includes a needle-turn appliqué element over the curve, since I knew that it would most likely be something I would need to mask a bit (possibly a lot bit).

carolyn friedlander cyclic mini mini quilt progress You can see on the green quadrant that there is another dark curved piece added on top of the curve. That is needle-turned and does a fabulous job of covering the little inconsistencies of my tiny curved stitching. Use the method that works best for you, right!?

carolyn friedlander cyclic mini mini quilt progress six minute circle style curved sewingHowever, since completing the first two quadrants of this mini mini, I have learned and conquered the six-minute circle style method of curved piecing, which results in an amazingly smooth and seemingly flawless sewn curve, as demonstrated on that blue section shown above.

Quite a few people have asked about this method, and since I have not yet found a tutorial for curved (both improv and regular) stitching using this method, I’ve decided that I need to create a tutorial. I will share that as soon as I’m able! It is SUCH an amazing method that, while it takes a bit of extra time to execute, the final result is well WELL worth the effort. Especially for those of us who may not have fully mastered curved sewing just yet, or who have a particularly high desire for perfectionism in sewing. Or at least who delight in nearing perfection, since there is truly no such thing (and that’s ok!)

carolyn friedlander cyclic mini mini quilt progress I am currently contemplating the quilting for this mini mini, and am leaning toward some simple, large, hand stitching to secure the layers and add just a bit of interest. I also have some travel plans coming up, so as long as I can get the top prepared and layered, hand stitching might be just the thing to take with me on my trip. I’m really happy with how this is progressing, though, and I’m grateful as always for the patience of my quilty friends as I slowly process, evolve and execute my plans for their personalized mini minis. I’ll be sure to share the finished mini mini once I finally complete it.

I think using needle-turn appliqué to hide a weak point in my sewing is totally legit, don’t you? What little tricks do you use to help make your completed projects shine?

Make Modern Mini Mini Quilt Challenge: Finally, Mini Minis

Remember that mini mini quilt craze that spread like wildfire among quilty bloggers about eight months ago? Yeah, me too. The fun news is that with the recent feature in Make Modern magazine, the mini mini quilt spark is being fanned back into life with a Mini Mini Quilt Challenge. You can see a fun inspiration gallery of mini mini quilts in the recent issue of Make Modern (Issue 11), including a couple made by yours truly, and there’s a community wide challenge running now through June 20th to help inspire more mini mini madness. Read more about the challenge here, or check out the hashtag #MMminimini to see what creative mini mini quilts have been created thus far (and add your own to the pool!).

mini mini quilts with aurifil for scaleI’d like to say the mini mini quilts I’m sharing today are newly inspired and whipped up in response to this fun challenge, but no. I’ll be honest. I began both of these many, many months ago, and they were worked on at a snail’s pace, off and on. I’m almost embarrassed to share these finishes, since they have taken me so ridiculously long to finally finish. But I know that you understand, and that you would want to see the finished mini mini quilts even if it took over 8 months (gah!) for me to finally buckle down and finish them. So, without further delay, my latest mini mini quilt finishes:

Slow Growth

slow growth mini mini quilt finishThis mini mini quilt was made for Allison at Campbell Soup Diary (you can see the amazingly wonderful mini minis she made me here and here). When we first decided to exchange mini minis, she offered this as guidance: “As for colors that I like… AG grove in grass green is THE perfect shade! I tend towards pinks, purples, oranges, yellows, but generally stay away from blues unless it’s a really nice royal. Turquoise is great, but red is the one color that is almost always left out of my color palette. (don’t ask me why, but I even avoid it in my garden and my wardrobe) If given the choice between straight lines and wonky, I prefer straight. I love natural and soft shapes, but I also realize that that cannot easily be pieced.

slow growth mini mini quilt finishFor some reason, I latched onto the AG grove in grass green (of course), paired with the favorite colors of pinks, purples, oranges, yellows. I wanted to create something with natural and soft shapes, so immediately thought of needle-turn applique. The rest of this mini mini just sort of happened as I stitched. The mod leaves and flowers are needle-turn appliqued, and then I used 12 wt Aurifil thread to embroider details on the flowers.

slow growth mini mini quilt finish snail detailThe snail was not initially intended to be part of this mini mini, but in fact was the result of a mini mini travesty: my three year old son found my little scissors and in playing around, cut a small hole right in the mini mini quilt!! After taking many deep breaths, probably yelling at least once and emphatically saying that it was NOT ok to cut mommy’s sewing, I decided to make lemonade out of lemons and needle-turn a little patch over the hole. With a bit of embroidery embellishment, a little slow growing snail was born. It ends up this snail was the perfect symbol of this project, and ultimately inspired its name: Slow Growth.

I densely hand quilted this mini mini with a variety of weights of Aurifil 2600-Dove (50wt, 28wt, and 12 wt), essentially hand-matchstick-quilting the 5″x5″ quilt. I improv-ed the quilting and included a few rows of X’s and one of little bubbly O’s for interest. I used a super thin binding for this (1″ strip to start, single fold), and although finicky to sew on, I really like the feel and aesthetic of the skinny binding. Even if it took ages, there are many positive, grateful, creatively generous thoughts stitched into this mini mini, Allison! I hope you like it!

Too Tiny

fpp feather mini mini quilt finishThis next mini mini quilt was an experiment in how small can you go, and I determined that I reached my tiny threshold, at least with this foundation paper pieced pattern. The intended recipient of this mini mini is a big fan of the color purple, and I also knew I wanted to make her a feather mini mini. I wanted it to be unique, though, so I designed my own teeny foundation paper pieced pattern of a geometric feather.

fpp feather mini mini quilt finishI absolutely love tiny stitching, mostly because of the giggles that reflexively bubble over while I’m piecing the ridiculously tiny pieces. This tiny feather was no different, until it came time to sew the two sides together. The seam was crazy thick; so thick, I had to hand crank my sewing machine to get the needle through it without breaking (I broke a needle trying the first time). With a seam that thick, you can guess how great my chances of pressing it flat might be–slim to none! My solution? I stuffed actual wool batt behind the feather and then quilted around it as best as I could. It’s not exactly trapunto; it’s more a stuffed feather!

fpp feather mini mini quilt finishMy reverse needle-turn applique skills have room for improvement, and the shaft of the feather didn’t work as well as I had hoped. I decided to embroider over it with 12wt Aurifil to try to give it a more intentional look, and I’m much happier with the result. The Anna Maria Horner loominous fabric was the perfect background, and I machine quilted horizontal lines with 50wt Aurifil 2560-Iris.

fpp feather mini mini quilt finishI used the backing as binding and folded over a larger portion on this mini mini quilt, since I felt it needed a stronger frame due to the visual weight of the 3-dimensional feather. Mini mini quilts certainly keep me humble, since every little stitch is visible, and the wobbles and less-than-perfect corners are part of the charm.

fpp feather mini mini quilt finishI signed the back with quick embroidered initials and date, since I feel strongly about signing all creations, no matter how small.

Both of these mini minis are going in the mail today. Once I finish a bit more of the projects on my to-do list, I am sure to revisit the mini mini quilt making scene. I still have one more promised mini mini quilt that is in progress for a friend who has already sent one in return (ages ago), and my very first mini mini swap for which I need to redo the binding. I think I agreed to swap with at least two others, but we left it open and relaxed and since I have not received a mini mini in return, I don’t feel *quite* so bad letting the creation of my mini mini quilt slide. All in good time, right?

make modern mini mini challengeHave you made a mini mini quilt yet? If you feel so inspired, I encourage you to post a photo on Instagram with #MMminimini to join the fun (and enter to win prizes!). I’d also love to see it, so tag me @nightquilter so that I can see your tiny beauty!

I’m linking up with Let’s Bee Social and will link with Crazy Mom Quilts Finish it up Friday, and TGIFF, since community is fun!

Quilting Community All Around

Thank you all for being my quilting community. I have so much gratitude in my heart today, after another fun Periscope #honestcraftroomies hop last night, and after receiving the sweetest mini mini from Allison from Campbell Soup Diaries as part of the mini mini quilt swap (Check out #miniminiquiltswap on Instagram to see all the creative fire this little project is sparking), and see Allison’s tutorial for this mini here.

welcome to the house where kitty lives campbell soup diaries mini mini quiltI want to keep this short so that I surely will complete it and post it before baby Finn wakes up from his nap. For those of you with a smart phone, I definitely recommend downloading the Periscope app and watching the scopes that were created last night as part of our weekly #honestcraftroomies Periscope hop. They are viewable for 24 hours, which means you have until 9pm EST tonight to watch them! Here was our schedule last night:

Periscope HonestCraftroomies - CommunityThe topic of conversation was “Quilting Community” and our conversation ranged from a real live scope from a booming guild meeting, to reflections on why some of us modern quilters love the local traditional guild like family, all the way to “I make my own guild because I live too far from one—and you’re it”!  We spoke about quilting conferences vs retreats, person to person interactions, and online relationships.

As an experiment, and a little peek for those of you who may not have a smart phone, I’ve tried to save my video stream and post it here (embedded from youtube). Please note (and this is important!!), in the actual Periscope stream, little comments appear at the bottom of the screen, so when I suddenly look closely at the camera and seem to reply to someone, I’m actually replying to someone! I’m not crazy, I promise!  The video I saved to my phone doesn’t save those comments or the stream of hearts indicating when something I say resonates with viewers especially deeply. So here we go: my real-time, un-edited, late night with a sick baby in the next room, take on quilting community and what it means to me. I hope this works.

(Video disclaimer: In watching this again, I’m pretty sure my nervous fried-brained self said I am a single mom. This couldn’t be further from the truth. I meant full time mom, but I’m a total video beginner and was nervous LOL! I have a loving and supportive husband who is not only a fantastic dad and husband, but also amazingly seems to enjoy talking quilting with me. Please pardon the twisted tongue! I have so much respect for anyone parenting solo, but I’m endlessly grateful to have my husband on my parenting team. I couldn’t do it without him.)

The human connection is so essential to most people, and I’m grateful for the relationships I’ve helped foster over the past couple of years. Allison is one of those with whom I’ve been conversing through blog comments and resulting emails for almost as long as I’ve been blogging, so of course I was game for swapping mini mini quilts with her. We agreed that we were both busy, so the timeline would be relaxed. A day or two later (or less?) she wrote back, “I was inspired. I made your mini.” Little did I know how sweet the two (2) minis would be!

mini mini quilts from allison campbell soup diariesThe fabric choices alone make these immediately awesome in my book. Allison clearly knows my favorite designers–Carolyn Friedlander (with some of that much coveted Architextures that I never did get my hands on–swoon!) and Alison Glass.

mini mini quilts from allison campbell soup diariesI especially love the little house, which she calls “The House Where Kitty Lives”. I mean–it’s named after me!! So awesome. Here’s a bit of what she wrote on the card (after Schöne Gruße aus Deutschland!), and why it honestly made me tear up when I opened it:

The second mini is titled “Welcome to the House Where Kitty Lives,” and I designed with you in mind. One window for each child, a heart for the love you share as a family, flowers just starting to bud and a house filled with love and happiness!”

Is that the sweetest thing, or what?! I’m still stitching my love into the mini mini I’m making in return for Allison, and I’m not sure I can come close to a creation as personal and beautiful as this. It will still be a mini mini filled with love, and a little sign of how important my quilting community is–even across the world! Allison lives in Germany. Isn’t the internet an amazing thing!?

Thank you to all of you, enjoy the Periscope hop if you have the capability and time to watch, and happy stitching!

Mega Projects and Mini Minis

Things have been busy behind the scenes here at Night Quilter, and life has been cruising along the way life does. With many big projects about to begin (Farmer’s Wife Sew Along, Sizzix Design Team tutorial posts, a quilt project reveal, etc.), when I saw Michelle Bartholomew post about a mini mini quilt swap on Instagram, the “I love cute little finishes” within me jumped and clicked its heels. I immediately offered to swap mini minis with Michelle. (Look up #miniminiquiltswap on IG to see the current swap stream and jump right in).

mini mini quilt by michelle bartholomewMichelle is deep in the mini mini quilt swap game, so hers was already complete and she must have popped it right in the mail because it has arrived already! I absolutely love how tiny and adorable this mini quilt is.

mini mini quilt by michelle bartholomewThe hearts on the binding are the final touch, in my opinion. So tiny. So perfectly wonderful.

The mini mini quilt idea really resonates with me right now, too. Making a teeny tiny mini mini quilt to swap with a quilty friend gives you an opportunity to try new techniques, new color combinations, quilting styles, etc. without investing too much time or fabric. You also get to make a connection with a quilty friend, sharing a piece of yourself and decorating your walls with pieces of your quilty friends while you are at it. Surround yourself with inspiration! I have really enjoyed the mini quilt swaps in which I’ve participated, but the time investment is more than I have to give right now so I have been firmly resisting the urge to join in on additional mini swaps. The mini mini, though, is TOTALLY doable. Remember #sewtake20? #sewtake20 and make a mini mini! I hope to cover my wonky-sized craft loft walls with them, eventually.

mini mini quilt by michelle bartholomew on cosmosmini mini quilt by michelle bartholomew snuggles borageThis mini mini is so tiny it fit right at home with all of the little flowers in my garden. It lightly sat upon the cosmos leaves and snuggled with the borage.

So what mini mini am I making to mail back to Michelle?

my mini mini quilt in progressI showed her some of the little mini quilt bits I had started to see if any appealed to her and she chose one of my Chawne Kimber-inspired sew small Roberta quilt starts.

So what mini mini am I making to mail back to Michelle?It is far from perfect, but with those little 1/8th inch wide sections, it’s a mini mini work of love, and I think really fun aesthetically. I plan to free motion quilt it in a spiral, bind it somehow, and mail it off!

I’m linking up with Lee’s Work in Progress Wednesday at Freshly Pieced. It’s been a while since a link up for me, but this blog is about to get hopping! I’m excited to show you the projects on which I’ve been so secretly working. Soon…

My 6+ Hour 1 Hour Basket (and Worth Every Minute)

The 1 Hour Basket. I’m sure you’ve seen it, especially if you are on Instagram. It’s a fairly new, free pattern by Kelly at Kelby Sews, and it is all. the. rage.  Currently there are 1,189 posts with the tag #hourbasket on Instagram, and some of those tags include photos of a ROOM full of 1 hour baskets. It’s an (awesome) epidemic.

I’ve been wanting to make one to see what all the fuss is about, and today I had the pleasure of attending a free 1 Hour Basket class at Alewives Fabrics in Nobleboro, Maine. I did it! I made my very first (and not my last) 1 hour basket. Granted, with all the chatting I did with Sarah from Berry Barn Designs, paired with the 1.5 hour drive each way, my basket took me 6 hours to complete, without even counting the bit of preparatory flying geese sewing I did before class. But honestly, it was worth every minute.

one hour basketWhen Rhea from Alewives posted on Instagram about the free 1 Hour Basket class she was offering, Sarah suggested we meet there since we have been blogging buddies since the new bloggers blog hop about a year ago (has it been that long?), but have never met in person. With only a few weeks to go until baby time, it was the perfect mommy get away day! I’m so grateful she thought of the idea to meet up, since it was just the nudge I needed to commit to going.

one hour basket sewing class at alewivesRhea and Shelby at Alewives had us making a slightly modified basket, with added outer pockets and a different handle option. There is something about being in a room full of happily sewing people that just makes a day sunnier.

sarah from berry barn designs
It was fabulous to meet Sarah from Berry Barn Designs and get to sew together!

I got to sit next to Sarah during the class, and we had a great time chatting and sewing and chatting and sewing. Sarah was super ambitious and made TWO baskets, which worked out wonderfully since I was moving at a snail’s pace. That’s one challenge to being hard of hearing and attending a sewing class. I can only hear if I look at the speaker, but I can only sew if I look at my sewing! I think I found a good balance, and we definitely had a blast.

hour basket finish

one hour basketThis basket will be an “extra” for my Alison Glass Mini Quilt Swap partner, since that was the initial intention and no matter how much I love it, I feel like giving it away is the way to go. Plus, I can always make more! As Rhea warned in the beginning of class, this basket is addicting. I think she’s right, since I’m already plotting my next one (or ten).

Here’s just a short list of functional ideas, and the reason I may need to make an abundance of these baskets:

  • Holding diapers and wipes in various locations in the house
  • Sorting fabric
  • Sorting fabric scraps
  • Portable knitting or handiwork organizer
  • Holding works in progress
  • Holding toys
  • Best gift bag ever–fill with wine, chocolate, or other occasion goodies

What would you do with your 1 hour basket?