Thursday, June 30, 2022

Make it Miniature!

As my blog readers know, I am an avid miniature quilt maker and teacher. I have written almost 60 blog posts about making miniatures. Most of these little treasures serve no practical purpose, although sometimes they are special gifts, or they become mug mats or placemats. But the most important purpose is that it makes me feel great happiness, which is a good enough reason to spend lots of time doing it!

I recently watched the series called "Best in Miniaturewhere artists created dream homes in miniature size. 

My favourite episode was week 7 when the artists made hand sewn miniature pillows. This series validated my love of all tiny things, and the importance of pursuing your artist dreams. This show is casting now for the second season if you know anyone who would be interested (apply online here).

I will never use the true miniature scale of 1:12 that is used on the show. That means that a 12" block would become a 1" block which is too small for my enjoyment.

But I really enjoy making smaller projects, and this month I made a 4" berry with 49 pieces (pattern by Jackie MacDonald).

I love cutting the little pieces, and in this project the blocks are 1". 

Here are some tips for sewing miniature quilts:

1) Be precise in cutting and sewing. When you need a 1" square it must be exactly 1". When you sew the seam allowance is must be exactly 1/4".

2) Use a 50 weight thread for minimal bulk in the seams.

3) Keep your block layout right beside your sewing machine. This is my sewing station to the left of my machine. The layout is on the far left cutting mat and as rows are sewn, I pin them to the soft pressing mat right beside the machine.

4) Never use a steam iron, and only use an iron to press the finished block. Use a seam roller to flatten the seams as you go along. On a small block like this I press the seams in alternate directions for each row, and then press the row joining seams open.

5) Carefully check your seam allowance and fix every mistake as you go along. An incorrectly folded seam allowance is not a problem with regular blocks, but it makes a big difference with small blocks in terms of how flat the block will be. See how on the first seam the corner is folded back and the seam is pressed the wrong way?

6) Pin your rows to a soft pressing mat and double check your layout as you go along. I make at least one mistake in every block I sew. See how easily it happened?!? This is not a berry shape! It can easily be fixed at this point, but once rows are sewn together it's a little harder to fix.

7) Use lots of pins. This photo shows how I double pin a 1" square. It's amazing how much little pieces can shift between getting them accurately together between your fingers and how they end up under the needle. Don't let the feed dogs drag the pieces up to the needle (which causes shifting). Instead put the needle down at the beginning of the seam and then put the presser foot down.

8) Once the block is sewn, I use an iron to press the block carefully on a wool mat, and then move to a regular ironing board and use Best Press for a second pressing. Pressing is an up and down motion only - never drag the iron on the block/quilt, and never ever twist the iron on top of your precious block as it will distort the project.

9) Miniature quilts need minimal quilting. 
Instead of quilting this mini, I stitched some yellow french knots to hold the layers together which adds a texture element which looks a bit like the seeds on the outside of a strawberry. 

10) For mini quilts I use a single binding strip cut 1 3/8", machine stitched to the front and rolled over to the back, folded over and hand stitched. 

And drum roll please... here is the finished mini berry! So sweet!

Finished size: 4" x 4"

If you would like to make your own miniature berry, click here for the pattern in 2 sizes.

Hop over to Constant Quilter to see more mini quilts made in June.

Monday, June 27, 2022

Finished Unity Quilt!

A finished quilt is on the design wall today! 

This quilt is my variation of Bonnie Hunter's medallion pattern called Unity (which you can purchase here).  This was a mystery quilt that Bonnie freely shared with the quilting world at the beginning of Covid in 2020. Remember back when we were learning to sew masks, and staying safe at home? We had no idea what a global pandemic was at that time, but we do now and through it all... the quilters continued to quilt, as we always do!

I started my version in April 2020 and added two words into two borders as the quilt grew. I finally finished the quilt top in May 2022, machine quilted my way through June, and hand stitched the binding over the weekend. 

This quilt has a eucalyptus batting that I had in the closet. I have no idea how it will hold up to washing and use, so I look forward to finding out. It handled beautifully on my machine and I liked it as well as my "go to" batting which is Warm and Natural. It also has a lovely drape on the bed.

It's such an amazing accomplishment to take a pile of scraps and turn it into a beautiful quilt and I did it! Thank you to Bonnie Hunter for helping to sustain my sanity through all those early scary Covid days by distracting me with this fun quilt project!

Finished size: 72" x 80" 

Linking up to Design Wall Monday at Judy'sFavourite Finish at Cheryl's, and One Monthly Goal at Patty's

Sunday, June 26, 2022

Slow Sunday Stitching

Welcome to the Slow Sunday Stitching party! It's the perfect time to find your hand stitching project and enjoy some relaxation. Even just a few minutes of stitching gives you a welcomed break from your routine, and your worries.  

Guess what I'm working on today?!? I'm hand stitching the binding on my Covid Unity quilt!  I love the pretty  wide backing fabric I found for this quilt and plan to enjoy many hours of hand stitching the binding on this quilt this week. As I stitch I will reflect on how much life has changed since I started making this quilt at the beginning of the pandemic.

We would love to see what you are hand stitching today. Link up your blog or instagram post below and we will cheer you on as you stitch.

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

Click here to enter

Saturday, June 25, 2022

Mystery Update

Your mystery quilting consultant is checking in here to update you on all the latest mystery projects! There is something for everyone:

1) Kathleen Tracy is offering a fun little 12" square mystery project called 4th of July. This is a great intro in the mystery quilting world because it's a small project, her instructions are always good, and if you don't love it when it's finished you can give it away as a gift and never see it again! I made her last mystery into a pretty placemat - click here to see it.

2) Meadow Mist designs is offering a free mystery quilt called Melodic Mystery starting in July. This project will post monthly steps. Usually the first month's step is fabric requirements, so the sewing step will likely start in August. I have sewn many of Cheryl's mysteries and have loved each one. Here are two of my favourites: Morewood Mystery and Mosaic Mystery

3) My local guild is hosting a summer mystery for the guild members. The community outreach team has made up kits for us from donated fabric, and here is my kit. I can't wait to cut into this luscious fabric!

4) Laundry Basket quilts is currently running a summer mystery using strip sets to construct blocks. It's an interesting concept and I'm watching this one with great interest while trying not to start my own version. This is me exercising some self restraint to get my case of Startitis under control.

5) The Fat Quarter Shop is hosting another Halloween mystery this summer called Boo Crew which starts on July 5th. I made their Bats and Boos mystery last summer and it's one of my favourite seasonal tabletoppers.

So that's the latest update on what's new in mystery quilt land. I'm slowly sewing away on my "Oh say can you sew" mystery blocks, and hope to be up to date with those by the end of the month in time for step #4 to be posted.
Did I miss any mysteries going on out there? Let me know in the comments below.

Friday, June 24, 2022

Unity Quilting

My June UFO is quilted! I spent many hours sitting at the machine this month, shoving the quilt  through the harp of the machine. You know how that goes!

This is the biggest project I have quilted on my DSM in a long time, and it was quite a workout! Because it is a medallion quilt, I got the crazy idea to stitch different designs for each border. I should've just stitched a simple, straight grid. But it's just like me to make it as challenging as possible!  And I do really like the effect - can you see the quilting designs on the back? 

I used my heavy duty gardening gloves from Canadian Tire for this job because they really grip better than any gloves made for quilting. But they are hot to wear, which is great in the winter and not pleasant on hot June days! 

Of course I enjoyed using all the thread colours! I stitched 3 wavy lines in the side borders to give a ribbon effect, and used these 3 colours. You can't tell when looking at it because all the colours blend with the fabric, but it makes me happy using lots of thread colours.  

I have already prepared and attached the binding, and can now enjoy the relaxing process of hand stitching it to the back of the quilt. I have one week left before the end of June and I'm so pleased that this quilt will be finished by then!

Monday, June 20, 2022

Design Wall Monday

More than half of my step #3 blocks for "O' say can you sew" mystery are sewn and on the design wall. 

This photo was taken late at night so you can see the odd lighting from the lamp on the right, but you get the idea. I'm loving the scrappiness and these blocks are very relaxing to sew. 

I challenged myself on some of the blocks to have the same neutral fabric going all the way around the edge of the block. I almost made it happen on this one, but I sewed the bottom row on upside down! It was easy to fix.

I have 10 more days to sew the remaining blocks and then step #4 will be posted.

Linking up to Design Wall Monday at Judy's

Sunday, June 19, 2022

Slow Sunday Stitching

Welcome to the weekly hand stitching party! We want to encourage you in the slow process of creating treasures by hand.

It's Father's Day in Canada and I am so happy to have had another year with my Dad! You just never know about the length of life, and I am thankful for every day I get to spend with my Dad.

Today I will be visiting Dad AND doing some hand stitching, so that will be a great day. I have been adding a few more embroidery stitches to my Serenity Prayer. I received a lovely bouquet of peonies so I had to put them in the stitching update photo! So fragrant and pretty, and short lived!

What are you hand stitching today? We love to see your projects and hope you will post a link to your instagram or blog post below.

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

Click here to enter

Saturday, June 18, 2022

Moda Blockheads 4

I am really enjoying this round of Moda Blockheads and using up lots of small blue scraps to make the 4.5" block size. 

Block #12 is the beloved friendship star (pattern written by Deb Strain). Every sampler quilt needs one of these blocks. I worked hard on these two blocks to get the patterned fabric all going in the same direction.

Block #13 is the classic Ohio star block (pattern written by Debbie Maddy) using little 2" hourglass blocks. I am making larger Ohio star blocks this week for the "O say can you sew" mystery, and it was fun to make a block in half size.

Here are all my Moda Blockheads on the design wall. Such a variety of yummy blues! I think the top left block is too dark and might lighten that one up.

Linking up to the Rainbow Scrap Challenge

Tuesday, June 14, 2022

Mystery on the Design Wall

Step #3 was posted for the "Oh say can you sew" mystery by Lisa Bongean. I cut all the needed squares, and decided to go with the "controlled" version by using the same neutral fabric in all 4 corners of the star blocks (instead of totally scrappy). 

These are the first blocks sewn. I really like the effect of each block having the same neutral corners. I'm using up all the old repro neutrals I have in my stash and think that the more busy prints will add interest to the quilt.

Linking up to Design Wall Monday at Judy's

Sunday, June 12, 2022

Slow Sunday Stitching

Welcome to the weekly hand stitching party! We want to encourage you in the slow process of creating treasures by hand.

I have a finished wallhanging to share today! This wallhanging was a quick little mystery quilt from Buttermilk Basin at Easter time. 

I worked on the binding while watching an educational seminar for work. I LOVE attending workshops on zoom because I can do hand stitching at the same time! I'm quite certain  that I won't ever attend a workshop in person again - except for quilting ones of course!

I loved hand quilting this project and am so happy with how it turned out. It feels so great to be putting those last stitches into a project doesn't it?! 

What are you hand stitching today? Since I've finished this project, I'll likely be doing some hand embroidery today. Link up your blog post below and share your hand stitching plans for today.

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

Click here to enter

Thursday, June 09, 2022

June UFO Update

The quilting process is moving along well on my Unity quilt. This is the border most recently quilted. I found a way to stitch long, continuous lines of quilting with only a couple of stops/starts at the corners.

Now I am quilting the word 'patience' with lots of stops and starts, and I made a little video to show how I sew in the thread ends at the beginning and end of each line of stitching.

Minimizing the stops/starts is important because the process of hand stitching the thread ends takes quite a bit of time. I'd rather be doing other fun hand stitching, so I try to minimize the threads ends by finding long quilting paths. The last few borders will go faster (I hope) and I'll be able to finish this quilt by the end of the month.

Monday, June 06, 2022

Blockheads on the Design Wall

I have been keeping up fairly well with the 5" Blockheads pattern releases. I am sewing all my blocks in variations of blue, which is the colour of the month at the Rainbow Scrap Challenge.

The last 4 blocks have been sewn on Elsie. She looks a lot like her younger sibling  Charity (who sewed my May Mini), but how you can tell them apart is that Elsie has a Singer Centennial badge because she was made in 1951. I love the little table that folds down and holds these small blocks perfectly.

Block #9 is called "Cross My Mind" by designer Brigitte Heitland.

Block #10 is called "Autumnal" by Chelsi Stratton. I used the only blue fabric I had that with some leaves.

This is bonus block #4 called "Zipper" designer by Moda Fabrics.

And this last one is another bonus block #5 called "Wheat Field".

The most recently posted block pattern #11 is a doozy but I love it and plan to make it into it's own mini quilt. 

Here are all my 5" Blockheads on the design wall today.

Linking up to Rainbow Scrap Challenge and Design Wall Monday

Sunday, June 05, 2022

Slow Sunday Stitching

Welcome to the weekly hand stitching party! Our goal is to encourage you to pick up your project, put a few stitches in, take some deep breaths, and enjoy the happy feelings that will likely result! 

I have been hand quilting my oldest UFO while the weather is still cool enough in the evenings to have the quilt on my lap.

I just finished quilting 4 lines in the hoop using beige thread, and realized that I am supposed to be  quilting the border in maroon coloured thread! Do you think the quilt police will notice??! The judges at the fall fair certainly will, and they will wonder "why did she do that"?! Well, the reason is because I'm old, I'm a slow hand quilter, and the quilt has been worked on for 25+ years. Apparently I forget what I am doing from day to day, and year to year! Yes I will take those stitches out and try again with the right colour of thread this time!

making hanging sleeves
I really enjoyed finishing my May mini quilt. This photo shows me sewing down the hanging sleeve on the back. I machine stitch the split sleeve to the top of the quilt, hand stitch the edges of the sleeves, and then hand stitch the binding on top. With this system, all my quilts can hang on the wall with one nail.

binding stitches
What are you hand stitching today? We hope you will link up your instagram or blog post below and share your slow progress with us.

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

Click here to enter

Friday, June 03, 2022

April, May and June UFO

This Unity quilt is taking me soooo long to finish. I'm now starting the 3rd month with this as my UFO focus quilt. It's so funny that I thought I could finish this quilt in April! Perhaps I struggle a bit with having "unrealistic expectations" of myself! LOL

Progress continues to be made but it's a big quilt and each border needs a different quilting pattern, with different colours of thread. This border is being quilted with curved lines/arcs, which is generally my "go to" favourite design.

For the word 'courage' I quilted a wavy line in each letter using green thread. Then using white thread I quilted approximately 1/4" away from the edge of each line. Those lines are wobbly so we'll call that "organic" quilting - meaning free form, natural looking, ruler-free and spontaneous (and visually disturbing to some eyes).

This is how far it is quilted by the end of May. There is still 1 word and 5 more borders to quilt, plus the binding. So that's my goal for June - linking up to One Monthly Goal (again).