Starting my first mini quilt

This is the first mini quilt that I’ve decided to make – it’s the design in the top right hand corner of the pattern pack shown below – the one with the red floral border.

4 Fabrics 1

It’s a design by Lori Smith, of From My Heart to Your Hands, in the USA. She sells loads of pattern packs for all kinds of quilts. This pack, for nine quilts, cost $12, plus $4 shipping to the UK. Many of her designs are small (this pattern pack features designs that are all 16 x 20 inches each when finished). That’s exactly the kind of sized quilt that I want to make. Much bigger than that, and I’m going to run out of house space really fast!

I want to change the colours slightly – partly because it’s just impossible to get the same fabrics that any designers feature in their photos, but also because I fancy using a more subdued palette. I bought two fat quarter packs of reproduction design fabrics from the Fat Quarter Shop in the USA to begin with. These are in beautiful shades of maroon, red, stone, plum, olive and the odd highlight of orange.

4 Fabrics 2

I washed all the fabrics before I started to use them, in case they might shrink later, or the colours might run.

4 Fabrics 3

4 Fabrics 4

Lori’s patttern packs assume you have a basic knowledge of doing patchwork (nope, not really, but I have a beginner’s book called ‘Start Quilting’ by Alex Anderson, which helped fill the gaps). Lori’s instructions are  clear, though.

4 Fabrics 6

I had a good hour or so cutting up the fabrics I’d chosen into squares and rectangles, but now I’ve got the rather scary prospect of stitching them all together to make something worthwhile.

Hmm, I think it’s time for some chocolate….

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I think I’m in love….

I’ve found a lovely new hobby. Well, not exactly new. I’ve decided I want to do some patchwork, which I haven’t done since I was 15 (shockingly, I realised that’s 35 years ago). Back then, there were no such things as rotary cutters and self-healing mats. So, the quilt I made for my bed during one winter was all hand cut, hand pieced, hand quilted…it took me six months, and by the time it was finished, I was sick of the sight of it, so I gave it away!

But recently, I was drawn in to the ‘modern’ way of quiltmaking, and I’m desperate to have a go, now! I’d been Googling websites to do with the Amish way of life – from there, I came across images of their quilts (which use plain colours, mainly dark blues/purples/browns). Then I found American Civil War quilt designs, using reproduction fabrics in muted shades, and small scale patterns.

AND THEN, I found a couple of websites where people were selling design packs for making mini quilts in these Civil War type designs. That’s when I got hooked. They’re small, you see, and I love all things small.  And as they’re small, they don’t take up much room when they’re finished. This last bit is vital, as my house is already full, so anything else that I make has to be small to be squeezed in  🙂

All these websites that I found, by the way, are in America. I tried to find something suitable in the UK, but quilting and patchwork in the UK has gone off at a tangent – the designs are cutesy, often using hot pastels or 1950’s retro fabrics, and with many designs being for children. Not my kind of thing at all.

So, once I found what I wanted, I had to get things shipped to the UK – not an easy (or cheap) task – some US websites won’t ship outside America, which is very frustrating. But I did find a few really good websites to help me get started, with shipping at a reasonable cost.

This is the pattern pack I have bought - each mini quilt only uses four fabrics
This is the pattern pack I have bought – each mini quilt only uses four fabrics

The first website with gorgeous small patterns was From my Heart to Your Hands, run by Lori Smith. I bought a pattern pack for 9 quilt designs, each measuring 16 x 20 inches when finished, for $12 plus very affordable shipping of $4 (other US website owners please take note – international airmail shipping doesn’t HAVE to start at $16!!!).

Lori has also written a book, which has many of her small designs in:

Fat Quarter Quilting by Lori Smith

A pack of fat quarters from The Fat Quarter Shop
A pack of fat quarters from The Fat Quarter Shop

I ordered some fat quarters from The Fat Quarter Shop. This website is enormous, and I could have bought dozens of their fat quarter packs, which are really well displayed, with mouth-watering colour selections…just yummy!

This is the Pincushion Stars pattern for a tiny quilt 12 x 14 inches from Primitive Gatherings
This is the Pincushion Stars pattern for a tiny quilt 12 x 14 inches from Primitive Gatherings

Then I was tempted to get another pattern from Primitive Gatherings, even though I suspect this one will be a killer to do, as the triangles are tiny (the finished quilt is only 12 x 14 inches).

My wishlist on Amazon has grown hugely in the past few weeks, as I add books on quilting and patchwork as if they are going out of fashion (which they probably are). This one looks really good:

Civil War Legacies

So, expect to see my attempt at quilting and patchwork soon.

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