Making a mini quilt 1: ‘Foursquare’ by Jo Morton

Every now and then I take a break from embroidery, and doll’s houses, and make a mini quilt. They make a nice pause, in a way – quite quick to do, and portable, which I often need, as I travel quite a lot.

This quilt is one from a book that I recently bought on Amazon called  Jo’s Little Favorites 2 . Jo Morton has published several mini quilt books, and I love all of them! The quilt I’m going to make is the one in the middle on the front cover. It’s about 20 by 26 inches, when finished.

Foursquare mini quilt patchwork Jo Morton book

I decided to make a few changes to the design shown in the book – I’m going to make it a little bit smaller, with not as many blocks to it, and I’m going to change the colourway so that mine has more red in it, and no blue. This is my planning stage:

Foursquare mini quilt patchwork Jo Morton book

I don’t stitch my quilts together on a machine – I hand piece them, as I love hand sewing. So, I work out the sizes of each block from the instructions in the book, then draw a full size paper pattern (photocopying multiples, if necessary, as that’s quicker), then cut out each block pattern from medium weight paper. Then I cut the fabric pieces – usually by hand, rather than using a quilt fabric roller cutter, as these are small quilts, and it doesn’t take long to cut each piece with scissors.

I use quilting glue (like Pritt Stick, but pink – and it dries clear) rather than tacking the fabric onto each piece, as it’s really quick and precise.

Foursquare mini quilt patchwork Jo Morton book

This means that each block piece is accurately sized, and I can then decide how I want to piece them together.

Foursquare mini quilt patchwork Jo Morton book

I use these nifty little clips when I’m oversewing two pieces together, to hold the edges in place strongly while I stitch.

Foursquare mini quilt patchwork Jo Morton book

If you get ‘proper’ branded ones, they are really expensive, but cheap versions are available on Ebay, and to me they look the same, and are about a quarter of the cost.

Foursquare mini quilt patchwork Jo Morton book

When each little block is stitched together, I can then assemble them into larger blocks, making sure that the pattern works.

Foursquare mini quilt patchwork Jo Morton book

This is what the back looks like – you can just about see that on some of the pattern pieces I wrote ‘light’ or ‘dark print’ for example, so that I’d know how many of each type to cut from the fabrics. I leave the papers in until right at the end.

Foursquare mini quilt patchwork Jo Morton book

Small blocks are sewn together into strips:

Foursquare mini quilt patchwork Jo Morton book

…and then the strips are sewn together to make the whole central panel of the quilt.

Foursquare mini quilt patchwork Jo Morton book

This shows the back, at this point:

Foursquare mini quilt patchwork Jo Morton book

So, now I’ve just got to make the wide border, then bind it, before doing the quilting.

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How to make a quick quilt: 2

Back in June, I posted about this quick project that I’d started – it’s called a ‘cheater quilt’, as the fabric is already printed with the patchwork-style blocks on it, so I didn’t have to piece all those tiny shapes together! I just wanted a simple hand quilting project that would be portable, to see me over a few weeks of the summer while I was travelling about.

So, the quilting itself was completed after about a month. Very easy to do – I just did running stitch around the edges and inner patterns of all the printed blocks, and stitched little squares in the intersections of the blocks, to hold the fabric down nicely.

Then I did the binding, using a long quarter of a fabric I’ve had in my stash for years, which I bought from the Cotton Patch shop in Birmingham. I used two inch wide strips, and pinned the strip to the reverse side of the quilt, flush with the edge, with right sides together.

Then I handstitched the strip in place from the front side of the quilt, half an inch in from the edge.

I folded over the strip to the front, making a hem, and pinned it in place, then slip stitched it into position.

Then I did the same on the opposite side of the quilt, so both long sides were completed first. To neatly bind the two shorter sides, I pinned the strips in place in the same way as before, but first I had to turn back a half inch hem at the start and end of the strip, so that the corners would be neat.

This is how it looked sideways on.

After stitching half an inch in to attach the strip, as before, I slip stitched the binding in place.

This is the finished cheater quilt – it measures about 22 inches by 16 – not very large, but quite impressive considering I didn’t actually do any real patchwork for this!!

I love the checked backing fabric – it goes really well with the colourway of the front.

And this is what I made it for – I have some reproduction dolls that usually sit on the first floor landing in my home, and I decided to make them some mini quilts to sit on (actually, I wanted to make some mini quilts and couldn’t think what on earth to do with them, so that was the best ‘reason’ I could come up with!).

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Are you interested in doll’s houses and stitching? Then why not visit my website, where you can buy doll’s house needlepoint kits to make all kinds of soft furnishings for one-twelfth scale dollhouses. There are over 280 kits to choose from, plus chart packs, fabric project packs, tutorials, and lots of eye candy to inspire you! Kits are available on 18 and 22 count canvas, 28 and 32 count evenweave, and 32 and 40 count silk gauze, so there’s something for everyone – from beginners to experts.

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Book review: ‘Make Mine Mini: 13 miniature quilts from traditional to contemporary’, by Christine Carlson

I’ve been getting back into quilting during the past few weeks, and I found this book on my bookshelf:

‘Make Mine Mini: 13 miniature quilts from traditional to contemporary’.

It’s a slim book of 64 pages and was published in 2010, and features 13 little quilts, using various techniques. It is a very useful way to learn the techniques, as each quilt shouldn’t take too long – these aren’t difficult designs.

MMM 1

There are 23 pages of general information at the beginning of the book, covering how to make the most of the blocks you have chosen to make (by setting them in different formations), to how to choose fabrics wisely, and how to bind your finished quilt.

MMM 4

The instructions for the 13 projects are very detailed, especially the information about fabric quantities and how many of each square or triangle to cut out.

The section on colour theory was really good
The section on colour theory was really good
Quick tips for rotary cutting are also included, with advice on how to save time when piecing at the sewing machine. This book covers the ‘flip and sew’ method, and also shows you how to make trims for your finished quilts, such as yo-yos. There are ‘box-outs’ throughout the book with tips relevant to that page, and I found these really useful.
These are the 13 projects in the book
These are the 13 projects in the book

The project I liked the best was the Spools Variation mini quilt (featured on page fifty – see the illustration above for the visual index to the book), with an edging made from ‘prairie points’ (folded fabric triangles, caught into the seam between the front and the back fabrics).

MMM 5

Although, on the whole, the fabrics chosen for the quilts in this book aren’t my choice really (they are either a bit too pastel, or a bit too brown, for me), it is easy to substitute your own palette when you start to make your own version. So, visually I was not attracted so much to this book, but once I started reading it, the information contained in it is very good, and I can see myself making several of the projects at some point soon.

The book is published by Clotilde, and costs $11.95 in Canada (I paid £3 on Amazon, second-hand. New, it’s about £6). ISBN 978 1 59217 323 5.

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Book review: ‘Small Scale Quilting’ by Sally Collins

I got this lovely book about quiltmaking for my birthday (Amazon wishlists are wonderful things!).

SSQ 1

It is about A4 size, has 112 pages, and has a quality feel to it. Sally Collins has published several books before on various aspects of quilting, and all her books focus on her love of precision. This is what I need, as I’m too impatient to do things carefully, and I can easily spoil something by not taking enough time over it.

Sally calls her quilts ‘small scale’ rather than ‘miniature’, because she says she thinks they are not scale models of full-size ones. So, this book features designs from 6 x 8 inches, up to around 30 inches square – still significantly smaller than any bed quilt would be.

The beginning of the book covers colour, fabric, how to cut accurately, lots of information about borders – how to choose fabrics for them, how to accentuate the centre panel with a good border, and so on. The construction techniques section is particularly good.

SSQ 2

There are then nine projects, listed in order of complexity. These use several different techniques. All cutting information, fabric amounts, etc., are given – I thought this part of the book was very well planned. Sally is obviously a perfectionist!

There is a short bibliography at the back, and a list of other quilting books from C & T Publishing.

What I particularly liked about the way Sally writes, is that she often mentioned the link between her creativity and her spirituality. They both feed into each other, and Sally is very aware of this. The process of making a quilt is part of her unfolding spirituality, so for her, unpicking a seam and re-sewing it is just part of life’s journey, not a ‘nuisance’ or a ‘problem’. Hmm, I’ll have to work on that one  🙂

An intermediate design
An intermediate design
An advanced design
An advanced design

The project I really liked, which will probably be the first one I’ll try from this book, is the ‘Framed Double Wedding Ring’ mini quilt. This is only 6 x 7 1/2 inches. Am I being ambitious here? It is listed as being the second-simplest project in the book, so that’s my excuse! I love double wedding ring quilt designs, but I don’t think I’d have the time or the patience to make a full-size one. But this little thing is so cute. It’s made with bias tubes of fabric 1/4 inch wide, and little four-square units at the intersections. Simple, really!

I'm planning to make the small version of this design, in the bottom right hand corner of this picture
I’m planning to make the small version of this design, in the bottom right hand corner of this picture

This is a very inspiring book, with several techniques to try. Sally is very precise, so if the book is read through carefully, you can pick up a lot of tips from this expert.

C & T Publishing. Paperback. 112 pages. About £19 on Amazon. ISBN 978 1 57120 009 9.

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