Making a mini quilt 2: ‘Foursquare’ by Jo Morton – completing the quilting, and comparing quilting styles

I’m making the ‘Foursquare’ mini quilt from Jo Morton’s book Jo’s Little Favorites 2  (the middle one on the cover of her book).

Foursquare mini quilt patchwork Jo Morton book

I got a bit carried away with my quilting after my last blog post, and didn’t take pictures till the end – sorry!

I added wide dark brown fabric borders to the central panel of blocks, then removed all the papers from the little squares (I didn’t make a paper pattern for the wide borders). Then I ironed the quilt top, trimmed the edges completely square, then cut one piece of toning fabric for the back, using the top as a pattern. Using the top again as a guide, I cut a piece of thin wadding (a mini quilt only ever needs very thin wadding, or it would be out of scale). I cut it oversized at first, then trimmed it back as necessary, as wadding tends to ‘shift’ a bit as you pin it into position.

I cut two inch wide strips of the mustard colour print fabric, and made binding for the edges, which I hand stitched in place.

Foursquare mini quilt Jo's little Favorites 2 Jo Morton patchwork

For this quilt, I decided to give it a go and do the actual quilting by machine, which I now think was a mistake. It has come out very neatly, but a bit TOO neatly for me! It doesn’t seem to have much character to it now.

Foursquare mini quilt Jo's little Favorites 2 Jo Morton patchwork

I drew two lines in each direction with a water soluble pen on the fabric top, in each direction, to start me off, then the rest of the quilting lines I stitched by eye, once I’d got used to the amount of spacing to leave each time. I’d thought that would give it less of a ‘manufactured look’.

Foursquare mini quilt Jo's little Favorites 2 Jo Morton patchwork

It’s come out nice, but a bit bland, I think! The quilting is well-defined, but too regular for me.

Machine quilting example

In comparison, here are some other mini quilts that I’ve made previously. This one was a print of quilting squares that I made into a ‘cheater quilt’, as it’s not real patchwork – it’s just printed on! But I did hand quilt it, and it’s come up nice and ‘puffy’ now that it’s been washed.

Cheater quilt fabric

This design is called Lincoln’s Logs, and it’s the second quilt I ever made. My stitching is quite large on this one, but again it’s got a lot of character, so I like this one:

Hand quilting example

This one below is my favourite – the first one I ever made. The actual patchwork is pretty awful – you can see the tips of my triangles are cut off by the seamlines, as I stitched this one the ‘proper way’ by machine, and I kept getting my seam allowances wrong! But as far as the quilting goes, this one came out well – the stitches are small, the thread weight works, and the wadding was very thin, so it’s a flexible little quilt.

Four Fat Quarters hand quilting example

But machine quilting my mini quilts? Don’t think I’ll be trying that again.


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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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This is my Christmas haul….some fantastic embroidery books!

Every year at Christmas, I give the ‘Christmas Elf’ (also known as a ‘husband’) some ideas of what I’d like for Christmas. This system is foolproof – this way, I always get things that I love (and so does he – there’s a female Christmas Elf who collects ideas of what he’d like, too!).

This year, I had a bumper crop of gorgeous books:

Embroidery and patchwork books

This first one is one that I knew had to be on my Christmas list as soon as I saw it first advertised, back around September.

Passion for Needlework

It’s the new Inspirations book ‘A Passion for Needlework 2: Factoria VII’. This features twelve designs from a variety of designers who also create designs for the Australian ‘Inspirations’ magazine. The book is the second in what is now looking to be a series of volumes, fortunately – this is stitching eye candy at its best. The book is very well produced, the photography is wonderful, and I’m tempted to start on one or two projects right away! This is one of my favourites from the book, which I am itching to stitch:

Embroidered etui set

And these gorgeous little stumpwork pots are calling to be stitched too:

Stumpwork floral pots

One thing that I wasn’t very keen on with this book was the settings that the photography had been done in – a converted bacon factory in Australia, which is now a home, but it’s been decorated in the, admittedly, popular ‘industrial’ decorating style. But I hate that! The actual embroidery, in many of the images, seems a bit ‘lost’. Like this one:

Passion for Needlework

I don’t like to have to play ‘hunt the embroidery’ when I’m looking at a picture in an embroidery book……

This next book has been on my Amazon wishlist for a couple of years, but never got beyond that:

Stumpwork embroidery book

I think that’s because although the embroidery is great, I’m not personally very keen to stitch things all in white, so the cover was putting me off. But on Pinterest a few weeks ago I saw an image taken from one of the projects inside the book, and then I ‘upgraded’ the book from ‘maybe one day’ to ‘yes, now!!’

It’s got some gorgeous stumpwork projects in it – really creative stuff. This complements Jane Nicholas’s style very well (Jane is Australian, and has a lovely neat stumpwork embroidery style, doing mainly botanical studies). I’m looking forward to trying some of these projects, too. This is my favourite so far:

Stumpwork embroidery book

The book has a long section at the beginning covering all sorts of ‘how to’s’ – very good detail.

Stumpwork padding

I also received a couple of patchwork books, as I have a huge interest in making American Civil War-style mini quilts at the moment, using reproduction fabrics from the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.


This book is by two really good quilt designers – Jo Morton and Kim Diehl. They both showcase designs based on the same blocks throughout this book, showing how a designer can be influenced in very different ways, when using the same basic elements as another designer.

This is my favourite design from this book. It’s one of Jo’s:

Jo Morton quilt

The other quilting book is a very new one:

Patchwork and quilting book

This book uses a novel idea – the author took one ‘layer cake’ of fabrics (that is, a pack of 40 co-ordinating fabrics, each ten inches square), to see how many projects she could make out of it (plus the backing fabric).

These are all quick little projects, so I want to get a few of these done soon, such as this one:

Patchwork mug mat

I’m hoping to share more of my attempts at patchwork and quilting on this blog during 2019.

Finally, I also got the latest Johanna Basford colouring book ‘World of Flowers’. If you haven’t seen this, you’re from another planet! I want to work on this one on the right hand side first:

World of Flowers

So, as long as I get some spare time (Ha!! What’s that?!), I should have some good things to be working on during the coming year  🙂


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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.


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.


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).


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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