If you follow me on Instagram, then you probably saw my whirlwind make last Wednesday. Once again, I found myself in a sewing / quilting lull while I was waiting to work on some larger, long term projects. Since many of the large projects I have been working on recently have been for others, I wanted to challenge myself to make something that I would really enjoy. I also knew that for various reasons I needed a quick finish, so I decided to make a mini quilt. I went to my stash and pulled out some lovely greens that are left over from a yet-to-be revealed project (I can’t wait for April!).
With these fabrics as a starting point, I then went to EQ5 and sketched up a few blocks. I created 2 blocks that finish at 12-inches square and alternated them in the original design layout for interest.
To piece the blocks, I pre-cut all my fabric strips. For the herringbone pieces, I cut the strips a half-inch wider than my un-trimmed size in width, and then I cut on a 45 degree angle to get the sizes I wanted. I quickly went from cutting to sewing and was as gentle with the pieces as possible to keep them from warping. After piecing them together, I trimmed down the width to my unfinished size. It worked pretty well because I got them all pieced quickly – there is definitely a high risk of skew and sadness if you are not careful with this method. As I was piecing the herringbone pieces, I pressed the seams open. I really fell in love with the back side of these blocks!
You might notice in the photograph above that I altered the design a bit. As I was piecing the second “strip” of herringbone blocks (the right hand side of the front of the quilt or the left hand side of the back of the quilt), I realized that I wanted to keep the lights at the top of the mini quilt and the darks at the bottom, but I still wanted to have the direction of the herringbone pattern change from side to side. A quick swap on how I pieced the blocks, and I have to say I am really happy with the slight change to the design.
I spent 3 hours on design, fabric prep, and piecing. The quilting took another 3 hours. And the binding and hanging pockets for the back took anouther 45 minutes. All told, the mini quilt took 6 hours and 45 minutes to make and used up materials entirely from my stash / scrap bins.
I quilted the mini quilt using Aurifil 2024 (white) and for the piecing and binding, I used Aurifil 2610 (a light gray). I used Olive, my Bernina 820, to quilt the mini using very dense Matchstick Quilting in the negative space to really give the Herringbone pattern more texture and definition.
The flimsy came out to 24-inches wide by 24.5-inches long, and after quilting, squaring, and binding, the mini quilt finished at 23.5-inches wide by 24-inches long. If I had my druthers, more of the quilts I make would be in this aesthetic. I hope you get to see more of my style in the upcoming year as I participate in a few quilting challenges and push myself to create more on the side and in between projects like this.
I named this quilt “Life: Ups and Downs”. I was thinking a lot about the variation in life as I was working on this quilt, and I really like the symbolism and counterbalance of having one column of the herringbone pattern pointing up and the other column pointing down. I hope that we can all strive to maintain such an even balance in our lives this year. It is certainly one of my big goals for 2015.