Life: Ups and Downs
2015 Finished Quilts, Quilts

Life: Ups and Downs

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.

MiniQuilt - Original Design

MiniQuilt – Original Design

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!

Tidy Seams

Tidy Seams

Tidy Seams

Tidy Seams

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.

Life: Ups and Downs

Life: Ups and Downs

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.

Life: Ups and Downs Quilting Detail

Life: Ups and Downs Quilting Detail

Life: Ups and Downs Quilting Detail

Life: Ups and Downs Quilting Detail

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.

Life: Ups and Downs - Backing

Life: Ups and Downs – Backing

Life: Ups and Downs - Backing Closeup

Life: Ups and Downs – Backing Closeup

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.

0 thoughts on “Life: Ups and Downs

  1. Hayley says:

    This is great. Green is my favourite and this is lovely

  2. magistra13 says:

    Wonderful. I think it hits the symbolism you describe very well. To me, your Synesthetic Alphabet is one of the most intriguing quilts I’ve seen. I love so much of your work. I think you are a very talented artist. I only hope that the ups and downs feed your creativity. I know we all will have the downs in our life that no one can protect us from, but I hope so much for you that you have many more ups that are sweeter because you know to treasure them and that everything around you supports and encourages your creative gift 🙂 And now I hope I wasn’t too hokey and that you have a tremendous Tuesday!

  3. Judy says:

    Love!! I agree, there is nothing better than the back of a quilt top with the seams neatly pressed open!

  4. I do love that piece, and I like how you went worked with the design when “it” wanted to change on you! Or you wanted to change on it! And that quilting is completely my favorite way to quilt. It provides so much texture and interest! I am glad Olive behaved!

  5. Jessie says:

    The colors in this quilt are beautiful! I love the texture that the quilting adds. Do you actually enjoy the “quilting” process? I find myself loving cutting and piecing and LOATHING quilting any of my own projects. Maybe I’m making it more difficult than it has to be… But if I churn out some awesome mini quilts like this, it would be a great way to practice (and decorate the walls in my sewing room at the same time)! Again, great job on this little mini! It’s so fun to make something that feels 100% “you”. 🙂

  6. Patricia C says:

    The greens are very pretty and like the quilt.

  7. Liz says:

    Beautiful finish. It’s nice to see some of your aesthetic come through. You’re such a prolific quilter, but so many of the quilts and placemats you share are commissioned or made with left over commission materials. It’s nice for you to share some of your selfish sewing!

  8. Those greens are fantastic. They look so calming. Everything works with this mini – the design, the colors, quilting, the size, and the name is perfect. You are so creative Yvonne and have real talent!

  9. Very pretty! I’m not a big green fan but I really like this!

  10. Ruth says:

    so neat and tidy! Love the softness of the pale green and the matchstick quilting is lovely.

  11. Terri Ann says:

    What a lovely mini. I really like the quilting work you did on it to emphasize the design in the piecing. Great colors, they’re not my usual go-to colors but when I look at this end result I wonder why I don’t gravitate to these greens more.

  12. Renee says:

    I am just so honored to be the recipient of this quilt! I love the colors, gradient and pattern. Thank you so much!

  13. Jasmine says:

    Absolutely amazing! And I loved the look of your pretty seams. Your matchstick quilting really gave it great texture, and I love the ombré look you achieved. Mini quilts are fun.

  14. carla bynum says:

    Hi!!!! It is wonderful!!!! I love the fabrics and the quilting is beautiful!!!!

  15. Lynda H says:

    great design and finish – I have so many projects in my head I need to stop reading about making minis – it is so tempting

  16. Vera says:

    It is lovely mini. Well done. Thank you for sharing time info which is really interesting.

  17. I’ve admired this on Instagram. ❤️

  18. Shauna says:

    Simply lovely, I adore the quilting on this one it really pops

  19. kittywilkin says:

    It turned out sooooooooo well!! I love the name, too. Life sure has its ups and downs 🙂 the matchstick quilting was definitely worth it. Beautiful finish. I’m looking forward to seeing more of your style!

  20. Nurdan says:

    Beautiful as always and very meaningful-I would write about the even balance but it would sound like whinging…

  21. Cassandra says:

    Absolutely gorgeous! I love the herringbone design and the green gradients against the white background.

  22. Kaja says:

    I love these greens and they have made a beautiful little quilt. Clever variation on your piecing, clever use of quilting, it’s just clever. Clever and pretty. 🙂

  23. It really is beautiful, Yvonne! And how sweet of you to have sent it to Renee. I’m sure it will be well loved there!

  24. sally says:

    I love these fabrics, they are very tranquil to me and I think fit your design and meaning very well. I’m now more impatient than ever for your big reveal in April!

I really appreciate the time and thought you take to comment, and I look forward to conversing with you. :)