I am really thrilled to get to share this mini quilt finish with you today. I agreed to another private mini quilt swap with Renee @Quilts of a Feather earlier this year, and the ground rules were that I was to make something and use free motion quilting for her and she was to make something and use straight line quilting for me. As soon as I agreed to ths swap, I knew that I wanted to make her a “Quilt the Life Into it” inspired quilt. I thought that combining the quilting theme, visual representation of the 7 chakras, and mandala inspired quilting would be the perfect fit. I am very grateful that Aurifil was willing to sponsor the thread for the project. Let me introduce you to Quilt the Life Into It!
What I failed to envision was the size that something like this would be. Even by making the chakra / mandalas only 6 inches in diameter, the mini quilt finished at 12-inches wide by 41.5-inches long.
Above you can see my first attempt at planning the quilt. I started by arranging and tracing printed chakras on what would be quilted as the “top” but finished as the back of the quilt (using 50wt thread on top and 12wt thread in the bobbin). You can get full details about Quilting with 12wt Aurifil in my guest Auribuzz Tutorial. I loaded the quilt onto my long arm and went for it.
My first attempt at quilting the chakras on my long arm left a lot to be desired for me. One issue was that as soon as I quilted the outline of the chakra shape, I was drawing a COMPLETE blank about what to do next, even though I had looked at a lot of mandala designs for inspiration. I was also disappointed in my fine control using my longarm. Don’t get me wrong: I love my long arm, and someone else might be able to do what I was trying using my machine. But at only 6-inches in diameter, this was small work and I realized that the correct way to approach this project was to quilt it on my domestic machine.
The second time around I took the time to pre-plan how I was going to quilt the mandala inspired centers for each chakra. This took a considerable amount of time as I was also trying to consider starts / stops and travel for each motif. I did not want to bury a lot of thick, colorful thread in the white quilt, nor did I want to travel over the same place repeatedly with the thick 12wt thread.
To finish off the quilting, I did not want to do something that would overly compete with these carefully planned and executed focal points, so I chose to free motion quilt an soft echo pattern around the chakra / mandalas and echo that shape. I used 50wt Aurifil 2024 (on top and bobbin) and I love the soft ripple and pulsing effect that it gives. I then trimmed up the quilt and washed it prior to binding so that I could effectively remove all the marking and block the quilt flat.
Picking a binding was another challenge for this mini quilt. I auditioned and thought about a lot of different options, and in the end I settled for using a Charcoal Peppered Cotton. I think the selection frames the quilt without being too bold (like a solid black) and without competing with the design the way a rainbow themed print might have. I used 50wt Aurifil 6736 (Jedi) to stitch the binding down by machine to the 12wt side (or “front”) and hand stitch the binding to the 50wt side (or “back”).
I used a lot of different thread colors for this quilt. Each chakra / mandala used 2 tones of color and in 2 different weights. Aurifil graciously provided the 28 small spools of thread I needed. The colors I selected are:
Upper row (L to R): 2250, 2235, 2135, 2870, 5005, 2735, 1243
Lower row (L to R): 2245, 1133, 1135, 2860, 5006, 1128, 2520
Warning: lots of detailed / side by side photos ahead!
I used the lighter color for the outside of each chakra / mandala and the darker shade for the center, and as you can probably tell, I am very pleased with the yellow chakra / mandala in particular.
What makes this mini quilt even sweeter was the fact that I had the opportunity to gift it to Renee, in person, on her birthday!
Linking up with TGIFF, Can I Get a Whoop Whoop, and Finish it Friday.