Quilt the Life Into It - Yellow 12wt

Quilt the Life Into It {Mini Quilt}


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.

First Attempt
First Attempt

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.

Quilt the Life Into It
Quilt the Life Into It

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”).

Rainbow of 12wt Aurifil Thread
Rainbow of 12wt Aurifil Thread
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.


  • Yvonne, this is a masterpiece! I’ve always loved mandalas and couldn’t even have imagined creating them in quilting. I absolutely admire how you regularly challenge yourself. And I’m with you, the yellow chakra/mandala is particularly spectacular. Lucky Renee!!!

  • What a wonderful ‘experiment!’ Love the use of the different threads – thanks for showing it all off in such detail!

  • Phenomenal! !! And, yes, the golden yellow one rocks! I really liked your use of the two tones in each mandella. They look like beautiful designs for henna tattoos and are totally amazing! To have the bobbin side be so incredibly beautiful really testifies to your ability and that wonderful Aurifil thread. I have become a true believer and now use Aurifil almost exclusively on my projects (when I have the colors I need).
    You’ve outdone yourself once again!!!

  • The mandala designs are so beautiful, and the mini is such a unique finish! Thanks for the side by side photos to illustrate the difference in the look and texture of the threads. I’m sure this will be treasured!

  • These are AMAZE-BALLS! Your quilting is just getting better and better (doesn’t matter to me which machine you use). Lovely gift for Renee~looking forward to seeing what she comes up with!

  • YOU NAILED IT! My oh my! Yvonne, this is just amazing! You really come up the most amazing things! Your quilting is second to none, the design is perfect. Congratulations on a whole cloth quilt, all FMQ, the thread choices…Renee is so lucky!

  • Great choice in the dark solid binding. I had been given advice to wash first before binding a wall hanging and it worked a treat too though did need blocking, an extra step but worth it!

  • What a beautiful gift. The time and thought you put into each project and the detailed explanations are very helpful. I appreciate that you provide so much detail about the thought process and the experimentation before you get to the final project. It lets me know that taking it slow and steady is something I need to practice in my work. I am sure Renee is loving this mini quilt.

  • Good Morning Yvonne! Once again, Yvonne, you have astonished me with your accomplishments! I am in love with this wall hanging you have created! It is so unique and absolutely gorgeous because it is completely stitched in your vision. I have been looking at mandala designs for quite a long time and just love what artists and quilters do with them (plus so many others). A hand embroidery blogger I follow has been creating some spectacular mandala designs also that are inspiring me also. Now seeing yours, I know that it is time for me to stop looking and start designing. Yvonne, I am terrified. Yet, you are my top inspiration and seeing your gorgeous creations today….I know I can do them! I am really hugging you big time!!! Now, I just have to decide what type I want to do? LOL.

    Sorry, you know me…I get to thinking out loud and sharing my thoughts in writing. Back to your gorgeous creations. I especially like the 12 weight thread. I like the bolder effect that it produces and brings out the designs making them more prevalent. My favorites are the second one, it looks like the center of a flower I have but the darker blue and the choices you made just fit so precisely; I just keep returning and looking at it over and over! One other really catches my attention and it is the Yellow one. At first the tiny half loops (not sure that is what they are called–sorry) just grabbed me you did that so perfectly! WoW…then how you balanced the remainder of the inside with such precision and I love the designs you chose to do it with again. I of course could go on and on….I love this and know the owner will treasure it forever!

    Thank you so much for sharing your inspirations, your visions and then going forward and showing the finished piece of art. Have a fantastic creative day!

  • As always, I’m enamored by your quilting! I love how the simple difference in thread impacts the design. Such a lovely gift for Renee, I’m sure she loved it!

  • HOLY CHAKRA! This is just amazing! No wonder you took such pains to get the kinks worked out using 12 wt thread. The added texture of the heavier weight thread is what makes this piece shine. And all the detail on each one with the subtle changes in color from the center to the outside. You’ve outdone yourself on this one.

  • What a unique piece you have created. I’m glad you posted the side by side photos as it was really interesting to see the thread differences. Five and six were my favorites. That yellow quilting is just stunning. Lovely finish!

  • I SO love what you did with the threads and colors! Each mandala is so pretty and nicely detailed! I considered checking on the right orientation for the chakras before hanging it but felt sure the red was at the top. I was wrong, but am leaving it because it is in rainbow order and that is good enough. Plus the purple is at eye level for Aurelia. I’m happy to have it hanging at my sewing room door, and also next to my design wall, so I see it often. I read your 12wt post on the Aurifil blog and am itching to try using it in my bobbin now! I’m so thankful to swap quilts with you again, I think I now have more of your quilts hanging in my sewing room than anyone else’s (other than my own). I hope that mine will live up to yours, it is far simpler than I usually make and I’m feeling rather unsure of it ya know? But! I think you will like it.

  • What a beautiful array of colors! Stunning… I see you are using the Aurifil 12wt. Thread, in your machine… When using this thread “what size needle did you or do you recommend? I can’t seem to think I would use the same one I use for 40/50 wt. Aurifil , for standard sewing, if I increase my thread size.

  • Yvonne, this is gorgeous! Loving your mandala inspired chakras big time and all the detail you put into this piece. It’s really cool to see the side by side thread weight comparison too. Stunning work as usual!

  • Your quilting is really phenomenal Yvonne, and I like the effect you got with the heavier thread a lot. As always, the thought and care you put into your quilts has really paid off with a fantastic end result.

  • Absolutely stunning…jaw dropping!! This belongs on my wall at home….any chance you would consider making one to sell? This yogi/quilter needs this in her life. 🙂

  • Playing catch up again but so glad I came across this post – wow Yvonne this is stunning ….. The fine details within the mandalas is amazing … it’s made me want to have a play, on a bigger scale on my long arm!

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