Tuesday, 7 July 2015

The Small World Mini quilt: pattern tested

When I saw the Small World mini quilt that Leasa of ProjectLeasa (@projectleasa on Instagram) made for her partner in the #disneyquiltswap2015, I instantly swooned. 
Leasa's original mini quilt, courtesy of her @projectleasa Instagram
The whole concept is adorable, the bright colours are so eye catching, and I had recently been to Disneyland and loved every minute of it - including the Small World ride. 
It's a Small World ride Disneyland,  Christmas 2014
Small World all lit up at night
So when Leasa decided to write the pattern for it, I followed along closely, so exited for it to be release so I could make my very own. Lucky for me, she put out a call for pattern testers, and I was one of the six quilters she selected to help her to make sure the pattern works as written, and edit anything that may need reworking. 

Leasa wrote an excellent pattern that needed very little in the way of correction! It is very well written, the explanations are so clear, and there is the added bonus of step-by-step photos for literally every step! This is such a fun pattern to make; it is a traditional piecing pattern that includes half square triangles, curves, buttons, and embroidery. And although the pattern is labeled Intermediate Skill Level, the instructions are so clear, a confident beginner could tackle this project and be happy with their results. 

So, with no further ado, here is my completed The Small World Mini quilt top!

The pattern is now available at the PieceOLease etsy shop!

Thursday, 2 July 2015

Cotton + Steel Mini Quilt Swap: Pt 2: Outgoing

I had so much fun with the Cotton + Steel Mini Quilt Swap.  

It was the perfect excuse to sign up for the monthly Cotton + Steel Club over at Pink Castle Fabrics . This club is the best for building a stash of C+S without having to specifically choose what you want.  Which can be hard to do when you want everything!  After a few months, I had everything I needed and more to put together a mini quilt and extras for this swap.

My assigned partner said that she likes minimalist quilts made with paper piecing, loaded with amazing machine quilting.  Huh.  I can definitely rock the paper piecing, and I like minimalist quilts too, so that is no problem.  But I was very nervous about how I should quilt the thing.  My free motion skills are beginner at best.  I have dabbled in stipples and vines with leaves before, but nothing close to "amazing machine quilting."  But, inexperience has never stopped me before.  I am a first believer in just trying.  You never know how you might surprise yourself!

Completed quilt top
I chose a meandering geese pattern I spotted on Pinterest, some Essex linen, and a variety of C+S prints to make the top.  Then I spent the next couple weeks practicing graffiti doodling with pen and paper.  

My first attempt
This way I had some ideas of what kind of motifs worked well together, what filler designs I could use in between larger designs, and a general idea of placement within the quilt.  After making a quilt sandwich with a black backing to show off the quilting, I set to work.

First, I quilted triangle spirals inside the geese.  I decided to use the spool of Glow-in-the-Dark thread I have been hoarding.  Just in case the quilting was terrible, at least I had some special effects to fall back on!  Then I started the graffiti quilting.  My practice doodles definitely helped.  I ended up adding in other things as I went, and tried fancier designs as my confidence grew.  I wouldn't say the quilting is perfect, but I think I gave it a good try and am happy with the results!

Not too bad for my first time!
I designed a quilt label to look like a postcard, complete with a C+S stamp from one of the fabric prints, and bound it with a colourful print from the August line.  I prefer hand binding to machine binding, but up until this quilt, I have never been happy with my corners.  This quilt I really feel like I got those corners perfect!  It was a proud moment for me.

Look at those mitred corners in the binding!

All done and ready to send
After completing the quilt, I made a few extras to send along.  First, using another paper piecing pattern I found on Pinterest, I made a couple mix tape blocks, using C+S selvedge as the label to turn into a zippy pouch.  I think the little Hot Cross buns make the perfect wheels!  I stuffed the pouch with a notebook and pen, and some quilty washi tape.
Front and back of the pouch
I also made a needlebook (my fave quick project!) with mostly coral fabrics, and a pop of mustard inside.  And I finally got some wool felt from Modern Textiles when I was in Fargo last April, so I used some of the good stuff for the pages.  I also made a needleminder from the bunny fabric from the Mochi line.

I always love a needlebook
I rounded out the package with some lotion and lipgloss (always essential), some Canadian contraband treats (Coffee Crisp, Smarties, and the illegal-in-the-US Kinder Egg!), and a Berenstain Bears book called God Bless Our Home, as my partner just recently moved to a new house!

Rolled up for shipping
I had a great time putting together this package, and loved getting to know my partner through her photos.  It's always nice to make a new friend, and what better way than by sending a fun present?!

If you want to see what I received in this swap, see Cotton +Steel Mini Quilt Swap: Pt 1: Incoming

Wednesday, 1 July 2015

Cotton + Steel Mini Quilt Swap: Pt 1: Incoming

The Cotton + Steel Mini Swap has come to an end, and gosh darn it, this was a fun one.  

I really love C+S, the designers just speak my language.  Everything they put out is just perfect to me.  I posted two inspiration mosaics for my partner to garner some ideas, one with some of my favourite lines, and another with some ideas of things I like.  I also mentioned that I love the selvedges, because C+S always has the cutest little sayings or drawings in them.

My fave collections
Some amazing minis - see Instagram for maker tags
My partner really ran with that!  

My gorgeous mini!
She went to the trouble of hunting down selvedges from other quilters, and turned them into this amazing mini quilt! The string blocks are just perfect, and the baby tiger accents are an adorable complement.  I can't stop gazing at the quilt, I feel like every time I notice something new, and it brings such a smile to my face.

The label and Mustang backing
This was my partner's first swap, and she sure knocked it out of the park!  She sent me a very nice handwritten note with some background about her choices for the quilt and for the extras she sent.  She said that she wanted me to squeal with joy and feel spoiled when I was opening the package.  Mission accomplished!

So many goodies!
First, the mini knocked my socks off!  She also sent the cutest little succulent salt and pepper shakers (which are perfect for me, I love both succulents and salt and pepper shakers!), an amazing kitty pincushion she made from a little ceramic creamer jug, a key fob perfect for my giant car key, and a homemade baby tiger necklace.  She sent the most delicious peanuts from her home state of Virginia (which I promptly opened and snacked on all day....), and a funny little notebook.  She sent the complete baby tiger fabric collection (wow!), a pack of Aurifil thread in my favourite neutral colours (my first Aurifil - yay!), and a pack of Wonderclips.

And the most perfect quilty tape wrapped up my package!
This was such a generous and thoughtful package.  My partner said in her note that she initially felt intimidated by my mosaics, that she wasn't sure what she could make. Well, she truly did a wonderful job making for me, and I appreciate all the hard work that went into the quilt, and all the lovely extras.  I am so glad to have a new friend from this swap, and look forward to seeing her make even more amazing things.  Thanks Jen!

If you'd like to see what I sent for this swap, see Cotton + Steel Mini Quilt Swap: Pt 2: Outgoing