fall decor, halloween, mini quilts, quilting, quilts, tutorials, Uncategorized

Pumpkin & Stars Mini Quilt Tutorial

It’s not too late to make a Halloween themed project! This one came to be because I wanted to combine a cute pumpkin with colorful friendship stars (making it the third project this year where I’ve incorporated these stars)…anyway, my latest mini quilt, Pumpkin & Stars, goes together relatively quick and will definitely show off your festive spirit! The pumpkin in this project is pretty basic, made with scrappy strips; I’m sure you’ve seen it used in several other projects. For mine, all I did was make the easy strippy pumpkin and add stars all the way around, in the traditional black and orange Halloween colors.

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After finishing, I thought another variation could be to give it a general autumnal look, leaning away from Halloween by replacing the black with gold, green, tan or taupe…any fall-like colors would work well. It also finishes to a toss pillow size.

This was a really fun project, I recommend it! If you’d like to give it a try, here’s what to do:

PUMPKIN & STARS MINI QUILT

MATERIALS
Variety of 2″ strips of orange and black fabric
(1) 1 ½” x 1 ½” square of brown fabric
(1) 1 ½” x 3″ rectangle of green fabric
(1) Fat quarter for background
(1) Fat quarter for backing
(1) Fat quarter for binding
20″ x 20″ quilt batting

GENERAL GUIDELINES
RST = Right Sides Together
HST = Half Square Triangle
WOF = Width Of Fabric
Use ¼” seam allowance throughout.
Press seams open unless otherwise indicated.

To make PUMPKIN:
Cut print fabric:
(1) 1 ½” x 1 ½” brown square
(1) 1 ½” x 3″ green rectangle
(6) 1 ½” x 5 ½” orange strips

Cut background fabric:
(6) 1 ½” x 1 ½” squares
(1) 1 ½” x 3″ rectangle
(2) 1 ½” x 6 ½” rectangles
(2) 1 ½” x 8 ½” rectangles

RST, sew (6) orange strips together lengthwise. Press.

Place (1) background square on each corner of the strip unit. Sew on diagonal line. Trim ¼” from sewn line. Press toward corner. Finished unit illustrated below.

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RST, place (2) background squares on the green strip so that the diagonal lines start on the lower left and end on the upper right. Sew on diagonal lines. Trim ¼” from sewn lines. Press toward corners. Finished unit illustrated below.

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To make STEM/LEAF UNIT:

Place the 1 ½” x 3″ background strip on the left, the brown square in the middle and the green leaf unit on the right. Sew the background strip onto the left edge of the brown square and the leaf unit onto the right edge. Press.

Sew the stem/leaf unit to the top of the pumpkin strip set. Press.

Your finished pumpkin block will look like this:

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To attach BORDERS:
Sew (1) 1 ½” x 6 ½” background strip to each edge of the pumpkin block. Press toward the border strips.

Sew (1) 1 ½” x 8 ½” background strip to the top and bottom edge of the pumpkin block. Press.

Unfinished size: 8 ½” x 8 ½”

To make FRIENDSHIP STAR:

Cut print fabric:
(1) 1 ½” x 1 ½” square
(2) 2″ x 2″ squares

Cut background fabric:
(4) 1 ½” x 1 ½” squares
(2) 2″ x 2″ squares

To make HSTs:
Draw a diagonal line on the wrong side of (2) background 2″ x 2″ squares. Place a marked square on a 2″ x 2″ print square. Sew ¼” from the drawn line on both sides. Cut on the drawn line, press open. Trim HSTs to 1 ½” square. One sewn unit makes 2 HSTs.

Place 1 ½” HSTs and 1 ½” background squares in order as shown below. Sew into rows. Press. Sew rows together, as illustrated.

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Make (4) orange friendship stars and (4) black friendship stars.

Unfinished block size: 3 ½” x 3 ½”

To make the SIDES:
Cut background fabric:
(4) 3″ x 3 ½” squares

RST, sew (1) 3″ x 3 ½” square to the top and bottom edge of a black friendship star, as illustrated below. Make 2.

Screen Shot 2018-10-24 at 10.20.08 PM

To attach SIDES:
Fold the pumpkin unit in half lengthwise and place a mark in the center along both edges. Repeat for both friendship star side unit inside edges. Match up a pumpkin center/side unit mark and pin on a side unit, RST. Sew. Press sides toward the pumpkin unit border. Repeat for opposite side. Trim if necessary.

To make TOP/BOTTOM ROWS:
Cut background fabric:
(4) 3″ x 3 ½” squares**

**NOTE: The background fabric cut at 3″ in width may vary due to differences in ¼” seam allowances. For example, mine needed to be a bit less than 3″ wide—more like 2 ⅞”—as my seam allowances always measure slightly larger than ¼”. You may have to adjust accordingly.

RST, sew (1) 3″ x 3 ½” square to each side edge of (1) black friendship star. Sew (1) orange friendship star to each edge of the black friendship star/background square unit. Make 2.

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To attach TOP/BOTTOM ROWS:

Use the same method as ‘To attach SIDES’ above.

To make BINDING:
Cut (4) 2 ½” x WOF from fat quarter. Sew strips end-to-end, press in half. Attach binding using preferred method.

Lastly, sandwich backing sized 20″ x 20″, batting and quilt top, baste. Quilt as desired.

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Finished size: 14 ½” x 14 ½”, although mine measured 14 ¼” square!

I quilted mine with fun, wavy lines using Aurifil thread 2000, and I love it.

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I always make my mini quilts with sewn in corners on the back so I can hang them on my sewing room door, but I think this one would look great on a table, too. And I definitely will be quilting those wavy lines on an upcoming quilt…

I hope you enjoy making this project and Happy Halloween!

baby quilts, mini quilts, quilting, Uncategorized

With Love Mini Quilt

Isn’t it funny how quilters automatically go into the ‘I’ve got to make something’ mode when they hear someone is having a baby? That’s exactly what happened to me over the summer when I learned my hair stylist was expecting. I had only one appointment before she’d be taking time off, so that limited me making her something small. I knew some sort of wall hanging was in order, so I searched and searched online, but to no avail. Since I couldn’t find what I wanted, I created my own.

I didn’t know what her decorating would include, colors or otherwise, so I designed something cute, but plain and simple and baby-themed enough that it would go with any decor. Interestingly enough, I wrote the pattern when I was working on my granny square quilt, so it was definitely granny square inspired.

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I named the pattern With Love Mini Quilt and it’s available for purchase as a PDF download here. This pattern is easy-to-follow with step-by-step illustrations, and it’s a quick project to make. The design is comprised of two small granny squares (just the centers), a two-piece heart and a snowballed O. It’s also beginner-friendly and lends itself for versatility in fabric choices.

For mine, I used Dear Stella mini dots in pastels and Kona Cotton Solid White for the background. I quilted it in a 1 ¼” crosshatch using Aurifil thread 2021.

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And since I’ve been enjoying the look of scrappy binding lately, I chose it for this project as well. The finished mini is 14 ½” square so it could also be made into a pillow as a fun alternative.

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And of course, when giving any handmade gift—add your label!

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My hair stylist was happy with this little mini, and I was happy to have created it and to have made one for her. If you’ve know anyone that’s expecting, it makes a wonderful gift. And if you do make one, I’d love to see your version! Share on Instagram #withloveminiquilt.

mini quilts, quilting, Uncategorized

Modern Meets Traditional

Isn’t it interesting how colors can make all the difference? Recently my son asked me to make him a mini quilt for his music room. He requested the Dutch Rose block, and for a few good reasons…he liked the center star along with how the formation around it looks ‘folded’ and of course, the block has timeless style! I couldn’t agree more.

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A while back I made a zippered pillow cover using the Dutch Rose block knowing that the block itself is traditional. I think the soft colors I used in my pillow accented that fact, but for this mini-quilt I wanted a modern, updated look. Masculine, too.

Overall, I find that one of the most fun parts of quilting is choosing fabrics. Sometimes I have very specific ideas, other times I forage through my (limited) stash trying to find what looks good. For this project, I knew to avoid any pastels, pinks and purples. I had just finished a quilt using Sun Print 2018 by Alison Glass for Andover Fabrics and I knew my son would like the rich, deep colors in the collection plus I had plenty leftover. After much deliberation, I narrowed it down to four hoping the combination would work.

I used Kona Cotton White for an extra pop and I quilted it with my go-to pattern, crosshatch, spacing lines 1 ½” apart, using Aurifil cotton 50wt 2024 (White).

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I’ve been stitching that a lot lately, and it never gets old. And I feel the color combination worked—I love it and my son was happy with it, too. I’m tempted to use these colors in a triangle quilt!

In the end, I think I achieved my goal of giving this block a mod update just by using bold, modern colors.

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Same block, but what a different feel you get from the colors and fabrics you choose… because that’s what it’s all about, right?

mini quilts, tutorials, Uncategorized

Corner Hanging Sleeve Tutorial

Hanging mini quilts is a must-do, right? Whether you’re a quilter who hangs minis all over your walls or one like me who hangs one at a time—having an effective method of displaying them is essential no matter how many or how few. This corner technique is so fast and easy, in no time your minis will be ready to show off!

Required materials include two squares of fabric and a round dowel rod. I usually use 3/8″ width (oak) as it’s sturdy and doesn’t tend to bend or warp. It’s not necessary to go any larger than 3/8″ with most mini quilts. I’ve also used a 1/4″ dowel rod on a very small mini and through my experience, it held up well.

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Dowel rods can be purchased at any big box home improvement store for under $2 each (36″ length/oak). There are a variety of sizes and types of wood so you can choose what best suits your needs.

Let’s get started. Once your mini quilt is quilted and trimmed (but before binding), cut two 3″ x 3″ squares from your backing fabric (or from scraps). Press squares in half diagonally.

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On the back of the quilt, pin one pressed square onto each top corner.

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Attach binding, sewing carefully around the pins, making sure to keep the all the edges flat.

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Finish sewing on the binding using your preferred method.

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And it’s finished!

Measure from one end of the binding to the other, cut the dowel rod to measurement. Sand off any rough edges.

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Insert and hang!

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Got a lot of mini quilts? Need a few tips on storing them? Click here!

mini quilts, quilts, Uncategorized

Patriotic Flag Mini Quilt

The month of May always brings out patriotism here in the US, with Memorial Day kicking off the summer season then Flag Day and the Fourth of July not too far behind. Right now I have two quilts in the making, a Christmas gift and a new pattern of mine, and I could use a break from larger projects so I set out to find something patriotic that I could finish quickly using left over fabrics.

I usually don’t sew with blue (I don’t know why, I just don’t seem to choose it) but since I made my Americana Stars & Four Patches quilt last year, I had enough blue fabric for something small. Same with red, I don’t use it a lot, but I had some on hand from previous projects plus I got a small fat quarter bundle freebie with some lovely reds included.  🙂

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After quite a bit of searching, I decided on a free flag tutorial from Cluck Cluck Sew. While she made a lovely pillow, I wanted something for my sewing room door so I added a light blue border and made mine a mini quilt.

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For the star and stripes, I used a white low volume fabric with handwriting that reminded me of old-fashioned handwritten letters and historic signatures; I thought it was fitting for a flag. It’s kind of difficult to see it unless it’s close up…

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Before I began quilting, I did some ‘thread painting’—my quilting tip that consists of laying out thread on a project to help decide on a quilting pattern. To read more about it, click here. I do tend to gravitate toward crosshatch quilting, especially on rectangular blocks because the end results are diamonds, and I love the look! So yes, I went with crosshatch quilting, yet again.

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thread painting

When basting a mini quilt, I always use my flower straight pins instead of actual quilting pins. Reasons being: they’re easier to put in and take out, they’re nice and sharp and long, and they seem flatter than other pins.

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I used my guide for quilting accuracy and it gave me very precise results!

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I was happy to have had enough red and white striped fabric for this project, left over from a Christmas tree skirt. And of course, striped binding is always a favorite.

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And speaking of binding…how lucky was I to get this tiny stripe to align when I finished off my binding? Absolutely pure luck! Doubt that ever happens again.  🙂

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For the back, I had this very appropriate fabric from my Stars & Four Patches quilt. As far as backing goes, it’s easy to match up prints, especially on a small project. I have more information on this topic on my Matching Fabric Patterns blog post.

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And…here’s the finished project!

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I love everything about this mini—it’s cute, a great size for my sewing room door and I can get it out to enjoy several times a year. Lastly, it was a small but significant scrap buster!

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Happy Memorial Day

mini quilts, quilting, tutorials

Scrappy Heart Block Tutorial

In the spirit of upcoming Valentine’s Day, I wanted to make a scrappy heart out of fabric I had on hand; then I took it one step further and decided it would be fun to make a tutorial.

Overall, this block is perfect for the beginner quilter because it’s super easy and quick, but that doesn’t mean an experienced can’t quilter can have fun making it! It makes a great gift or a nice mini for yourself…I hope you give it a try.

To get started, choose your fabric. The pattern requires 2 ½” and 3″ squares for the heart section, also for the heart background, so strips, squares or scraps will work. I chose ten different prints as to have plenty of variety.

Materials needed: Equivalent of one fat quarter of color/print fabric in at least 3” strips or scraps for heart; one fat quarter of background fabric. General sewing/quilting materials such as a ruler, cutting mat, rotary cutter, thread, scissors, pins, iron, sewing machine.

I used fabric left over from a quilt I made myself a few years ago, Riley Blake Designs Just Dreamy 2 by My Mind’s Eye. To this day I absolutely love that quilt because the fabrics are so cute and happy, also making them perfect for this project. And the colors are great for Valentine’s Day! For the background fabric, I chose Kona Cotton White .

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Riley Blake Designs Just Dreamy 2 by My Mind’s Eye

Here are some general guidelines:

  • Use 1/4″ seam allowance throughout
  • Press seams open (not borders)
  • RST = Right Sides Together

Once you’ve chosen your fabric, it’s time to cut.

From printed fabric, cut:

20 – 2 ½” squares

5 – 3″ squares

From background fabric, cut:

5 – 3″ squares

2 – 2 ½” squares

2 – 2 ½” x 4 ½” rectangles

2 – 2 ½” x 12 ½” rectangles (borders)

2 – 2 ½” x 16 ½” rectangles (borders)

Next step, draw a diagonal line on the back of all five 3″ background squares in preparation for making half square triangles (HSTs).

To make HSTs: Place a 3″ background square on a printed 3″ square, RST. Sew ¼” on both sides of the drawn line. Make five.

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Cut on the drawn line. Press. One sewn unit will give you two HSTs, you’ll have ten total. Trim to 2 ½” square. For superior accuracy, I used my Bloc-Loc ruler; however, a regular quilter’s ruler will work fine.

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Time to choose your layout. I spread out my colors fairly evenly, but anything goes!

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Tip: It’s a good idea to take a photo of your block once the layout is decided; it’s a helpful reference tool when sewing the block together.

To make rows, sew squares together keeping in layout order. I usually press seams in opposite directions per row for nesting purposes, but because the squares are rather small, open pressed seams will help reduce bulk. The block will lay flatter having done so.

Keeping your rows in correct order, sew together in pairs, and then sew pairs together. I used a pin at every seam so they’ll line up nicely.

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Results from all that pinning!

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With your block sewn and pressed (measuring 12 ½” square), the next and final step is attaching the borders. Pin one  2 ½” x 12 ½” rectangle to each side of the heart. Sew*, press toward border.

*Tip: When sewing on borders, place them on the underneath side of the block (feed dogs side) to avoid sewing pressed seams in the wrong direction. Also, if your border is a bit longer (as mine was), the feed dogs will help ease in the extra length.

Attach one 2 ½” x 16 ½” rectangle to both the top and bottom of the heart block. Press toward border.

And done!

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Block measures 16 ½” square.

I haven’t decided what I am going to do with mine, there are so many options! I could make it into a pillow, a quilted mini or add others to it and make it into a quilt. Also, be sure to trim all the threads off the back before doing anything; it’s a terrible task but makes all the difference.

Tip: Since I used 5″ squares, I had leftover pieces from cutting the 3″ squares. To reduce waste, I cut them into 1 ½” squares so I could use them in future projects.

Happy Valentine’s Day

Note: I am not endorsed by any products I have mentioned or photographed in this post; they are just items I like, use and wanted to share information on.

mini quilts, quilting, Uncategorized

Mini Mania

Doesn’t everyone pretty much love mini quilts? I’m a big fan because they’re cute, they’re not a huge commitment, they go together fast and they’re fun! I enjoy whipping one up in between bigger projects when I feel I need a break.  While I’m not one to hang them all over my sewing room walls, I do like to decorate my door with one at a time; as seasons and holidays change, I change my door decor. Since I’m ready to put up a Valentine’s Day mini, I thought it would be a good time to post ones I’ve made. I’ve given some away but I still have a small collection, and of course I intend to add more.

First up are my circus minis. I released the patterns for these nearly two years ago (my first patterns). They measure roughly a foot square each and for sure would brighten up anyone’s room! Patterns are available here: Monday Morning Designs Patterns

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Circus Lion Mini
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Circus Elephant Mini
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Circus Tent Mini

I blogged about these in my last entry (more information if you scroll to my last post). I made them as gifts, using a Moda Concrete mini charm pack for each.

I also mentioned this mini in my last entry; I kept it for myself because I absolutely love this Riley Blake collection, Floriography.

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I found this free pattern on Instagram and had to make one for myself. It’s available from The Family Hearth, found here: Full Bloom Mini Quilt Pattern. I used my absolute favorite, Art Gallery Fabrics, Etno by Pat Bravo—that’s why I couldn’t part with it!

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Full Bloom Mini Quilt

These butterfly minis were given to my mom as a gift. I made them out of scraps and free motion quilted them, which actually came out pretty decent since it’s not a strong suit of mine! The pattern is by Lella Boutique.

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Social Butterfly Mini Quilt

I mentioned these last time too…

My latest finish is this Friendship Star Mini Quilt, found on Pinterest. I couldn’t get the free pattern to download so I made it by looking at the photo. I am going to donate it to my local guild for the quilt show boutique, hopefully it’ll sell, but since I really like the way it came out I wouldn’t mind keeping it for myself…

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That’s it so far. I’m always looking for something cute and fun so if you’ve got any suggestions, please send them my way!