Sunday, January 9, 2011

Christmas Mini: Quick Like a Bunny

We may be well into January, but I'm not done with Christmas yet. I bought some flannel fat quarters to repair the corn bags a mouse had destroyed. (Or maybe it was "mice" as we have caught quite a few but there seems to be always more.) Anyway, I had enough left over fabric to make me think that I should do something with it. (In case you're still wondering, corn bags are little "pillows" filled with corn that you heat in the microwave and take to bed to warm it for you. They stay warm for at least 30 minutes. So cozy. Really.)
I was so enamored with the reds, greens and pop of orange in the right one. The snowmen and plaids didn't hurt either.

Then yesterday, I was looking at some quilting books that a friend had passed on to me. This pattern jumped out at me and said, "Here I am! Make me! Make me!" (It's from Marti Michell's Weekend Log Cabin Quilts. Yeah, Marti Michell is the one whose book I'm using to quilt in sections. Obviously I like her stuff!) I really like log cabin blocks and all the layout options you have with them. But not being in the mood for all that piecing, and not thinking I had enough variety or quantity of fabric, I decided to do the same design with half-square triangles.

I thought about the fabric choices of what goes where. Some things were easy--the light plaid was the only one that qualified as a "light" colour and the red was an obvious choice for the star points. Some were harder--where to use the green and the small-scale plaid. When I thought I had a good idea in my mind, I went ahead and drew it out to see what I thought:

Good enough!! You can see I also did some figuring on what I needed for pieces on the bottom. It never hurts to write something down so you can be sure.

From there, I cut some squares, pieced some triangles (sewing a 1/4 inch from the diagonal on all squares to get 2 half-square triangles from each set of squares--not only easier with less cutting, it helps to keep the bias stitching from stretching), and then stitched pairs and then rows together.

Et voila! A mini quilt to hang at Christmas:
It's just under 12" square. You can see that I added a red  border around the piecing. It's actually laid in like piping (without the actually piping) so it does cover up all my points. This may look like a way to hide sloppy piecing, but really I just like to do it that way. (It's the same trim I did on my recent Kaffe Fassett pillow (which the mice also chewed up by the way!!), and on the outside border of the mini crossed canoes quilt, except that one did have piping. Wow! Three of my last three finished projects had it--I must really like it!!)

I then added a border of the small-scale plaid, but cut it on the bias. I wanted something to contrast with all the straight lines of the quilt center. The fabric wasn't long enough to do the usual border (add strips to sides, add strips to top and bottom) or a log cabin (add strips in a circular direction). I thought about using cornerstones but really didn't want to.

I ended up adding strips that were each the length of the piece plus one border width. You go around adding the strips, but you have to sew the first strip on in two parts because you need the butt end there to sew the next strip but you can't sew to the end until the last strip is sewn in. (If anyone knows the name of this style, please let me know. I can't think of it, and it's driving me crazy.)

I layered the back, front and a scrap of cotton batting and quilted a big X across it. Then I echoed the X in the four quadrants to emphasize the angle of the star points. I judged the distance between lines as an 1/8" from the edge of my walking foot. They're not all exactly even, but close enough. I was disappointed at first that I would be quilting right over the loose red trim, but then decided I wasn't going to worry about it.

I then finished it off with the red binding. I cut it 1" wide and used it single thickness. (Lots of quilt bindings are done doubled, but with this being a wall hanging and the flannel already being so thick, it just wasn't necessary or practical.) I will say 1" is too narrow and I don't recommend it. But I got it done.

Three of my four binding corners came out impeccably and I'm very pleased about it! (The fourth was "good enough.")

Out of all the green fabric I used, only one snowman survived. He peeks out at you from the top corner of the quilt...too cute:

The back was pieced from leftovers. I had the most of the green, but still not enough. So another scrap of the small-scale plaid (on the bias again since that's the only way it would cut out) made it big enough to use.

I almost forgot to add the hanging triangles, but remembered in time that I didn't have to rip anything out to get them on there. I didn't have enough of a single fabric so the are pieced as well. (More half-square triangles, but this time I folded them over on the seam.)

I had a lot of fun making this. I kept myself from worrying about the "why" and what I was going to do with it in the end, and just enjoyed making it. It was a hoot. It didn't hurt that I managed to get it done all in one day. It might be my first quilting project that got done before it could be considered a UFO! Yay, me!

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