Oh what a winding journey this quilt has made. This little mini quilt has a long story behind it.
In the center of this quilt is a star – I sketched this star in 2016, back in the early days of Mini Barn Quilts. There was an idea I had which would have added an entire line of other products to that brand but it never came to full fruition. Eventually I came back to this sketch and then, armed with a Cricut machine, I cut card stock into shapes to English Paper Piece (EPP) a beautiful star.
I kept the parts and pieces it in a lovely little tin I’d received from Yvonne over at Quilting Jet girl years ago after I helped her with some WordPress issues. I did a lot of that hand stitching at the picnic table during lunch at work when I worked in Sutton. That job was not good for my mental health at the time. Brining handiwork to do at lunch combined with eating better and spending intentional time away from my desk at lunch helped get through the hump the helped me remember that if a job isn’t a good fit for me – it’s okay to move on.
I really enjoyed that hand stitching but when it came time to finish it I realized I hadn’t done a vert good job at designing the EPP pattern and the borders were too narrow to “make it work” so it got put back in the little gold tin until I could figure out what to do with it.
Fast forward a few years to 2019, now we live in Vermont and I’ve been cleaning and I come across this tin. I looked at my shambled work and decided that it had served it’s purpose but no longer sparked joy. I thanked it and threw it in the trash. I was a little high on Marie Kondo at the time.
Fast forward one more day and I pulled it out of the trash. Cause, gosh darn it, despite it’s imperfections it deserved a second chance. So I pulled all the paper out of the pieces, pressed the block into submissions to try and make things flat and then sewed a couple hap-hazard background pieces to stabilize it for it’s next border. That’s when I knew it was going to be the medallion in a mini quilt.
This was around the time that Kitty at Night Quilter came out with her Sew Tiny Sampler pattern and it all clicked. Once I gathered up the rest of the scraps from the charm pack I initially pulled the medallion fabric from I got started whipping up the most charming little quilt blocks!
After the first 4 mini blocks I finally made it to one of the meetings of the Vermont MQG and brought my littles to show and tell to introduce myself to the group (June 2019)
After lots of math, graph paper, sketching, more math and some cussing I decided that in order to surround the medallion with a border of tiny quilt blocks I was going to need to add a thin border or leave more white/negative space around the star than I’d planned.
Part of that planning lead me to designing and sewing 4 additional tiny paper pieced blocks. Rather than have 4 duplicate blocks I wanted to keep with the sampler style in this border. I think they compliment Kitty’s blocks nicely and I’ve made a PDF of them available to download. I am the only person who has tested these blocks so use at your own peril.
Once the vast white space was patched (see earlier reference to hap-hazard crafting) and the border of tiny blocks was applied I had to get back to the math drawing board to add the perfect thin border between the blocks and the lovely rainbow square border. Gosh it’s nice when the math works out and your little 3/4″ squares connect near-perfectly!
As I was planning the border of rainbow squares I knew I wanted more white space outside that border before finishing up with some snazzy binding hijinks. I didn’t want another traditional style border, I wanted something with a lot of white space, to help balance the white space around the star, and something slightly less balanced. I’d already decided to quilt the mini using a big spiral so to add some new shapes I decided some equilateral triangles would be perfect.
You don’t see a ton of equilateral triangles in quilting, typically things are half square triangles or flying geese but I adore how the two up and three down set looked in the sketches so I whipped up another paper piecing pattern to put together those pieces. I’ve also made those blocks available for download. Again they are not tested by anyone other than myself so use at your own peril.
I loved how the white space with the arrows created movement and breathing room. As someone who only straight line quilts I always feel like my well of options is limited but with the new-found movement in the quilt I knew a big spiral was a new technique I needed to conquer with this project.
Because the triangles were only on the sides I wanted to add a peek-a-boo of more colors at the top. I remembered a post about a flanged binding that I’d seen a while back. I did a flange with my quillow, that didn’t come out quite how I had envisioned but I though this binding with faux piping tutorial from The Quilting Company might be the ticket!
I was delighted with the outcome!
It took a while for all of this to come together but at the October 2019 guild meeting I got to follow up my very first show and tell with a finished mini. When I got home I hung it in the barn for a couple photos and a quick quilt show with the chickens. The had very positive opinions on the piece.