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Archive for the tag “mini-quilt”

kitty-cat catch-up


Back in December, I was doing well keeping pace with Elizabeth Hartman’s Cat Quilt-Along–until my college kids came home. Their company and accompanying holiday fun derailed my block-a-day plans–that’s ok.

I’m back at it. Here are Victor, Boogie, Amelia, Max, Violet and Maslow (x 2). Only three more to go!

love and wabi-sabi


When Daughter #1 and I were discussing gift ideas for her family-stay hosts, she thought she’d like to also bring a gift for the program director. Mervyn has coordinated this program with her college for many years. He lives in Northern Ireland, and every year he journeys to her college to meet with the students a couple of times before the study-abroad semester begins. He’ll be working closely with the students while they’re on the program.

At first I thought, well, I’ll make him a table runner too. But then I remembered a mini-quilt tutorial and knew it’d be the ideal gift. You see, Mervyn’s last name is Love, as in Dr. Love–isn’t that the perfect name for a professor of peace studies and conflict resolution?! So I located this true love mini-quilt tutorial by kelbysews on Sew Mama Sew and got to work.

It’s a paper-pieced project, and I had never paper-pieced before. My visual-spatial abilities are sorely lacking (to my architect-husband’s bemusement), so working in reverse is hard for my mind to grasp. I learned quickly to generously overcut each piece to allow for error (and I made a couple). Once I got the hang of it, I managed. If you’ve never paper-pieced before, this tutorial is a great first project.

I made the mini-quilt full size (finished dimensions: 15″ x 20″).


As well as embracing the challenge of a paper-pieced quilt, I also stretched myself on the quilting. My impulse, given the time crunch, was to do a quick overall pattern. But I saw another love mini-quilt, admired its pebble quilting and thought, I can do that! So I did. I straight-line quilted the letters at 1/4-inch intervals.


In my stash, I found the best fabric for the back. I bought it at least 4 years ago–snips of it continue to find their way into my quilts. The words embrace the nature of the study-abroad program–and the term wabi-sabi defines my creative approach.


I pinned a hanging sleeve in place on the back before I sewed the binding in place on the other side. Then when I sewed the binding, the top edge of the sleeve was sewn in place too–one less thing to hand-sew.  I am all about easy.


If it weren’t for the binding and the hanging sleeve, I think the entire piece would be camouflaged in the snow!

cats in mass production


I continue to work on Elizabeth Hartman’s cat quilt-along.


I did some fussy-cutting on this cat. Once I had him pieced . . .

clockwork orange

I realized he resembles a feline version of Alex in Clockwork Orange!

soft kitty, warm kitty . . .


So far I’m keeping pace with Oh Fransson’s Cat Quilt-Along.


The Day 3 cat, Sunny, with its one-sided eye patch, reminded me of my first cat, Black Patch. I swapped the position of the patch to match Black Patch’s and I fussy-cut the kitty fabric for her chin.

black patch linda's cat 8.1973

Do you see the resemblance? (Don’t you just dig the circa 1973 bedroom, with the shag carpet and creepy oversized stuffed panda?! I think I took this picture with the instamatic camera I received for my 11th birthday.) We adopted Black Patch when she showed up on the back patio of our first house in Ho-Ho-Kus NJ. She moved with us to Connecticut and then to Massachusetts. From here she wandered off, and despite the many prayers made by my 12-year-old self to St. Jude (patron saint of lost causes), she never returned–my first experience of the heartbreaking loss of a pet.


For today’s cat, Mia, I had fun fussy-cutting fabric again. Can you see the suggestion of eyes and whiskers? I admire her rakish charm–she looks like she’s wearing a gypsy scarf on her head.

here, kitty, kitty . . .


Although I tried mightily to resist and I have plenty on my Christmas gift-wanna-make plate, I succumbed to the call of Elizabeth Hartman’s Cat-Quilt-Along (or Cat Vent). Every day in December until Christmas, she will be posting a pattern for a different cat. In the end, all the cat faces will go together to make a 30″ x 35″ mini-quilt.

After a brain cramp last night regarding basic assembly (I should know better than to try to sew after 10 pm!), I have found the blocks easy to make–in fact, I’ve decided to make two of each. It’s fun reaching into scrap bins and pulling out old bits to make these feline faces. Despite the usual frenetic pace of Christmas preparations, I plan to take a little time every day to devote to this project–the daily hour in the sewing room will be my gift to me.


I thought I’d make the first cat, Ferdinand, in honor of one of our cats, Hobbes.


Do you see the resemblance?


Today’s cat, Bernadette, reminds me of Grumpy Kitty–look at that unibrow!

time enough


My friend, Jill, is celebrating a birthday today, so I made a mini-quilt just for her. On the cover of her recently published book, a red alarm clock is prominently featured, so I thought in my design I’d give it a nod. I used the circle of squares block (tutorial here) and tweaked the center square to give it clock hands. As Emily suggests in her blog, I simplified the block design for easier piecing. This block comes together quickly (minus the clock hands!)–it would look cool repeated in a quilt.

I used Carolyn Friedlander’s Architextures text fabric for the borders. She went to architecture school here in St. Louis at my husband’s alma mater, so I have a special fondness for her fabric.


Because in her book Jill talks about taking “turtle steps” when faced with a daunting task, I knew I needed to add Aneela Hoey’s turtle fabric on the back.

Happy Birthday, Jill!

finished dimensions: 16″ x 16″

organic matter

organic matter frontA friend celebrated her 40th birthday yesterday–a mere babe. She is a plant scientist, so I knew I wanted to make her something that suggests vegetation in a funky modern way.

I was inspired by two quilts I saw out in the blogosphere: Pick Up Sticks by Faith of Fresh Lemons Quilts and Bright Birch Trees by Amanda Jean of Crazy Mom Quilts. I like how they call to mind bamboo, corn stalks or birch trees.

I sewed scrappy strips and cut them to various widths (finished: 1/2 to 1 1/2 inch). I chose a solid charcoal fabric for the background. After deciding how I wanted the strips placed, I worked left to right, cutting the background, sewing the strip in place, cutting the next piece of background, sewing it in place, and so forth. I enjoy this kind of piecing because there are no rules and I had no final dimensions in mind. I simply squared up the block at the end–easy.

organic matter backFor the back of the mini-quilt, I used fabric that looks like rows of seeds. I found it on the sale table at Jackman’s–bonus! I bound it with Quilter’s Linen by Robert Kaufman in a spring green color, which contrasts well with the gray on front and complements the blue seed back. I made the hanging sleeve from a scrap left over from an apron I made a few years ago.

Using a free-motion foot, I quilted it with loose waves–to me, they look like topographic lines on a map. The finished dimensions are 20″ x 22″.

Happy Birthday, Julie!

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