How to make a Minion quilt

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When I first saw the Minions fabric at Fat Quarter Shop, I told my husband, “OMG, they have Minion fabric,” and he said, “Buy it and make a quilt for Kim.”

So if the husband says buy fabric… well. Kim is an awesome lady we both work with. Some days I think she holds the place together. And she really really likes Minions.

This was a fast quilt for me, since I’m posting about the finish already. I ordered the fabric on July 4th.

If you want to make your own, you will need:
Minions Fat Quarter bundle + two panels included in the bundle (oops, out of stock. 13 prints plus two bundles)
Yellow Brick Road pattern
5 yards backing fabric
1/2 yard binding

I followed the Yellow Brick Road pattern for the twin size right up to the laying out of the blocks. The twin size gives you 40 blocks from 12 fat quarters, but to go around the panel properly, you need 44.Since there are 13 FQs in the bundle, I set one aside to use as the corner blocks. I could just manage four 9.5″ blocks from the extra fat quarter. With the addition of the panel in the middle, it finishes at lap size. I left off the borders in the pattern.


I did a preliminary layout here. There are two rows of seven blocks above and below the panel, and two columns of four blocks on either side. I did an initial trim of the panel to fit.


Here’s the final piecing of the top, after some rearranging. I pieced the columns to either side of the panel first, then added the top and bottom rows.


And then I quilted the heck out of it! For the panel in the middle, I went around each Minion and highlighted details. I used a pale yellow poly thread, top and bobbin.


I decided that otherwise, I’d use an all over stipple, right into the background panel.

For the backing, I used the second panel with 5 yards of a yellow solid, and slightly offset the panel from the middle.


You can see some of the quilting of the Minions on the front on the back and how they overlap the panel there. The quilting and binding were done over two days, my Friday and Saturday off work. I might have started Thursday evening, I can’t remember. I got out of the habit of writing it down and will have to do this for my other projects.


(Kim is one in a Minion, for sure.)

For binding, I like to frame my quilts, so I picked a navy that was present in some of the prints. It was a less harsh than black.


And then I stared at it and smiled. And took it to TWO quilt guild meetings where everyone OOOHED and AAAHHED and “where DID you find that fabric??”


Then I wrote a nice note from the both of us, mailed it off and waited.

I think she liked it, because she cried. 🙂  I loved making this quilt, even though it killed me not to post progress shots. Kim does a lot, and it’s hard to look at this quit and NOT be happy, so I’m sure it will brighten her day every time she looks at it.

I think this was one of the faster finished this year, since from ordering the fabric to receiving the finish was three months.

Giggles quilt finish

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A while back, I heard that a friend of mine was expecting and told her I’d love to send a quilt. I sent a few pictures of ones I had on hand that were finished and some in progress. She really loved the Giggles quit top I had finished, because of its modern aesthetic.


Thankfully by then it was basted and I was left with the hard part – how to quilt it. I confess I basically did what Angela Walters did on the pattern cover. I have taken a number of Craftsy classes from Angela so I’d like to think I nailed it.

I started out stitching in the ditch, just to divide it up and stabilize it.


Since I deviated from the pattern itself in terms of color placement, I decided to leave the one red portion unquilted. I did use batting that will take up to 10″ unquilted so that should be fine. I also used white thread, top and bottom for white areas, and a navy thread top and bobbin for the blue areas.



After binding in the same blue as the back, I washed it in homemade laundry soap that is scent free and detergent free, then gave it  a spin in the dryer without any dryer sheet, so it has no harsh chemicals on it for baby’s skin. I also remembered to add one of my labels!


Best part it also has that crinkled loved in look already! It will soon be on its way to cuddle the new baby, who has since made his appearance.


I would definitely make this again, and maybe do up some sketches on paper to play with different color placements.

Fast Forward with kids and puppies

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I started this quilt a couple-few years ago, never posted progress shots, barely mentioned it in a to finish list, then eventually quilted it, Instagrammed some shots and never blogged it.



Here’s my official record.

With the Fast Forward pattern from Julie Herman picked up at my local quilt shop, I paired it with a really cute jelly roll whose line I can’t remember. Also purchased at my local shop. Back in 2013.


I paired it with a brown solid, since I liked the dark effect on the pattern cover. I also had lots of brown to use.


For the back, I picked out a matching light blue, just to break up the brown.


Eventually I stared at it long enough to figure out how I wanted to quilt it. (that was last summer)


I used a dot to dot sort of technique, with radiating lines. I did mark main lines to the middle of the strips. In the print parts, I did a FMQ loop de loop.


Then I put it in my Etsy shop. It’s looking for a home.

I might make this again, but different, maybe a light background? There’s another pattern that looks similar, but the pieced prints and solids are reversed.

When I quilt

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Here I go, making sure I blog. I had two quilt guild meetings earlier this week, and I still mean to write about those, but they may be long. So of course I put it off.

And because I promised Amy I have to blog something right? 😉

I think a lot about the process of quilting and actually quilting (and sewing and pressing and fabric pulling and layout), and I would do it all day every day if I could.

I did learn by doing the Year of Making that I totally go in cycles, especially in a week. I work from home doing tech support for a WordPress company, and my work week starts on Sundays.

I also get up early and consequently go to bed early, so my evenings for anything productive don’t run later than 8 or 8:30, usually. I make way too many mistakes later than that.

So, diving in to my work Sunday, a mid morning weekly call from my mother, afternoon lull where maybe I can finish something else but it usually turns to housework, and post dinner I go visit my son, his wife and our three adorable monkey granddaughters.

By Monday evenings, it’s usually another run to the grocery store, maybe Tuesday.

By Wednesdays, if I haven’t sewn since Saturday I make sure to go do something, or my husband makes sure I do because it is an instant mood improver. Thursday is the last day of my work week, so by then, it is all Thursday evening in the sewing room, maybe even a grocery trip again, but by then I feel I can stay up later.

Friday – Friday is the BEST day because I almost always spend the entire day quilting. And I attack it like it was my job. I have lists, I have project bags and I have a clean workspace. Okay only sometimes, but you get my drift.

Usually I am down in my basement sewing room by 9:30am, iPad in hand to listen to shows on Netflix and I go straight through to lunch. After lunch, I’m back again till maybe 3pm-ish for snacktime and then done by 5 for dinner.

Friday night I spend time with the hubby, for a date night.

Saturday is errands, housework, working on our new/old house we bought, and some sewing if I can. About half the time it’s another sewing day, but if it is I’m pretty tired by the end. Bath, movie in bed after that, sleep, then I get up and start my week all over again.

By some standards, I get LOADS of sewing time in there – two whole days! And then some nights! So I’m pretty lucky there.

When do you sew?

Blue bars minimalist quilt

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Ages ago, I saw a preview post for Modern Minimal: 20 Bold & Graphic Quilts and fell IN LOVE with the quilt on the cover.

Even though it was folded and you couldn’t see the entire thing, and it was a teeny picture, I was so inspired I pulled out all my yellows and quickly did my own spin on it.

When it was done, I posted on Instagram and someone offered to buy it within 20 minutes. Maybe that’s why I never posted about it here in my blog? It went fast. And that was 2 years ago.

But it was also quite popular. I had quite a number of private comments from others saying how much they liked it and how sorry there were to hear that someone else got it.

So, since the first one was so sunny and yellow, I decided to do the same in blues. This time the process went a bit slower.

Instead of improv, I had made sure I wrote down all the pieces on the yellow quilt so I could make it again. I have one notebook where I try and sketch out all my quilt ideas and notes and measurements, so at least they’re all in one place.

I pulled all the blue solids, and some other color groupings, editing until it felt right.




Piecing was easy and straightforward enough.


Sorry for blur!  Eventually I decided it needed to be bigger, so added a border.

Then finally, decide on backing, piece as needed. Baste.

It took a while for me to decide how to quilt it. I’d done straight line quilting on the last version of this, the yellow, and wanted something a bit “more”. But not *too* much, you know?



Here I am testing designs on scraps. Initially I was going to use lofty poly batting, then while testing remembered how I don’t like working with it. I changed the batting used and was much happier.

Going around some blogs was the wavy line quilting, which looks fantastic but is just as easy as straight line. Still somewhat boring to do, but the finished texture. Oh my.

Even with needle troubles, thread issues and waning patience, it still manages to look darn good. According to the pictures, it took from March thru June to finish up, but I worked on a pile of other things too.



The how to is the same as just straight line with your walking foot, except you change the machine setting to use the 3 step zig zag. That’s it. But oh how lovely it looks. I didn’t mark anything – just followed a seam line from the middle and spaced each one thereafter organically. Or, “works for me”.

This quilt is for sale to a good home, even though I haven’t managed to list it in my Etsy shop yet.


Sticks and Stones topper, take two

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I have made this topper before, following the directions, for Christmas. It’s a great little topper for the middle of my table.

My mom liked it a lot, especially the size. So, while I was at her place sorting her fabric (I’m the best daughter ever) I pulled out three fabrics that I thought would look good.


So, even though I used the same Sticks and Stones pattern, I had to adjust it slightly for cutting the same pieces from yardage. You can be very efficient by cutting strips the width you need and not 5″ squares that would come in a charm pack.

I sewed it up on one of my mom’s machines and had it done by dinner. I did straight line quilting just in the cross sections.


And here’s the back.


You could easily use 3 fat quarters for this instead of a charm pack, with a fourth FQ for the backing.

Butterfly quilt

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I took on a quilting job that was not for my mom. One of my remote co-workers had seen pictures of my quilts and loved them. She was working on a baby quilt of her own and was not happy with the quilting she had started.

So, she asked if I would quilt it for her – for PAY even!


This is how the quilt arrived – basted and some preliminary lines done. She said she wasn’t sure she liked what she had already done, so if I had other ideas, it was totally okay to take them out if I wanted.


So I did. Honestly, this was the bulk of the work.


I pressed the top and the backing quite throughly and basted it again to new batting, replacing the 100% poly with a 50/50 blend.


And boy howdy did I have ideas! I thought it would be best to have Mctavishing in the white blocks, and a feathery design on the pink triangles.

I settled on a heart & feather combo. I did use a template for this and stitched over tracing paper to have a design to follow.

I did also stitch in the ditch on the seam lines, but only the pink ones – not inner ones on white blocks. These were mostly diagonal and just to divide the quilt into sections for quilting.


Back view – you can see I just went around the butterflies and left them unquilted.


The finished quilt! I machine bound it with strips cut off the backing when I trimmed it after quilting.


Here’s a close up of the crinkly goodness after I washed and dried it. I always do this for quilts I know that will be used.


Overall back view.

When Corinne received her quilt back in the mail she was SO HAPPY.

Bag and wallet with Tula Pinks Elizabeth line

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One of the recent bag patterns I’ve made that I really like is the Rosie bag from Swoon patterns. And since I had a half yard bundle of my coveted Elizabeth fabrics from Tula Pink, it was only natural I combine them, right?



For the wallet, I use my tried and true, best wallet ever, A Safe Place. It’s Canadian and I’ve made it six times, easy. I like it because it has enough slots for all my cards and TWO sections for cash. This is great for going back and forth over the border, because I keep Canadian cash on one side, American on the other side. Plus a zippered pocket and a velcro flapped pouch. And it is thin.



I also like that you can use different fabrics for each waller section to really showcase them.  I could have placed this face better so it’s not upside down when i hold the wallet, but I’m squeezing out as much as I can from this line. 😉 I made my own bias strips from the green striped fabric. While I stuck to the blues for the bag, I added some of the greens to finish out the wallet.



I finally realized in this version, I need to adjust the wallet pattern just 1/4″ wider on the sides, as the card slots are almost always a snug fit with scant 1/4″ seams. You’ll notice I left off the closing strap as well.


For the bag, I used the blue bat print for lining and the deco shells for the inner and outer pockets.



The outside is this greyed out navy dress weight unidentified fabric I picked up at a thrift shop. It would make nice dress pants or a skirt too, but is all business here.



I also modified the handles to be non-adjustable, because I’ve tested this for me on another version and found the perfect length. So I only needed one handle piece not two as the pattern called for and I skipped the handle connectors, sewing the sides right to the bag sides.

I’ve been having persistent issues with inserting linings into bags, so when I did the lining here, I took a slightly bigger seam allowance, and after the bag was done, I tacked it in a few places at the bottom so it would stay in place.

While I haven’t taken this for a spin yet, I’m pretty happy with how this turned out.

Neutral Feathers

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I can’t believe I haven’t written about this quilt yet.

I started it WAY back in September 2010, when I decided I had enough neutral fabrics that I could make this pattern. (Pattern available for free here.)


By end of October 2010 the top was pieced, but it wasn’t until last September that I finally got it basted. (and finally writing a blog post a year later but we’ll skip that part, right?)


The back was a large piece Mom picked up at a thrift store. Pretty sure it was a duvet cover in a former life, but it matched well enough.

And then it sat for a bit because I had big ideas to quilt it, but I wasn’t sure if I could pull it off. It was scary! I wanted feathers but at the time I wasn’t sure if I was “good enough” to quilt them the way I saw them in my head.


So I fretted. And I sketched. And I practised on paper.

And then I finally took a deep breath, marked the spines where I wanted and just WENT FOR IT.


The border was the biggest challenge so aside from a few wobbles I think I did pretty well.


The square blocks I actually used a stencil, because it really did help me with the curves. The curvy bits on feathers are the hardest for me, so of course I have to toss more in.


I decided to leave the sashing un-quilted, partly because it is so skinny, and partly for emphasis.

This quilt is also listed in my Etsy shop. I’m really happy with how it turned out because it’s one of the first ones that I think I stretched my skills and rose to match what I saw in my head.





Three green baby quilts

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A while back, I found a great quilt pattern in a magazine for 3 fast baby quilts from 3 one yard cuts of fabric. You can download the pattern here from Quiltmaker magazine.

I have made this a few times before, and it’s great to make baby quilts when there is a boom or just to have on hand for gifts. The finish up really fast and can get quilted in no time.

Well, in the company I work for we had babies popping out all over, so one day I grabbed three nice co-ordinating fabrics. I’m not sure of the line, since Mom bought them, but they had bunnies and carrots and garden implements. I also couldn’t find the pattern, but figured I could wing it from memory.


I cut the fabric wrong.

I did manage to get two quilt tops from it, which technically was what I needed. The inner square wound up smaller than it should have.

On one quilt, I did huge swooping feathers all around, with the baby name stitched in the center.


And of course I can’t find a picture of the second quilt, but it was similar to the one above, just different fabric placement. Edit: found some progress pictures from August 25th 2014!



The recipient of this particular one asked if I used some sort of pattern for the stitching design. He was floored when I said no – it was freehand!


Since I mis-cut fabrics, with the rest I simply cut them all into squares and laid them out with each print on the diagonal.


I know I’m using the same picture as the last entry, but you can see the baby quilt here, folded in half. I just did all over stippling on this one. It is currently without a home and I will likely list it in my Etsy shop.