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
batting

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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(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.

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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??”

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

I think she liked it, because she cried. ūüôā ¬†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.

Working through it

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On Friday I got word that a good friend had passed away. The details don’t matter, I guess, but hearing the news as people discovered it was terrible.

Kim & I met online, but she wasn’t just my “online” friend. It didn’t matter that we hadn’t actually met in person until last October. We had a lot in common, and she always said she’d take me on a tour of quilts in Amish country near her home.

She wasn’t a quilter, but she loved my quilts and always encouraged me.

By Saturday, news was still spreading, tears were still flowing, and I was beside myself. I had to do something, but there was nothing helpful I *could* do.

So I quilted.

Because Kim was so encouraging and believed in me, I picked up a quilt I had set aside. It had been basted for a good couple of months, waiting for me to work on it.

The truth was, I was scared.

I had an idea and was unsure if I could execute it, even if it was half formed. But Kim knew I could do it. She’d kick me in the behind too, giving me a push whenever I sent long emails full of angst.

Another good friend of mine says everyone grieves in their own way, and for me, I need to keep busy. So I wound a few bobbins, picked up that quilt, put it under the machine, took a deep breath… and quilted.
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The design itself is an explosion of foliage trailing across the quilt top. Some sections are breaking out into the borders. It’s a celebration of life – a life well-lived.

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I only have a vague idea of what to quilt in the background, between the leaves and loops and fantastical flowers, but I’ll forge ahead anyway.

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I’m not even sure what will happen to this particular quilt when it’s done. I only know that every time I see I’ll think of it as Kim’s Quilt.

Two Runners

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I finished two table runners this summer, as well. Both use fabrics from the same christmas line – Jingle All the Way and some Bernartex basics that co-ordinated.

Both runners were from the same pattern, Little Charmers 2. I love her patterns, I want them all.

I separated the dark greens, blues and the yellows for the starry runner. In the background I quilted spirals and in the stars I did straight line, somewhat dot to dot quilting.

For the blocks runner, I used the reds, lighter greens and beiges to build up the design. I messed up the color placement but anyone I showed it to couldn’t tell the difference. I quilted a leafy design following the blocks. Since it is both Christmassy and summery I called it Christmas in Australia.

Both of these runners are available in my Etsy shop.

The Mariner’s Compass quilt

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I got super inspired for this quilt basically when I saw the starry fabric. I dug out navy and yellow scraps and made some borders for the large piece of starry fabric, then used mostly yellows with a strips of blues for the back. So the front could be night and the back day. When I started this back in 2009 (!) I actually called it Night and Day.

I knew I wanted a large focal point that was quilted much like a wholecloth quilt is. I then decided it would be a mariner’s compass design. I looked up a bunch of tutorials on how to draw this mariner’s compass, including making a compass from a pencil and a piece of string. I used chalk to draw the lines on my quilt.

For the straight lines, I used a walking foot and navy thread. This also helped stabilize the quilt. To form the dark and light effect, I quilted with yellow thread on one side of each point and navy on the opposite side. The quilting technique I used is called McTavishing. Love it! I got pretty good at it by the end.

For the background of the compass in the sky, I did a regular stipple, in navy thread. I wanted the central focal point to stand out and the background to fade away.

In the narrow yellow border, I did a rope design – much like a ship would have. The wider blue border I had no ideas for so I’ve left them empty. I can always go back and fill them in. The binding is more scraps of blue and yellow.

You see, I did this quilt for two reasons: my grandfather and my granddaughter. My grandfather was a ship builder. Our home town is by the sea and the ocean is in our blood. On a clear night, I will look up to the sky and find Orion to orient myself.

My granddaughter love space. She insists I help her look up space videos on youTube and find out what the Mars Rover is doing. She talks about spaceships and maybe when she’s bigger she can go to space and visit other planets. In her lifetime this may be possible.

So – from ships on the sea to space ships in the sky, the stars will guide them home.

This quilt is just for me – not for sale, not for any reason but to pay homage to the travellers in our family and the stars in the sky.

Free Motion Floral Sampler Quilt

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A finish! Yay! This might be my first finished quilt of 2014, ugh.

For this quilt, I used the leftover blocks from my Summer Quilt. You can do this with any collection of 10″ squares. I had 25 blocks and some were duplicates.

This would look really awesome in solids or low volume prints or even alternate value prints.
I should just call this my @angelafmq sampler quilt ... ;) every block is a design from her first book.

Take your 25 blocks and lay them out on the floor or design wall until you get a pleasing arrangement. Sew two together for each row until you’ve sewn a whole row. Sew all the rows together.

(or grab two at random until you get most of the way through the stack and start sewing those pairs together. Make sure you leave enough single blocks behind to finish each row.)

Back view for texture. #quilt

For the backing, I had fabric that was 54″ wide and used that. Baste well with batting of your choice. Mine needed work.

For the quilting – this is the fun part.

I used my walking foot first and stitched in the ditch for each seam, leaving a nice square sewn for each block.

Scroll quilting.  I need practise there too. Hard to do in a square. :)

In each square, I quilted a different free motion design using the Bernina Stitch regulator on some and my free motion foot. I worked my way through Free-Motion Quilting with Angela Walters
and some of Leah Day’s free motion quilting designs as well. Have fun here! I used a white thread in the top and bottom on all fabrics.

For the binding, I trimmed the back so it was 2″ all around and folded it over to the front, then sewed it down. I screwed up trying to trim the corners so I won’t show that bit – just know there’s a gap. Sigh. I really need to work on mitring my binding, especially the “bringing the backing to the front” kind, which I don’t do often.

Nice and crinkly from the dryer.

This quilt I am leaving in my own stash for an example of the kind of quilting I can do. I hope eventually to maybe quilt for customers, so this should give them something to look at to pick quilting styles if wanted. At the very least, it showcases my skills now and I can compare it to another quilt a few years from now.

Appliqued baby name quilt

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When I heard I was going to be a grandmother for the third time in four years, well of course my first thought was what quilt I was going to make.

Okay, maybe that was my second thought.

After I made this baby quilt, I figured you would love to have this free baby quilt pattern. It was super fast and easy to make.

I had a yard or two of a lovely fabric with dancing bunnies in pretty pastel Easter gowns. It was perfect after we knew we would be expecting another girl. I pulled some somewhat matching tiny prints for the letters for the front of the quilt.

baby quilt letter placement

For the front piece of the baby quilt, I used about a yard of a tone on tone off-white print. It’s about 30-36″ by the 42″ width of the fabric. Then I cut the letters freehand from the fat quarters I had chosen to complement the print on the back.

The letters could also be done with a large thick font. My size was about as big as a regular sheet of printer paper, so you could draw them out on paper first and then cut them from the fabric.

It would be smarter as well, to fuse some fusible web to the back of the fabric before cutting out the letters. I didn’t, and it made my work a bit harder.

Also if you have a name with a lot more letters, you will need to make the letters smaller so they all fit. If you’re not sure, do a test with paper letters first.

baby quilt testing fabric placement

 

You can see here how I didn’t like the original fabric for the letter A and swapped it for a yellow instead.

fusing letters in place on baby quilt

 

Here’s the quilt on my design board with the letters pinned in place to test placement. You can go vertically in a straight line – mark a guide line if you like – or go all funky and wonky.

Fuse the letters in place. This is mostly to hold them down before appliqu√©ing. ¬†I used a blanket stitch that came on my Bernina Aurora 440 Quilter’s Edition. A zig zag will also work perfectly fine.

back of baby quilt

 

Baste the top and bottom together with your favourite batting and quilt away! I used an allover paisley design, and went around the letters entirely, adjusting the design to fit. This is great practise for any allover design you want to try. And a baby quilt is a great size to practise on.

I also used a pretty Sulky variegated thread in pink / green / yellow. It matched perfectly.

easy fast baby quilt

 

You can see here how puffy the letters look. The only thing I would do different now is to outline quilt the letters.

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I bound the quilt in a jade green dot that was actually from a line of Christmas fabric. It works though!

I always pre-wash my quilt, so after coming out of the washer and dryer, the cotton fabrics and cotton batting crinkled up so nicely. It looks like a family heirloom already.

This is a super easy and fast quilt to through together. Just make sure the parents don’t change the name before birth, if you are making one ahead of time. ūüėČ

Cowboy quilt

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Or maybe “The¬†Sheriff¬†is in town”. I bought the fabric for this quilt a few years ago in a thrift store. 3 yards of each grey print, just sitting there. I maybe paid a buck a yard, not a thing wrong with it.

Ever since I got the fabric, I had an idea that I¬†would¬†have to do a quilt with bright solid stars, so I drew it up and roughed in some measurements and finally started it this¬†month. Well, February but you knew what I meant. ūüėČ I did want a bit of a modern spin on it, so that will probably happen with the quilting¬†itself.

sashing strips

I wanted to see how long a typical quilt will take me, so I’m going to try and track my time. I spent 50 mins getting these sashing pieces sewn and pressed today.

Before that, I figure I spent 2 hours planning and drawing, and cutting the pieces. That’s probably a conservative guesstimate there.

first row together

Once the sashing strips were done, it only took twenty minutes to do the first row.

laying it out

uh-oh. I looked at the sashing pieces I had, said “That can’t be right” and realized I mis counted somewhere.

I have a grey stack of strips without the triangles on the corners, but couldn’t remember if I’d cut too many pieces or not. I opent get rotary-happy when cutting and cut out waaayyy too many pieces!

Do you think this would be a good free tutorial to write up? It’s just large enough that the backing can be done with one piece of fabric, and will be a nice baby quilt size.

Edit: I did manage to get half the top pieced today. Hoping to do the rest tonight.

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Back in the swing of it

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Now that the room is up, I’ve been making time to spend down there. I also got some Craftsy classes, including Quilting Negative Space. I’m a HUGE fan of Angela already and this class is just great. I’m really enjoying it, even though I listen along as I’m making supper.

Tonight I had the itch to quilt so I decided to practise some¬†patterns¬†from Angela’s book along with encouragement from her course. I¬†already¬†had a baby quilt laying in a sad pile waiting for me to figure out how to do it. I took Angela’s advice to break it up into smaller sections. It’s improv pieced so there’s no real background, but since it’s so wild, I figured it was a great chance to practise different techniques all over it.

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Here I did two long pieces near the middle to start off and warm up.

 

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You can see the loops, back and forth (love this) and some swirls.

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Close up of doing the all over leaf pattern in the next “block”.

 

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In this block I marked a single line diagonally across then followed it to make the sunburst effect. I love how it feels.

 

 

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Two more long strips gave me the opportunity to try the swirl scroll and woodgrain. The scroll needs some work, but it’s good enough!

 

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And there’s all the work I did this evening. Halfway done!

It was quite fun doing a different design in each section or strip.

 

Update: I actually went through a whole bobbin last night, did a quick bit this morning and ran out of the *second* bobbin,

Pinwheels all done!

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Finally! And the pictures uploaded!

As I said in previous entires, I wanted to give the illusion of movement for the pinwheels and I think I got it here.

Note how I used a swooping curve in the plain triangles and left the print areas alone. I knew I wanted them puffy and raised, so I left them.

I went with a heavy back and forth quilting in all the sashing to flatten it and emphasize the pinwheels. I think I nailed it.

I’m also really happy with the 3 kinds of gingham used in the quilt.

The other thing I did slightly differently, was early on in my quilting process I swapped out my usual stitch regular automated foot and just went with the free motion or darning foot instead.

I think I want to write more about that, so someone looking at the Bernina stitch regulator will have some details.