DISCLAIMER – The author takes no responsibility for the emotional effect that giving away a quilt may induce, be it positive or negative!
Phew! Glad that dirty bit of business is out of the way. Don’t get me wrong, the whole experience of the mini quilt swap I’m currently knee-deep in has been amazingly awe-inspiring. Enough inspirational creativity to make your eyes water has weighed down my Instagram feed for the last few weeks and it shows no sign of letting up just yet. It’s just now, with the deadline looming, I have to part ways with this…
So, a few months ago I heard tell of a mini quilt swap that was due to take place, meticulously organised by Kristi of Schnitzel and Boo. In fact, it was to be round two, with a hugely successful round one having taken place last year. The whole thing sounded awesome and I wanted in, like a secret club, which, not coincidentally, the swap is like. You see, you sign up, answering a questionnaire so that your partner, whoever they may be, can get to know you and your quilting loves a little better. What’s your favourite colour? Who are your favourite fabric designers? What would you absolutely hate? Things like that. After the sign up closed it was a long and, for me, restless wait. I was itching to get started, but couldn’t scratch the itch until I knew who my partner was. Then, my excitement peaked when my phone notified me of an e-mail received. It was from Kristi. The intense task of partner assigning was complete and mission #schnitzelandboominiquiltswap was go-go-go!
In that e-mail was all the details I needed; my partner’s loves and loathes, their social media information, even things they liked to collect. Armed with this knowledge, the task of planing patchwork could begin. Despite my vast and weighty fabric stash, I was surprised to find that I didn’t actually have a lot of what my partner had quoted as her favourites. There was one word that stood out to me though, and that was Echino. My love for this fabric was well documented in this post last year. What better time to finally cut into some of that Japanese goodness?
I wanted my mini to be graphically striking, and play on the improv piecing that I have been embracing lately. I chose to fussy cut frames from a couple of colourways and coupled those with bright and bold prints and solids in my partner’s favourite colours. I couldn’t have asked for a better match. Her tastes were exactly like mine! I set about creating four improv log cabin blocks, using the other fabrics to literally frame the frames. As well as the colours mentioned in the e-mail, I used snippets of text print, including one of my favourites from Carolyn Friedlander’s Architextures collection. I had some fun too with the ‘include the selvedge’ line from a Timeless Treasures print, ‘How to make a pillow case’. Appropriate, seeing as that’s exactly what I intended to do in the binding.
Once the blocks were complete I wanted to surround them in negative space. I used my go-to fabric, Essex Yarn Dyed in black, to add borders to two sides of three blocks and a solid black for the fourth, before joining the blocks into a square. I knew I wanted to quilt the piece quite heavily so I left the squaring up until the quilting was done.
I’ve been inspired a lot by the matchstick quilting I’ve seen on Instagram recently so I used this mini as an excuse to try it out. I didn’t want my lines to be straight or even evenly spaced. Instead, I worked my way out from the center using various thread colours to stitch randomly spaced curving lines. I absolutely love the feel it gives the quilt and it’ll be something I’ll try again soon.
And so there you have it, my first quilt made for somebody I’ve never met! All that’s left for me to do is make a label for it, something I actually hate but, alas, them is the rules! I loved making this quilt and can only hope that my partner feels the same way about it when she receives it as I do. Somebody said that the hardest quilts to give away are the ones that resemble something you’d like to receive. I can tell you that I’d die if this came through my letter box. It sums me up perfectly a quilter in a 24″ square!
Along with the Schnitzel and Boo hashtag, participants have been tagged their posts throughout various social media sites with #makeaquiltmakeafriend. The whole experience has opened my eyes to wealth of new talent that probably would have gone unnoticed to me. I wholeheartedly recommend you go forth and stalk the hashtag to see all the amazing things that are being made for people who love quilts by people who love quilts.
I have to end with a huge thank you to Kristi and all the moderators who helped her with this mammoth task. You guys did great!