We're coming up on the end of April and I know many of you have finished your little nine-patch quilts for our Small Quilt of the Month Challenge. I even made this one. It went very fast. I was able to finish putting the binding on it yesterday. Just a reminder - there are still a few days left before April is over and we start in on another one. For this free pattern, see here.
(Please tell me it looks like a doll quilt and not a place mat. I left it on the kitchen island overnight, woke up and jumped out of bed before my husband did so he wouldn't set his breakfast plate on it this morning . . . .)
I went to Indiana earlier this week to give a presentation and teach a workshop. While I was showing some of my quilts I mentioned that I was challenging quilters (you!) to make one small quilt a month from some of the patterns in my books. They looked at me like I was . . . absolutely NUTS. Every guild has its own personality and from the quizzical looks on their faces I figured out that this was a group that mostly made large bed-sized quilts and did not like to "play" with the small ones.
Quilters who don't make small quilts don't get the "obsessive" part of it--it really is addicting. I think it's because with little quilts you have the freedom to make all of the designs you love and dream about in such a small time frame. Once you begin you know you can finish pretty quickly and then go on to the next, and the next and the next . . . . I was able to make an Amish quilt and a Crazy quilt, quilts I knew I would probably never make in full size, even though I admired and loved looking at them.
It's a lot of fun to experiment like that with different blocks, styles and fabrics. There are even times when I'm drawn to more modern fabrics (oh no!) and have toyed with making a very bright-colored quilt. Just for fun. I don't think I will ever give up making reproduction quilts from the 19th century though.
I often have a hard time coming up with a quilting design for my small quilts and sometimes just do what's easy because I'm in a rush to finish (and move on to the next one!). I've used some of my favorite stencils over and over. Last weekend I thumbed through this book of small quilting designs by Shirley Thompson (now out of print, unfortunately ) that I've had for awhile to see if I could use one of the designs for the plain blocks. The quilt I made is so simple I thought it needed something to "spiffy" up those plain blocks.
I didn't have a good light source to trace the designs and did not want to open up my dining room table, take out the leaf, stick a lamp underneath and then run to Home Depot to buy a piece of glass to fit the leaf. Way too much trouble. I seemed to remember that my daughter had a light-up desk when she was a child and wondered if it would work for this. OR if I even saved it. So I scrounged around in the basement for 15 minutes until I found this Crayola light tracing box from her Barbie Fashion Designing days when she was eight. (Lord only knows why I was saving it, maybe just for this?) I copied the design onto tracing paper with a black marking pen and then put my quilt top on top of the box with the design underneath and traced it onto the fabric with a washable fabric marker. Then I layered the quilt and quilted it.
My first try - and I have to say I think it turned out okay. I need to tweak my method a little for next time - the quilt shifted slightly on the box while I was tracing - but all in all not bad. Yes, I know, it is very sparsely quilted. I usually do more but this time I was anxious to get it done so I could show you before the month was up. Depending upon how much more time I want to spend on it, I think I will just quilt around the blocks a bit more and then call it finished. Still cute.
The next quilt (for May) will be taken from my book, The Civil War Sewing Circle. If you are keeping up, we're a third of the way toward making 12 quilts this year. Yippee! I'm having fun, how about you?