Make Mine a MINI
A mini-quilt that is.I have made some really, really big quilts. Like king-sized. They are a beast to piece and definitely to quilt. I can easily spend a year working on a king-sized quilt (not to mention, spend hundreds of dollars on fabric and supplies). In addition, they are usually pretty basic designs, because just their size alone is so demanding. Which is why sometimes I like to work smaller. Much smaller. Like mini-size. A mini can be a wall hanging, a table runner, a set of placemats, a hot pad, a mug rug or even a coaster. A mug rug, by-the way, is a little piece for setting your mug on – bigger than a coaster, but generally smaller than a hot pad.
I have made many minis and I have received many minis as gifts and in swaps. There are many things to love about making minis. You can try something out on a small scale to see if you like it before committing to a huge quilt; you can showcase an awesome bit of fabric that you don’t have enough of for a bigger project; and you can practice a new technique. If you find a design you love, it is easy to make several assembly-line style for gifts. Last but not least, minis make great gifts and are an inexpensive way to gift something quilty. I have worked in mini for all of these reasons.
Audition a Design
This mug rug is made of super tiny flying geese. Originally I had in mind to make a throw-sized flying geese quilt. Before I purchased all the fabric and spent too much time designing the layout for the quilt, I decided to see how much work my vision would really be. I had made quite a few flying geese units in the past, but never more than four or eight units in a block. What I had in mind would have included hundreds of units. So I grabbed some scarps and went to work on some mini-geese for a mug rug. I used a no-waste method, which is supposed to be fast, but I still found it to be fairly tedious. Once I got this put together I was convinced that doing a large quilt exclusively from flying geese would mean the end of my sanity.
Showcase that Gorgeous Fabric
This mini is a great example of using the medium to showcase a stellar piece of fabric. The red fabric in the “W” is one of my all-time favorites. I just love everything about it. Unfortunately, at the time, I only had one fat quarter (18” x 21”) of it and wasn’t prepared to buy more. I needed to find a wedding gift for my neighbor’s daughter and decided to use this piece. The funny thing about this story is that the daughter is a Wadsworth and she was marrying another Wadsworth – no relation. So she was going to be able to keep her maiden name while still taking her husband’s name. I thought it was so sweet that I chose to do a mini “W” for them. By using just this one beautiful fabric against a contrasting-color background, the fabric is the star in this piece.
I liked the way it turned out so very much that a few months later I made another one for my in-laws with the blue colorway from the same line of fabric.
Try Something New
Here are three examples of new techniques that I was just learning. Making them into minis was the perfect way to practice.
First time working with Dresden Plates:
First time working with curves:
First time working with paper piecing:
Assembly Line Sewing
I have this thing about Christmas gifts being homemade. Every year I tell myself no, I cannot do it. I don’t have time, it’s too much work. And then, invariably, three weeks before Christmas I decide I must make some of the gifts. Minis are the perfect solution to my crazy. And by doing small projects assembly-line style, I can get them done quickly.
Giving Gifts Makes Me Happy
As I said above, I love to sew for gifts. Here are two of my favorite minis I have made for gifts.
Getting is Just as Nice as Giving
I have been the lucky recipient of many minis over the years. Here are a few of my favorites.
I hope these minis inspire you to make something small and sweet. If you need further motivation, check out this book from Abbey Lane Quilts. I just won a copy at Winter Quiltfest and I can’t wait to do some more mini-magic with these patterns.