Friday, February 25, 2011

Tiny Quilts

Sometimes you want to do a craft project, or learn a new skill, but it's daunting to start. Making mini versions is a nice way to get in the game. Also, miniature versions of almost anything are so pleasing. We made Snowy and Chinook's bedding out of some fabric scraps and some felted wool (the mattress is a stack of 2 books and their sheets are paper) — we'll see if we can find a better detail to post.

The purlbee is one of our favourite resources for craft ideas and inspiration. They are currently working on a series of mini quilts. Below is a detail of their February quilt. We think this is a fantastic idea, and it has inspired our post today.

The nice thing about quilting is that the quality of the hand sewing leaves a sort of fingerprint behind. All the imperfections in the sewing make it more special. Allowing the shapes to be wonky, as in crazy quilting, makes it more interesting, rather than less perfect (image is from texasquiltappraiser).

You can also make the stitching part of the pattern, as in these two owl samples (image on the left is from the Canadian Textile Museum; right is from texasquiltappraiser).

The quilts at the purlbee are amazing and done with great skill. But your own creation, for a doll, or to hang up on the wall, will be unique to you. This is the type of project that could be suitable for a child old enough to handle needle and thread safely, if an adult can provide help with cutting and ironing.

If you don't want to quilt together shapes, there is a technique from Martha Stewart that is really great: choose a patterned fabric and then "trace" (with stitching) around elements in the pattern. She does a larger version with machine stitching called Follow-the-Lines quilt. On a miniature version, hand stitching would be possible, instead of machine stitching.

Finally, you can find a tutorial by Joelle Hoverson, of the purlbee, on Martha Stewart: Making a Quilted Coaster Set. The tutorial is one of the projects from Hoverson's book Last Minute Patchwork and Quilted Gifts, which is an excellent introduction to quilting and patchwork (and very sweet).

These miniature quilts are a nice project for a chilly afternoon. Currently, there is a child-size quilt in the works over here — we'll post more about that later.

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