Monthly Minis

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Growing up, my mom had these fun little cross stitched pillows (we’re talking maybe 4″ x 5″) that corresponded with each month. They lived in a drawer and my two sisters and I went through a phase where we would fight over who’s turn it was to change the pillow. It was such a fun part of my childhood that I wanted to do something similar in our home. Since I don’t cross stitch and do quilt, I decided to make monthly minis. I started with September back in September 2015 and I just finished the rest today. I couldn’t make up my mind for a few months last year, so we were mini-less! That has been rectified and I feel really relieved. I have taken a photo of each month (and a few extra bonus minis I’ve made as well), and I’ve done my best to link to where you can find the pattern should you feel so inclined to make one. 🙂

JANUARY:IMG_1368

Mrs. Snowman complete with french knot snowflakes. I used Lori Holt’s #mrsnowmansewalong on instagram for these instructions.

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I used Cluck Cluck Sew’s free heart tutorial. In hindsight, I would’ve added a small-ish border.

MARCH:

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I used the clover part of a Splendid Sampler block and added a simple border to enlarge it. The multi colored polka dot was just too perfect to pass up for this one!

APRIL:

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Camille Roskelley’s Mini Raincheck was perfect for my April vibe. (She has it free on her site and has for awhile). I used Desert Bloom by Sherri & Chelsi and added on borders instead of making more blocks to enlarge it.

MAY:

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May flowers were perfect for this mini. This was actually my very first attempt at free motion quilting. I had zero practice and just went for it. This is Camille Roskelley’s Flower Patch in Hello Darling.

JUNE:

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Ice cream cones were a must for June as it usually starts getting very hot in Utah. I found a free Single Scoop paper pieced pattern and repeated it 4 times.

JULY:

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For the 4th of July, there is a big hot air balloon event held each year in a neighboring city. It’s been fun to go with our kids, so a patriotic hot air balloon fit the bill. This is Alli Jenson’s Rise pattern with some modifications to add in the stars.

AUGUST:

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This is a cheater because my sweet mom made it for me. August was a month I just couldn’t pin down and she surprised me with this adorable watermelon. Isn’t it perfect?!?!

SEPTEMBER:

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September is a simple 6″ maple leaf block on repeat 4 times. There are plenty of great tutorials if you search the internet for one. Our leaves change big time here in September and we see all shades, just like this mini.

OCTOBER:

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October is a patchwork pumpkin from Lori Holt’s Farmgirl Vintage book with some fun jack-o-lantern applique I added at the last minute.

NOVEMBER:

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This is Lori Holt’s “Tom Turkey” block, before he was modified with actual legs. I love his skinny little embroidered legs. It reminds me of hand turkeys we all draw around thanksgiving.

DECEMBER:

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I made a present for December not to remind us all about presents at Christmas, but to remind us that Jesus Christ is the greatest gift we’ve ever been given. Maybe as my kids grow up, we can have some nice chats about that. This was a free Kate Spain pattern called Flurry.

BIRTHDAY:

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Each time a family member has a birthday, I try really, really hard to remember to put out this special birthday mini. This is once again a free Lori Holt pattern. I omitted the ribbon around the cake stand.

OLYMPICS:

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If you’re new around here, then you missed my Olympics obsession. They’re just my favorite. I have this free mini pattern available on my site. Yes, it will only be used for a few weeks every 2 years, but it is just way too much fun to not have for my mini stand!

Now for the question I am certain will be asked. How do I display my minis? I have a cute little mini stand I purchased on line.  I then put a small hanging sleeve on the back and slide it into the mini holder. It works great and sits on top of my piano for all to see.

 

How to: Make a Quilt Feel More “Manly”

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First and foremost, this is just my opinion on the matter of “manly” quilts. I have two sons and zero daughters, yet I gravitate mostly towards PINK pink pink pink pink with a little aqua thrown in for good measure. I challenged myself this year to make at least one quilt that I would consider manly enough to proudly place on either of my son’s beds. Yes, there is nothing wrong with pink quilts on beds. Nothing at all. However, I just can’t seem to step away from more feminine colors and patterns.

I have had Samantha’s (Aqua Paisley) Cherry Tree Lane quilt on my list since last December when she hosted her quiltalong. Life was just way too crazy with my own holiday sewing and binding for others that I couldn’t participate. I looked in my stash and realized I only had 1 jelly roll and it was the cool colorway of Blueberry Park. I took it as my sign that this was to be my attempt at a “manly” quilt.

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I wouldn’t necessarily consider a trellis style quilt to be very “manly”, but I decided I was up for the challenge. I’ve included Samantha’s cover image from her pattern as a reference. Isn’t it such a stunningly beautiful quilt?!?! Here is what I did to make it feel more “manly”:

1- I used a light gray background to help darken the sashing bits. I do love white and the crisp, clean look it gives, but for a masculine quilt it is a great opportunity to use something other than white.

2- I ended up doing away with the horizontal sashing once I laid it out. I just LOVED the look that was achieved when I took the extra sashing away.

3- Had I sashed the quilt further, I was planning on continuing the same navy blue setting stones I had used in the middle of each block and decreasing the size of the sashing to be similar to the smaller sashing. Getting rid of the scrappy element helps to make it feel more masculine. (Check out Samantha’s “Bert” version of this quilt on Instagram. Having never seen this version, I realized after I planned my changes that she and I were on the same wavelength!)

4- I wasn’t afraid of flowery fabric!! There are still flowers and other more feminine motifs in the Blueberry Park range, however, one can achieve a masculine feel even with flowers!! Don’t shy away from something just because it has flowers in it.

5- I plan on quilting it in a more masculine motif as well. You’d be surprised how much this can change the look of a quilt. The motif I have chosen was recommended by Kaylene Parry (@quilterlove66) and has circles and lines that reminded me of something my older boy would choose, if I left such decisions up to him. Once it’s quilted and bound, I’ll come back and update this post with more photos.

While I do have a buffalo plaid quilt that I made late last year and we LOVE it, I am so thrilled that I challenged myself to make a “manly” quilt that maybe isn’t so obviously manly. What do you think? Did I achieve a “manly” look and feel? What are your favorite things to do to make quilts feel more masculine?

 

 

Tips for Free Motion Quilting on a Juki

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I get a lot of questions every time I free motion quilt (FMQ) one of my quilts on my home machine. I have a Juki 2000 and I love it soooooo much. It was definitely the right choice for me. When I upgraded earlier this year, one of my main reasons for doing so was so that I could learn how to FMQ. The Juki 2000 has an enormous throat space and makes doing so a breeze. I have learned a few helpful tips that I’ll be sharing today if you are interested in doing FMQ on your machine.

1- ALWAYS, always, always start with a brand new needle. Make sure you insert it allllll the way in. If you have problems with your thread shredding as you quilt, double check the needle is in all the way. 9 times out of 10, that’s what my problem is. It’s horribly frustrating to get going on your quilt just to have problems from the get-go.

2- Always oil your Juki before starting and every 2 bobbins as you are quilting.

3- Take off the plate and de-fuzz your machine. Once again, it is a little bit of time invested up front that helps immensely in the end.

4- If you spray basted your quilt, take the time to iron over the whole front and the whole back. It makes a huge difference in the final finished quilt.

5- Before I change to my FMQ foot, I like to sew a very scant 1/4″ (sometimes just 1/8″) around the entire perimeter of the quilt. I then trim off most of the excess, just leaving about 1-2″ around the entire perimeter of batting/backing. If you do this, you don’t have a huge wad of backing to accidentally sew over without realizing it. I’ve done this every time I haven’t trimmed and it is NOT fun to unpick.

6- Change to your FMQ foot.

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7- Change the pressure on the foot. Turn the dial and make sure the mark is all the way up beyond the square on the top.

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8- Drop the feed dogs.

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9- Set the stitch length to 0.

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After you’ve set up your machine for success, it’s just a matter of practice. There are so many wonderful youtube videos and lessons out there you can watch for free. The best thing is just practice. Don’t put it off too long before you just go for it on a quilt. It is so satisfying to take part in every step of the quilting process and while none of my FMQ attempts are perfect, it is such a fun thing to do!!