There's a lot of good things about making a mini quilt. If you're hand-stitching them, they only take about a week, which is great when you're after progress shots (that actually look like you're making progress) for Instagram. They're light enough to sticky tape to the side of your house that desperately needs a fresh coat of paint, and therefore makes a great quilt backdrop. And, when you dig out the quilt top after weeks of being forgotten, you can baste, quilt and bind it all as part of your afternoon of tidying up the sewing room.
A few months ago, I decided there were way too many ideas for the amount of time I have, and that making a mini quilt of each idea was the perfect solution. I've been mostly happy with this arrangement until this quilt. I used the reds, pinks, blacks and whites from Heather Bailey's True Colors collection, and laid them out in a repeating pattern. The repeat felt so pleasing to me until I trimmed and bound the quilt and taped it up to photograph. Can you see the repeat? Looking at it still fills me with a funny mix of satisfaction and longing to see it bigger. Or perhaps just making the quilt from 1.5" Half Hexies rather than 2" shapes could have given a fuller picture of the repeat in a mini quilt. This quilt making adventure is so full of learning, isn't it?
I backed and bound the quilt in this sweet 1930s repro print. I'm pretty chuffed with this choice. I destashed most of my 1930s fabrics in these scrap packs, but kept this one. On its own, it's still not completely my style, but I love the contrast between the really graphic prints and the pretty floral. Again, in a larger variation of the quilt, where I would actually use this on a bed or our laps, this would have made me even happier. But even here it makes me smile.
Apart from my feelings about the finished quilt, I did really enjoy making this. The little spinning spokes are fun and quick to stitch together. And I love how playful and happy they are. Maybe once I add this to my wall of minis, it will feel more complete?
I approached this blog post today with such mixed feelings, but now that I've said it all, I feel so much more settled and optimistic. I often get emails asking for tips about pattern and colour, and I often reply that all I've learned comes from making a whole bunch of quilts I wasn't happy with (not on purpose!) and then writing about them to pin-point why. I don't think I've ever had a more thorough education that the one I received here through trial and error. Having the freedom to make mistakes, and then embarking on the sometimes uncomfortable process of figuring out why I don't like something changes that voice in my head from, "I'm not good at this, or I did this wrong," to "next time I'll try this instead."
And really, when you think about it, a mini quilt is a great size to make mistakes on! Better than a hand-stitched quilt that took months! Maybe next time, though, I'll keep the papers in until the end, so that I can act on that desire to make it bigger if I feel so inclined. That's a pretty handy tip to come from all of this, don't you think?