MiniMighty’s quilt is done!
This quilt is nominally much simpler than Stringbean’s or Dooner’s. But I really struggled with procrastination in putting it together. The very simplicity of it was unmotivating, somehow, although it was meant to make it a more reachable achievement. When the quilt top was finished, I was certainly very happy with it.
For initial quilting, I went with a neat idea that I came up with myself before watching the relevant video on the Craftsy class* I was following, only to find that it was an alternate suggestion in the class. If you look at the seams between the hexagons and triangles, you’ll see they line up to make three sets of parallel lines: one horizontal across the quilt, one slanting about 30 degrees right, and one about thirty degrees left. The plan is to quilt wavy lines along each of those seam lines, but crossing the axis of the line right at each intersection, so you’re always waving into a hexagon. If you do that in all three directions, you end up framing the hexagon with a sort of star inside.
* The class is “Learn to Quilt: Cozy Bed Quilt” by Amy Gibson. I have now completed all four of her “learn to quilt” classes. I appreciate her clean, modern aesthetic, and the variety of techniques included. Comparing this series to the other start-from-zero class I tried, “Startup Library: Quilting” by Christa Watson (used for Stringbean’s quilt), this is a much slower approach. Amy’s classes were good for someone like me who was still getting used to sewing again. Christa’s class was more recently produced, sharper and fancier, and put much more advanced, detailed work in a first quilt. I enjoyed that too, and the design is brilliant for the purpose, but might have gotten frustrated if I’d really done it first thing.
This curved-lines walking-foot quilting was very quick and easy. I used a bowl and marked the first sixth of the lines, then said forget it and eyeballed the rest. This was very fun, and I could have left it there. But it wasn’t enough somehow. For one thing, it still left a lot of space in the middle of those hexagons, and I’m not sure that was enough quilting for the layers to keep their integrity. (If you don’t put enough quilting on a quilt, the batting can shift and fall apart over time.) But I also knew, from all the classes I’ve been imbibing, that putting more quilting on an area makes it recede, and less quilted areas tend to pop. I didn’t want to put more quilting on the hexes than on the triangles, so if I put more quilting on the hexagons, I would want to put even more quilting on the triangles. But what would I actually enjoy quilting in over two hundred triangles?
The “aha” moment came when I started watching another Craftsy class, “Free Motion Fillers vol. 1.” The teacher and designer was Leah Day. I watched the first twenty patterns or so and picked the simplest ones. I used the wee half-triangles along the edge of the quilt to practice and decide which ones to use, and ended up with a list of seven that I thought would work in such a small space. Then I just alternated them all over the quilt! Here they are.
There was the basic squiggle, known as “stippling.”
“Sharp stippling,” or “Flame stitch”, which is just stippling with points added.
Loopy lines, which is just stippling with some tiny loops added. I love how they look like Christmas lights.
“Zippling,” or zig zag stippling, meaning stippling with straight lines only.
“Triangle Mosaic,” where you break your space into smaller and smaller triangle spaces. This was fun, but from a distance I think this looks very similar to the zippling, which was much easier.
Pebbles, which I dearly love with all my heart.
And “cobblestones,” which are basically blobby pebbles.
Inside the hexagons themselves, I opted to make a second star rotated inside the first star. I used this design because I could quilt it continuously all over the quilt, traveling halfway along one arc, bouncing around inside making clamshell shapes, and then traveling back out along the other side of the arc.
Some, like the one above, have shallower curves. Others, like the one below, have deeper curves. I just made one curve, then tried to be kind of consistent around the hexagon. None of them are perfect, and some of them are very wonky. You can see one of my traveling errors below. But I think the overall look of the quilting is whimsical, and on a kid’s quilt, that offers a nice contrast to all the clean, straight lines.
On the ones that I had fussy cut, I massaged the clamshells a little bit so that they framed the central image.
And on the very plainest hexagons – a very plain royal blue – I added wee hearts. (As expected, MiniMighty loved the hearts, and wanted to know why every hexagon didn’t have one.)
The quilt was finished off with a flanged binding, a new and fancy technique to me. I had completely forgotten to cut the binding initially, and then used up most of the leftovers in the backing. I wish I had saved one of the brighter colors to be a binding, but this navy blue was the only tonal fabric I had left. So it gives it a rather sharp, professional look. This whole finished project is an interesting crossover of clean lines and whimsical curves. Perhaps a prophecy of when this silly girl becomes prime minister one day.
This is a project that came to life in the quilting. MiniMighty chose this pattern out of the options I showed her, but it’s so much simpler than the other two patterns that I felt a little bad about it. As a middle child, she is the easiest to overlook, and I did not want this quilt to become symbolic of that! But in the quilting, I was able to pour some of what I love about her directly into the work.
She is silly and loud and generous and impossibly bright. She loves to play and run and pretend and experiment and lead. She makes oatmeal for everyone in the morning, and right now she is putting toast in the toaster to make herself a tomato sandwich, which she just invented. She is unexpected and unpredictable and passionate and joyful.
She is absolutely perfect.
She turns six on Easter Monday. I can’t believe it at all.