Here it is, my version of Jen Kingwell's My Small World Quilt, finally finished, except for the quilting, after six weeks of rummaging through scraps, mess, fussy cutting, mess, picking threads off every outfit I've worn, ... and did I mention the mess?
|My finished My Small World Quilt|
From the moment I first set eyes on this quilt in the Spring 2015 edition of Quiltmania I knew it was bad news (but in the nicest possible way!).
|Jen Kingwell's My Small World Quilt in the Spring 2015 edition of Quiltmania|
Like the Lorelei, this fabulous quilt, with its thousands of tiny pieces, called to me right from the start, but I knew I had no room in my life for a new project.
With quilters the world over scrambling to secure their copy of Quiltmania, I couldn't believe my luck when I found a copy in my local newsagent (but then I am the only quilter in the village!) and I had to have it. I quietly congratulated myself on the wisdom of my purchase, "just in case I might want to make it at some time in the distant future," I told myself.
Then this happened.
I blame all the quilters posting dazzling photos of their quilts on Instagram. Inspiration overload! In a weak moment I succumbed, and in no time at all I had completed Part 1.
... and Part 2!
Virtual champagne glass in hand, I joined the worldwide My Small World Quiltalong party on Instagram (#mysmallworldqal) steered by
and ably supported by
Each of these experienced quilt makers has offered really useful information on their blog about how to complete the various sections of this quilt, and most importantly the errata, and if you're reading this in preparation for attempting wonderful quilt you should read what they've written.
I've found it immensely helpful.
At the risk of possibly repeating some of their advice, I thought I'd also share with you some of the lessons I've personally learnt along the way.
1. It's not as simple as it "seams"
This is not a quilt for beginners. The pattern has very few instructions beyond the printed templates and there is a huge amount of assumed knowledge.
A short stitch length, and pressing your seams open, instead of to one side, is helpful.
An accurate scant 1/4 inch seam is essential, with so many seams involved. I used my Westalee Scant 1/4" Seam Gauge to try to ensure I had a consistent seam measurement each time I turned on my machine. With so many seams the opportunity for distorting the dimensions is hugely increased.
|Press seams open.|
2. The importance of a good foundation
One of our early arrivals at the party was foundation piecing whizz, Sarah of Sew What Sherlock, who realised pretty quickly that many of the blocks could be created much more easily using foundation paper piecing rather than piecing fabric shapes cut from the templates printed in Quiltmania.
If you contact Sarah through the link above, ask very nicely and supply her with a "ransom photo" (you'll understand when you read her blog) she'll email you a PDF of foundation paper patterns which will make your job considerably less stressful.
3. Choosing fabrics
Don't over-think these, it is a scrap quilt after all.
Search Instagram (#mysmallworldqal) and you'll be surprised at all the different colour schemes. Fabulous inspiration!
I made my quilt entirely from my scrap bin, and for once I was glad to be a hoarder.
Since my quilt is for a little person I decided to include lots of "I spy" elements for little eyes to search out. These include the school bus, sailing boat, clown, puppy, bees, daisies, stars and little boy that you can see in this photo.
The important thing to remember when selecting fabrics is balance.
It doesn't have to be all matchy-matchy, but if you use a scrap of fabric on the right hand side of your quilt it will look balanced if you also use a tiny piece in one or two other areas. I think, in the end, I had a palette of around 40 to 50 fabrics of all different sizes, and I kept to these, with a few exceptions, trying to evenly distribute them across the quilt.
Your quilt will also look better if you generally keep a balance of dark, medium and light hues throughout the pattern. I've found the best way to keep track of this is to periodically take a monochrome photo of my quilt, so I just see the hues and I'm not distracted by the colours.
And don't think that, just because you're making a 33" x 52" quilt using (much) more than a thousand pieces of fabric, you're going to make more than the slightest dent in the level of your scrap bin.
It doesn't work that way.
Don't ask me why.
It's just the Law of Scraps!
4.The sky's the limit!
Here's Jen Kingwell's original My Small World Quilt, photographed from the back cover of Quiltmania. She's used a low volume palette of beiges and creams, but you don't have to stay with this colour scheme.
Use your imagination! You're going to spend a great deal of time piecing that sky together so you might as well make it interesting.
On Instagram I've seen dark night skies, blue skies, bright sunshiny yellow skies and more.
I chose to create a sky with graduated shades of blue, yellow and white. Each of those squares finishes at 1 inch so you can really have fun "painting" your sky with your fabrics.
I didn't embroider the Sydney Opera House and Harbour Bridge, Leaning Tower of Pisa and Eiffel Tower patterns designed by Jen to 'float' in the sky, delightful as they are. Here's an opportunity to add your individual touches. I've seen appliquéd birds and hot air balloons, as well as embroidered scenes from a quilter's own travels.
Since I already had these fairytale castle towers in my stash I pieced them into my sky, along with some fat little bumble bees, and finally added a big golden sun with Dresden rays.
I hope this has given you lots of ideas to get those creative juices flowing!
Next time I'll show you how I worked the Dresden appliqué, as well as some of the other elements of My Small World.