Friday, January 1, 2016

My Small World Quilt

Let's begin the new year on the front foot, with a post about a finish. 

From the moment I set eyes on Jen Kingwell's My Small World quilt in the Spring 2015 edition of Quiltmania I was smitten.  

A still, small (and frankly rather boring) inner voice cautioned that I had no time to cut out and sew together the thousands of tiny pieces needed to create this amazing combination of shapes and patterns. 

Besides, I'd go crazy coping with the piles of tiny scraps all over my floor, sorted into the colour palette I needed to "paint" this imaginary world. 

Not to mention my domestic machine quilting skills which I seriously doubted could do justice to such a quilt.

All of which was true.

However, once I realised My Small World would make the perfect quilt for a very special little person due to arrive in November, there was no stopping me. 

I mined my scrap box like a maniac, digging for the brightest, happiest pieces I could find. 

I fussy cut like a fiend so I could make my version into an "I Spy" quilt.

And I single-mindedly stitched together My Small World quilt top over six or seven weeks. Those fabric piles did drive me crazy, but they gave me the impetus I needed to get this stage finished.

It's a pattern that lends itself - almost invites itself - to personalising. So I created a sunny yellow, blue and white colour-washed sky and, instead of the stitcheries in the original design, I filled my sky (created with around 700 x 1 inch squares) with a fairytale castle, busy bees, bubbles and a big Dresden style sun.

All over the quilt I've included little objects that are fun to discover - a car, The Cat in the Hat, a zebra, a daisy, little children, a sailing boat...and so on.

While I thought about how I was going to approach the quilting of the buildings I worked an orange peel grid over the sky. 

Then I decided to mentally break up the quilt into individual spaces and quilt each one separately. This approach meant that I could effectively avoid having to tackle machining over any any thick joins, but also gave the quilt a rich and varied texture matching the style of the original design. 

My quilting was far from perfect, but again I feel it matches the quilt's naive style. That's my story, anyway, and I'm sticking to it!

This stage of the quilting took the longest, but I found it the most creatively rewarding.

I used Aurifil thread 50wt for both my piecing and quilting, and my batting was Soft and Bright from The Warm Company.

It was easy to add a multi-coloured binding using the method described here because the binding was applied in four separate strips and I could position the colour transitions exactly where I wanted them.

With this method the stitched mitred corners (almost) always turn out like this, which I love.

An "I Spy" quilt needs a label on the back with a list of objects to find. 

Perhaps you can play the game yourself?

And finally this label, so that Princess 2 will always remember her grandma who took the time (around 4 months working 2 or 3 hours most days or evenings) to make her this gift of love.

And remained sane*

Please see these posts of mine if you're interested in more details, and tips, about the making of My Small World quilt.

* Some may disagree :-)


  1. A truly stunning quilt!

  2. Oh I loved this post and all the close ups Di. It's truly such a meaningful work for a dear little one. We are starting our newest baby watch too...she's due in a bout 6 weeks! Happy New Year, may 2016 be filled with love, joy and many blessings.

  3. Fantastic quilt. You did an amazing job! I love the label ideas. The quilt will surely be loved and enjoyed.

  4. Happy New Year! What a wonderful quilt. I am sure it is much loved.
    I am still trying to find the magazine with the pattern; but I will refer to your posts when I find it.

  5. beautiful - I am so glad that Princess 2 arrived safely and can enjoy this wall hanging for years to come, you did an absolutely wonderful job on this - I think your machine quilting skills are fantastic!

  6. Happy New Year Di, it is stunning, colours I will lean towards also. I was late in finding the magazine but hop to tackle it one day soon. I love your twist to make it an I Spy quilt for a little one. I'm sure it will travel thru life with her.

  7. Thank for this very valuable post Di. It provides some great close ups, and a realistic assessment of how long it took. Too many people make things look too easy! Your quilt is beautiful, and I'm sure your Grandaughter will love it as she grows. It will always have a special place in her heart.

  8. What a beautiful project with which to launch 2016. You did a magnificent job with your version of My Small World. I like the bright prints you chose, but most of all I admire the determination and stamina you maintained to get this done! As of this afternoon, mine is pin-basted with Quilter's Dream Angel, Select Loft, but I'm finding excuses not to begin quilting. Where to start?! That's ALWAYS my most worrisome hurdle. I adore the detail you put into yours, but am reluctant to spend that much time on my own piece. In any case, you did a bang-up job, and I hope that Princess 2 grows to appreciate it. Is it hanging in her nursery now?

  9. This is the most wonderful quilt and I so enjoyed watching your journey as you stitched it together. What a huge achievement and what a very special recipient. Well done on a fantastic job.

  10. Wonderful quilt and your quilting looks fabulous!!! A+ Grandma!!

  11. An exciting quilty start to the new year Di. I love your version of this quilt. Your sense of fun comes through with every stitch! Lucky lucky Princess 2! This quilt will be so loved and played with. The fussy cutting and eye spy will create such excitement for all little ones. Great job, and great quilting. A happy quilt!

  12. Di, what a stunning work of art, straight from the wellspring of a nana heart. Xxxx

  13. I just love your quilt. What a monumental finish! It is all adorable and I'm sure will be most enjoyed in the years to come.

  14. Sorry about that. Very charming is what I meant.

  15. I think your version is amazing and I'm so glad that you wrote about how long it took, so anyone with less experience will understand that before contemplating making it.
    You quilting skills surely are no longer in doubt in your mind?!
    Princess No.2 is very lucky to have something so beautiful

  16. This is stunning! I love how your personalized it for your granddaughter.

  17. Incredible! And loved the 2 labels too. Great all around--piecing, design, quilting and binding

  18. Awesome!!! Little Princess is a very lucky.

  19. WOW! What a beautiful, inspiring quilt! I love these ideas, so thank you for sharing.

  20. What a beautiful quilt and precious gift! I just love it!


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