When Pat Bravo asks the question, “Who wants to sew with me?” the smart thing to do is raise your hand right away and hope you get the chance.
When the call was announced on Instagram for makers anywhere to create a mini quilt with a combination of Pat’s Essentials II and Dare collections I knew I wanted to take part, and lucky for me I was fortunate enough to be given the chance.
It was definitely the images I first saw in the Essentials II Lookbook that made my heart flutter. And this one from AGF in particular that made me fall in love…
In my 20’s I was convinced my all-time favourite colour was pink, and then in my 30’s I discovered a true and undeniable love for everything aqua, and now that I am in my 40’s I have recently discovered I have a sweet spot for yellow too. Even though I try to embrace colour in all its forms (well, almost all its forms – I still struggle to appreciate purple or peach), undoubtedly these 3 colours are always going to be favourites, which made this collection feel as though it was designed just for me :).
Secretly I was hoping I would receive a bundle with lots of small scale patterns of yellow, aqua and navy; and with a notion in my head of what I wanted to create, I set about sketching a few designs that I could possibly turn into a mini quilt.
When the fabric arrived I knew straight away that my designs were not going to work for the fabric I had been sent – it was time to instigate Plan B ;)!
Instead of the small scale prints I was hoping for I was staring at a combination of fabric that primarily consisted of Dare in the ‘Dare to be Bold’ colourway. With striking geometric shapes and a 1960’s Pop Art influence this was completely out of my usual comfort zone and was going to stretch my creativity – and lets be honest, that’s often where the magic happens, so I was up for the challenge! I had to set aside any idea of what I thought I wanted to create and instead let the fabric speak to me and shape my opinion of what it should be made into.
This fabric seemed to me to be unmistakably modern and yet I am not what our industry refers to as a ‘modern quilter’! I could visualise all these abstract designs that would really embrace the nature of the fabric and yet I knew that the real art for me personally would be in using these amazing fabrics in a way that felt true to me and my own quilting style and voice.
Without overthinking it too much, I decided to use the classic Irish Chain pattern, but use the traditional colour layout in reverse. Not only would this showcase reasonable sized pieces of fabric allowing the scale of some of the prints to be better appreciated, but it would also be able to be made small enough to successfully fall under the ‘mini’ umbrella – and that seemed like a winning combination!
The first thing to do was to cut a small number of 1.5-inch squares and lay out the colour order so I could create some basic 9-patches. 9-patches are always fun because in my experience you can’t really go wrong with them.
It really was almost that simple ;)!
If you would like to make your own Irish Chain Mini Quilt all you need is the following:
- 13 feature fabrics. Subcut each fabric into (1) 3-1/2-inch square and (4) 1-1/2-inch squares
- (60) 1-1/2-inch background squares
- batting, backing and binding
Follow the assembly diagram below and lay out your pieces. Pay attention to colour placement and the scale of the prints and try to evenly spread them throughout the quilt. Be aware that along the outside edge of the quilt there are 8 random connector blocks (R) that don’t actually ‘connect’ to anything – using the 1.5-inch square pieces you have leftover, place these after you have laid out your inner 9-patch pieces.
Unfortunately because each 9-patch is slightly different it isn’t possible to ‘mindlessly’ chain piece the blocks, but I found I could easily lay out 4 blocks on a tray and keep the pieces in the right order. Once you have your 9-patches sewn it is a simple process of sewing together the rows, and then quilting as desired. This mini quilt could easily be made in a day.
I hope you enjoyed this stop on the tour and that some of you make your own version of the #irishchainmini. Now that I have made a mini I think I might need to add a full sized version to my to-do list because it really does showcase fabrics beautifully – and don’t you think it would be an awesome scrapbusting project too!?
We are almost at the end of the tour but if you missed anything so far you can catch up by clicking on the links below and immerse yourself in all sorts of inspiration.
- April 25 – Slice of Pi Quilts and The Wholesome Mama
- April 26th – The Simple Life Company and Stacey Gibson
- April 27th – A Crafty Fox and Snicker Doodle Stew
- April 28th – Why Not Sew and Anjeanette Klinder
- April 29th – The Little Bird Designs and Thistle Thicket Studio
- May 2nd – Christine Blessing and Cat Noonan
- May 3rd – My Crowded Nest and Sewn Modern Crafts
- May 4th – Faith Essenburg and Storts Market
- May 5th – Handmade 3D and Michelle Bartholomew
- May 6th – Kate Basti and Modern Makerie
- May 9th – Raspberry Sunshine and Skinny Malinky Quilts
- May 10th – Marijas Fabric Creations and Lamb and Wolfie
- May 11th – For the Love of Fabric and Tara J Curtis
- May 12th – Betyipiernaty
- May 13th – Tied with a Ribbon and That’s Sew Kerry
- May 16th – And finally a recap by Pat Bravo
If you would like the chance to go into the draw to win this cute little pincushion and kit I put together to make your very own Irish Chain Mini similar to my own, all you need to do is leave me a comment letting me know what your favourite colour combination is – and then cross your fingers ;).
I will draw a winner on Monday 16/5.
UPDATE: Congratulations to Lori S who was comment #3 (chosen by Random.Org True Random Number Generator) – I hope you enjoy making your very own mini Lori :).
Have a great day – thanks for stopping by!