Friday, September 11, 2015

My First Mini Swap

Earlier this summer I signed up for my first mini swap via Instagram -- a new adventure!!
I joined the Kaffe Mini Swap and was assigned a partner. 
I gathered up all the Kaffe fabric I own and shopped for a bit more.
When I returned from my last teaching trip, I went at it in earnest.
I'm currently experimenting with this Dresden Star block and decided to use it since it fits some of my partners preferences.  The block was shared with me by Karen from Little Red Quilt House in Medina, Ohio -- a customer brought her an a quilt from the early 1900's.  I'd never seen the block before but quickly decided it fits right into my current obsession with set-in piecing and hexie/60 degree designs.
A week of fiddling on the design wall led to these framed diamonds for the setting.
Since I used the large diamond in Marti Michell's Set H for the Dresden diamonds, I used the small diamond from the same set to fussy cut the centers.  The framing strips were a bit wider than necessary allowing me to trim each one for a perfect shape. 
Marti's templates are so adaptable!  The dashed lines made it easy to center the little diamond as I trimmed each piece. 
In the end, I decided to frame the block with the same print used in the framed diamonds -- this must have been the 10th or 11th option I audited and certainly it is the simplest.
I sliced the fabric and stitched it together to use for the backing -- I used the no-binding finish technique from Marti's Fusible Tape product.  You can read the step-by-step process HERE.
But when I got ready to layer it, I thought "this backing is really ugly".
I've used a six-piece backing on other hexagon pieces and so I set the mirrors up and took a look.
Much better!!
And because I started with Marti's templates, the Equilateral Triangle Ruler was the perfect size to cut the six triangles needed. 
The quilting went quickly -- I used continuous curve for the center design with a few of my signature leaves at the tips.  The "gods-eye" motif adapted nicely to the diamonds. 
To emphasize the hexagon shape of the block, I channeled quilted the outer border.  Having learned to think about the spacing of the lines BEFORE I stitch, I experimented before with a chalk pencil.
I used the edge of my walking foot to guide the first two lines on opposite edges of the border.
The third line was centered between the first two lines. 
The fourth line was centered between the left side line and the center line.
And the fifth line between the right side line and the center line.
Best part?  No marking needed!! 
I used a diamond from my auditioning reject pile to make a simple label. 
The pattern of the triangles coming together is funky compared to the mirror audition -- there was just enough fabric to do this -- fussy cutting six exact repeats was not an option.
It's still fun though!!
And here's the finished piece -- ready to pack up and mail off later this month!!
Next week, I'll share what I learned by participating in a mini swap.  It might help you decide if you'd like to try a mini swap in the future and it's always good for me to reflect on the results of a new experience like this.
Hope you are off to a good start on your fall quilting (or spring if you are down under).
Mary Huey


  1. Looks great. I'm sure she'll love it. I've never tried a swap.

  2. Beautiful, Mary! I love the cutting and quilting lessons, too!

  3. I really like what you did with the backing, clever!!

  4. Darling mini, Mary. Lots of good tips on how to do things in this post. I appreciate that. Thanks for linking to WIPs Be Gone.

  5. What a great mini! Love that you pieced the back - it will be a nice little surprise when the recipient turns it over!