Thursday, May 26, 2016

#MMminimini Instagram Challenge

Are you on Instagram?  I started using it last fall and find it very exciting.  I enjoy the spontaneity and quick reactions to photos and short messages.  There is lots of visual stimulation and it gives me access to other "genres" of quilt makers that is broadening my interests.  I enjoy following the small challenges and swaps and every now and then I'm inspired to join in the fun! 
Last week, Make Modern Magazine (click HERE for their website) issued a challenge to make "minimini" quilts (less than 6") between May 20 and June 20.  It's a digital magazine based in Australia and focused on modern quilting.  The hashtag for the challenge is #MMminimini and Make Modern's Instagram name is @makemodernmagazine.  So far 109 quilters have posted minimini quilts. 
Since I've been focused on planting most of the week, there hasn't been much stitching so yesterday afternoon I retired to the studio and cut a couple blocks -- last Saturday's Camelot Star for the Morris Hexathon and a smaller version of the same block for the minimini challenge.  I'm using the 1" hexagon template group from Marti Michell's Set G for the Hexathon but there is a small template in Set N, so out that came.
At first glance, the 3/4" jewel template seems to be missing the necessary hexagon and diamond but in fact all the pieces needed for the star can be cut with this one template.
Let me show you how!   I began with the center hexagon -- notice that I leave most of the paper backing on the template (it's a built in gripper) and just cut out a "window" for easier "fussy" placement.
Once I've cut four or five of the six sides, I need to turn the template and realign to cut the sixth side.  I took this picture to show you a frequent mistake I make when using my rotating cutting mat.  I lay my work close to my body for the first cuts and then when I rotate the mat, the work is too far away to reach without stretching and that's when I make miss-cuts. 
Much better to start at the center of the mat so my reach is never over extended.
In this photo, you can see the purple line going through the purple triangle -- that is the "match-up" line for one side of the hexagon!  The other purple line is used to cut equilateral triangles that will fit around the hexagon.
The "jewel" shape (the entire template) is cut from a strip and there is a little waste as you can see.
It's fastest to use the template itself to measure the width of the strip needed.  Here I'm cutting the strip for the background diamonds.
Since there isn't a complete 3/4" 60 degree diamond, it's necessary to work a little magic.
Begin by trimming the end of the strip taking off the tip, too. 
By twisting the diamond 180 degrees and lining up the right and left edges with the strip and the lower edge with the trimmed end, a complete diamond can be cut.
The tip is trimmed and so on up the strip until there are enough diamonds.
This time there were not enough diamonds -- one of the perils of working with scraps.
But also one of the stimulating aspects of working with scraps!!  There are always more scraps at hand in my studio, so I trimmed three of the diamonds into jewels and cut six new background diamonds.  Ta-da!!
I worked back and forth between the two blocks -- it took about 20 minutes to get to this point and it was time to organize supper.  The chain piecing technique I teach via Set-In Piecing Simplified eliminates the typical stop and go aspect of y-seams!!
(At $15.95 for the DVD, this is an economical workshop that will give you the courage to be a Y-Seam Warrior on your own!)
There is no pressing yet -- the seams are easier to push out of the way if you wait to press them!
Now it's time to press them before the final three background diamonds are inserted.
Another 30 minute session in the evening yielded two finished stars!!  This one is 5 1/2" tall and 6 1/2" wide so finished it will fit the minimini guideline of 6".
The Camelot Star for the Morris Hexathon is ever so slightly bigger than the first two blocks -- "sigh".  I'll worry about that another day -- too tired to recalculate.  I am cheating by using the rotary templates instead of making templates from the blog so this isn't a complete surprise. 
However, as I'm sitting here looking at the picture, I think I see a solution that won't require any ripping or re-cutting . . . . hmmm . . .  but I'll leave that for another day.
We are heading into a holiday weekend here in the USA -- Memorial Day -- usually regarded as the beginning of summer!  Happily we are expecting warm weather in this area so I'm confident that I'll get my planting finished and my patio ready for a summer of alfresco dining!!
Enjoy your weekend!!
Mary Huey
P.S.  I just ordered issue #9 of Make Modern (because the cover quilt caught my eye) and it was so easy!!

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