My oldest son asked me to make a quilt for his plush lion toy. I’ve been wanting to improve my quilting skills so I figured a mini quilt would be a perfect way to do that. I don’t need a bunch of bed quilts, and those are difficult to work through my sewing machine and take a long time, but we can always use more doll/toy blankets!
My son and I looked through a book of block patterns and chose one that would work with rainbow colored fabrics, which is what he wanted. I had the right color fabrics from a fat quarter bundle that my mom got me for Christmas in 2012. It is the Home Front collection from my favorite fabric shop Connecting Threads. CT is exclusively online and designs their own fabrics, so everything is pretty much limited edition but it is also about half the price of other quilt shops. Because I don’t have much money to spend on my hobbies I can get so much more from CT than I would be able to get elsewhere.
So we picked our block design and fabrics and I set to work. The design my son chose used what are called flying geese, so the design is made up almost entirely of triangles. I used the Omnigrid Fons & Porter Half & Quarter Ruler. I bought it a few months ago for a quilt block swap in which I am participating this year. I have used it so many times already because I love it. With some simple math thinking of how long one side of your triangle needs to be one can avoid cutting squares into half square triangles or quarter square triangles. You can cut a strip of fabric to the width as stated on the ruler and then cut each triangle. I have used the ruler for flying geese and for other designs and it has made those projects very easy.
The block I made was 15″ x 15″. I wanted the blanket to be a little bigger so I added a 2.5″ border. The finished quilt top was about 20″ x 20″, so I couldn’t just use a fat quarter (18″ x 22″) for the backing. I decided to make a striped backing using some of the same fabrics I used in the front. I have decided that a pieced backing is much more interesting, can save money in fabric, and makes the finished quilt more versatile because it is two-sided.
For the quilting I used black thread so it would be easily visible and also matches the background fabric. I used a few different decorative stitches that are preset in my sewing machine for the inner part of the design. On the border I decided to try free motion quilting. I’d never done it before, so I was just a little afraid, but it actually wasn’t too difficult on such a small project. I will definitely try again on another project without fear.
I finished up the hand sewing required yesterday. The binding is best completed by machine sewing it to the front then folding it over and hand sewing it to the back. Overall, the whole quilt only took a few hours and I was able to complete it over the course of 4 days. As soon as I finished it the kids had fun running around with it. It was a little tough seeing them treat something that I hand crafted with care as just any of their other toys, but I did make it for them. They are very happy with it, and so am I.