Monday, December 22, 2014

Mondrian Riff Mini-Quilt Tutorial

I am not quite sure this is a tutorial. I think it is more of a "this is how I did it" explanation. If you have questions, just let me know.

This is an easy quilt, so beginners who know how to rotary cut and sew 1/4" seams will have no problems with this quilt, especially if you like to stitch in the ditch. If you do not know how to stitch in the ditch, check out this video from Quilty with Mary Fons. Of course, depending upon your color selection and patience with burying threads, you might choose to do another type of stitching when you are ready to quilt your pieced top.

I used a design-as-you go approach for this design, starting with color selection - bright, bold solid colors. I went with red, yellow, orange, blue, and green to begin.

Use your design wall or a dining room table and start by laying out two1.5 inch black strips. Size doesn't matter at this stage. Choose something bigger than your expected finished quilt top. I chose strips that were  1.5 x. 27.5 and 1.5 x 43.

I like asymmetrical, so started with the off-center cross below. My design wall is just a cheap plastic table cloth turned backwards and tacked to my sewing/office room wall so that the flannel backing is on top.

Now just start cutting your fabrics. I tend to choose 5", 4", and 2.5" strips because I can easily use the leftovers in other projects. When I get to a random spot that needs color, I measure the area I need filled and cut a strip to match.

 I also pull strips off the design wall and use them to measure for cutting too. This is where design-as-you-go really comes into its own. By putting the blue rectangle on top of the green I wanted to add, it was easy to see know where to cut the green.

Once I add a few pieces, I back up, take a photo and decide if I like the pattern or if I need to change something.

For me, this is too square and does not have any white. I may need another black strip somewhere too. So off to cut some white strips/blocks and we will see what we have. I think I am going to build this "sideways" and then turn it later. I am going to add more rows/strips to the left of the long vertical black strip.

Still a little square, but more white. I also do not like the white strips that are parallel to each other in the same locations.

This is the rectangle I am looking for, so I am pleased with that. I have one more piece to add in (see the design wall peaking through under the lavender). I think I want another red piece or even a random different color. If I go red, I am probably going to have to move a few pieces around to make that work.

Notice that I do not care about the uneven ends. They will be easy to even up with I am finished sewing the sections - the areas between the black strips - together.

Piecing is easy. Just section off the areas around the black stripes and use a 1/4" seam. Once you have a set either horizontally or vertically completed, you can begin to add in the black stripes. On this mini-quilt, I added the strips horizontally first, then cut so that I could add the longer vertical strip.

I just used gray on the back (Kona Pewter) and used straight line quilting to quilt. Quilting is still my weakest area. My goal for 2015 is to improve my quilting and become less afraid of FMQ.

Because I was in a rush to finish my Secret Santa gift (and this was it), I have no photos of the back of the quilt. I do have one with the binding. I used a 2.5" black double fold binding and machine stitched it. For machine stitching, stitch the binding to the back first, then fold over and iron and stitch close to the edge on the front. 

The only finished photo I have is from our guild Secret Santa swap and is not great, but at least you can see it with binding and after washing/drying. Using color catchers in the wash meant I had no problems with the bright colors bleeding at all!

If you look back at the design I decided would work, you will see that this is different. I also think I have the colors of the Irish/Ivory Coast flags in the top right corner. 

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