Just a few of the swap items that I sent off to partners over the past 5 years.
Then Instagram took off like crazy and, similar to Flickr, communities started up through swapping again. I felt ready to jump back in and signed up for Kristi's Schnitzel and Boo Miniquilt Swap (search the hashtags #schnitzelandboominiquiltswap OR #makeaquiltmakeafriend if you want to check out the quilts on IG). Round Two is just shipping now and there are 1000 participants! It is exciting to be a part of something so huge - I even signed up to be a swap mama to help ensure that this massive swap was a success. Each mama has about 40 swappers to monitor and I'm super lucky because all 38 of my swappers are 100% committed to seeing the swap through. Phew!
So, what would I make for my secret partner? With my book, Make It, Take It coming out in a month's time, I wanted to try a mini-version of one of the patterns. Lynne designed this incredible Lone Star Circle quilt for the book and used Oakshott shot cottons to make it.
Photo from Make It, Take It by Brent Kane, Martingale 2014
A lonestar quilt has long been on my "to try" list and this complete circle version is so eye-catching I knew it was a must. In Lynne's pattern, the strips are cut 3 1/2". I made a 1/3-sized version by cutting 1 1/2" strips from fat quarters (the finished mini is just under 18" square). There is something about radiating designs; they seem to be universally loved by quilters. Is it the symmetry? The eye-catching points? I can't quite put my finger on it, but this little honey got more likes on IG than anything else I've ever posted!
All seams are pressed open on this mini, except for the two vertical seams that meet in the middle for the final horizontal joining seam (between the two half circles). I pressed those in opposite directions so I could lock the allowances and achieve a perfect pointy centre star!
The background is Essex yarn-dyed linen in flax, and the finished quilt measures 18" square. My swap partner seems to like radiating designs (based on her inspiration mosaic) and although this fabric wasn't mentioned in her favourite designers list, I hope the universal appeal of Cotton & Steel will make this okay for her. I don't have any fabrics by one designer she listed and I'm going to send her the 2 fat quarters I have from her other favourite designer as extras.
I simply quilted with straight lines and a longer stitch length (3.5 stitches/inch) using Aurifil 30 wt cotton thread in hot pink and teal to match the centre star prints. I will freely admit that after doing so much improvisational sewing last fall, pin-matching all of those points nearly drove me bananas, but the effort is well worth the results! In the book, I explain how to correctly pin-match angled seams so that you end up with perfectly pointy-points.
Throughout the year I'll be making up my own versions of the contributor projects from Make It, Take It. I can't wait to share more of this book with you! Of course there will be a blog tour (watch for that in April). For now, set your calendar alarms for February 10th: that's the day you'll be able to order the book from Martingale's online shop. The bonus is that when you buy a hard copy direct from the publisher, you automatically receive a FREE digital copy, so you can take the book along on retreat or to your sew-ins on your tablet or laptop! Yay!