Tuesday, 14 March 2017

Adventures in Small Piecing

Following on from yesterday's QuiltCon Report post I'd like to look in more detail at one of the workshops I attended and the projects I've made from it.

This was Adventures in Small Piecing with the adorable Chawne Kimber. Though I think it should be renamed 'Adventures in Itsy Bitsy Teeny Weeny Piecing' as  the word small doesn't really cover it!

Chawne (@cauchycomplete on IG) took us through her amazing wall of tiny piecing explaining her many experiments and how to avoid the various pitfalls. We were then instructed to 'make it smaller'!

Myself and my very talented neighbour Deborah, took her at her word and went as tiny as we could. Deborah tried to go so tiny that her pieces actually disappeared inside the seam!

I had great fun playing around and making these wee pieces above (which I added to). It's a great way of using up the tiniest of scraps too!

After lunch I decided to change tack and try some rainbow log cabins.  Three hours later (!) and I had four of them! The workshop at an end I packed them all away and took them home to finish.

Somebody (*cough* husband) did ask the question 'why?' about this tiny piecing, and I really had to think before I could answer. In the end I think the best answers are 'why not!' and 'because I can!'.

Last weekend I had another of my Zippy Pouch classes and needed something for a class sample. So I pieced the tiny bits I did in the morning of the workshop into a background using this lovely swirly grey fabric that I bought at QuiltCon.

One of the other lectures I attended at QuiltCon was Social Media Photography by Christopher aka the Tattooed Quilter. This was a really excellent event and I learnt so much stuff that I didn't really know I needed to know (if that makes sense!).

So in the photo above I tried to use some of the points made at the lecture, like using props and also editing the photo properly in instagram (rather than just selecting a filter). And I've found that I really enjoy the creative side of 'styling', and I do think my photos look better!

I have a real obsession with needle-turn applique at the moment, especially with trailing stems of leaves (like I used on this recent wall hanging).

So of course I added some to my tiny piecing, using the same colour fabric to pick out the lime green from the patchwork. 

These are probably the smallest leaves I have ever appliqued and I would have liked to get them and the stems a bit smaller, but everything has it's limits (including me!)!

I was in a real quandary about how to quilt this. All those tiny seams stacked on top of each other meant it would have been too hard to hand quilt and I thought machine quilting might just cover over the tiny patchwork. 

But then I saw Matthew (@misterdomestic) quilting with Aurifil 80wt on an IG post and I realised that was the perfect solution. It's given a subtle, almost ghostly effect which has meant it hasn't over powered the piecing. I kept the quilting simple with a loose open matchstick (also I was doing this just before I left for the studio and only had a spare half hour!).

The back is a lovely lime green Blueberry Park 'Allotment' fabric and the lining is from Denyse Schmidt's new line 'Winter Walk'. The 'day-glo' green zip was the perfect finishing touch.

I have to say that I am totally in love with this zippy pouch. It's the third in a little collection of precious pouches, each of which had a lot of time and love put into them. And each one focuses on a different set of techniques.

Yesterday I had time to finish the tiny rainbow log cabin quilt. I sashed it with some lovely low volume fabric by Moda (from QuiltCon of course) and then used the same 80wt Aurifil and proper matchstick quilting. It was then bound in an Ink and Arrow fabric (yes again from QuiltCon!).

Now it's finished I'm not really sure what to do with this Tiny Quilt. I guess I will just treasure it as a reminder of the wonderful day spent with Chawne and all the other lovely quilters on the class, and of course all of QuiltCon 2017.

And here's my styled photo.

I think there is a danger that you can over do the styling and make your IG feed and blog look too sterile. I am hoping I can avoid this by using relevant props (which are useful for scale in this instance) and by keeping everything warm, quirky and personal to me.

Would love to know any thoughts you have about this subject.

Linking up with Scraptastic Tuesday!


  1. I love what you've done with your tiny piecing Jo! I must get back to mine ... It was lovely to spend a day with Chawne!

  2. Just can't get over how tiny all that applique is! Love the photos...especially the ones at an angle! Your hubby should be proud!;)

  3. such a good way to use uop scraps, I save all mine time I did something with them, interesting reading about the photo class, liking the way you are now doing the photos and the pouch is a beauty, hope you will be doing something like this when you are on swing quarter

  4. Lovely post Jo - I think you may just have upset me though as I had resigned myself to getting rid of scraps smaller than 1 1/2" and now I'm not so sure! Thanks for linking up to #scraptastictuesday!

  5. I love your teeny tiny mini. It would be good for the mini charm packs too, as I never know what to make with them :o)

  6. Beautiful work! I might just have to order some new skinny Auriful too!

  7. Most interesting post and subject. I am in love your zippy pouch too. You did an excellent job ... on all of these projects I should add. I can hardly believe the size of the log cabins. Wow! No seriously, I mean WOW! A personal question if I may? What kind of eyes and fingers do you have? lol It is simply too awesome! Congrats on these adorable and mesmerizing projects. I love, big time. ;^)

    1. P.S. You did very good with the photo and props too. I don't think you went overboard. Just a nice touch to each photos. ;^)

  8. Hi Jo! This mini is really beautiful but in fell in love with your pouch! What a awesome design! Appliqued leaves gives so much depth to the quilted piece! Perfect colours, too! x Teje

  9. That mini is so pretty. I can't imagine.

  10. It is all so lovely. Must give it a try with my scraps

  11. We saw more of these tiny blocks in out guild meeting last night- Susan made 70 more tiny tiny log cabins at home, it will look spectacular! I don't think I have the patience for teeeeny blocks but I love how they look.

  12. Oh wow these are so tiny and so lovely - both the pouch and the mini!

  13. Sure love seeing what you did in Chawne's class. I saw the episode of "Fresh Quilting" where she taught how to do this, and I must say... one must have a passion for it! I'm giggling at your husband's comment: "Why?" Isn't he the one who builds tiny houses?! :-) He's got to understand your wee project too. Love what you made it into, and will continue to enjoy just watching. (grin)