Guiding Lights Quilted Mini Wall Hanging
My plans for this little quilt came out of nowhere.
I was busy working on my latest Ecliptic quilt (pattern in the works!) when inspiration struck.
My sewing table was covered in half assembled blocks and I moved it all out of the way before I lost that awesome “make me now” feeling I get.
Do you ever get that feeling?
It’s super inspiring and usually indicates that it’s either something really good or a fun new idea that I just have to explore. I love it when it happens.
I designed this block back in October when it was pregnancy awareness loss month and it also happened to be the time when I needed to design a Christmas block for my stop on the 12-Days of Christmas hop – AKA Quiltmas Spectacular. This is the design that emerged – a tribute to my 3 loses – in a formation and design that brings me hope and guidance. It’s probably not obvious from looking at this mini quilted wall hanging that that’s what the meaning is, but, to me, it speaks loud and clear.
Since I wanted the focus to be on the shining diamonds, I kept the piecing to a minimum and finished it off with simple borders in the same gray and white polka dot background print. It makes me think of snow falling or tiny stars shining in the night.
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I went back and forth on the quilting for this one. I even started hand quilting her, only to rip the stitches out and opt for machine stitching.
That was a total first for me!
Normally once I’ve decided to hand quilt something, I don’t change my mind. But for some reason, I felt compelled to machine stitch this one using *Dove in 28wt. I had envisioned the quilting mimicking light rays shining brightly off the diamonds, but it was the density and whether to add multiple thread colours that had me stumped. I went so far as to quilt it up with a combo of all 4 thread colours, only to later rip out the deepest red stitches, as I felt it was detracting from the central diamonds.
There’s been quite a bit of stitch ripping for such a little mini! But when it doesn’t feel right, it doesn’t feel right and ripping stitches is the only way to go!
There’s lots of ways you can feature this modern Guiding Lights foundation paper pieced (FPP) quilt block pattern, but for this one, I really wanted to keep it simple and have a cute mini quilted wall hanging.
When it came time to backing her, I dove into the fabric scraps leftover from the front (which also happened to be scraps! Seriously, this is a scraps begets scraps kind of project!) and did my improv thing. You know how much I adore improv (read more about my 100-days project) and jump at any chance to sneak it into my quilty practice.
If you’ve caught my Quilt Binding Tutorial Series (see Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3), then you know I’m all about exploring my quilt finishing options. For the longest time, I’ve been meaning to give faced binding a try, but for some reason it’s been intimidating the heck out of me. I’ve researched the technique quite a bit and there’s several different methods out there, but the one I found the easiest to follow was this tutorial by Jenny Hayes from Papper Sax Sten. Her tutorial references Purl Soho’s binding technique, which I also tried out. This one has you finish off your binding strips with a straight seam rather than a mitered one.
I still prefer the look of a mitered finish, but what I loved about this approach was how they handle the binding corners. You need this technique for Jenny’s approach to facing a quilt and it works brilliantly!
It does involve having to pin in advance, which is not something I do typically, but minus that extra little bit of work, I nailed the technique on the first shot.
Now that I got my first faced mini quilt under my belt, I’m eager to explore more facing techniques and with different sized quilts to see how the look changes. Fun times ahead!
Here’s a full run down of the materials I used to create the Guiding Lights mini wall hanging:
If you’re new to FPP (or just need a refresher), be sure to hop over and check out the Ultimate Foundation Paper Piecing Tutorial she’s chock full of helpful tips!
In case you’re wondering, she’s now hanging up where I can see her on the daily and she’s bringing me lots of joy. Proof that even our small quilt projects can be impactful.
PS – I'm officially knocking this one off my Q1 FAL 2020 list!