Monday, September 5, 2016

Shadow Block Mini Reveal (My First Mini Quilt)

The day has finally arrived!!  Reveal Day for the Shadow Block Mini!  Yahoo!  I can hardly wait to see the variety of versions everyone came up with.  Here is my story of how all this came about.

I have been wanting to make a mini quilt for quite a long time  and as fate would have it, my fellow New Quilt Blogger Jen Rosin of A Dream and a Stitch was thinking along the same lines.  And even more coincidental, we were both attracted to the same mini!  So we decided to make it and blog about it together and invite other quilters in on the fun as well.  Although I really wanted to (because I'm naturally curious), I did not ask her anything about her plan, what colors she was going to use, or how she was going to quilt it.  I wanted to see what different kinds of ideas we would come up with using the same pattern.

The pattern we used comes from Debora at Studio Dragonfly.  Thanks, Debora!  She is joining in with the rest of us and making a new version of this pattern,

Since I am such a lover of lots of color, I chose to do my mini quilt with a sunshiny yellow background and the squares in a variety of colors.  I call this quilt Rainbow Crumbs.  It was so fun to chain piece all those tiny little squares and rectangles.  It goes very quickly. 

My mind sometimes takes weird turns and I thought wouldn't those pretty yellow bits look nice against my blue top?  Blue and yellow are a good combo, right????

Umm . . . no.  A jewelry designer I am NOT!  Stick to sewing, girl.

As I was sewing this project, I learned something important.  The directions usually say what they say for a reason and sometimes you can fudge them and sometimes not.  My first mistake came when I didn't read this line carefully:  

"Each row of five blocks will need four 1 1/2" x 3 1/2" background rectangles sewn between."
I sewed the shadows on the wrong side so they were facing the four block rows instead of the five block rows.   I sewed them on the right hand side of each block and they should have been sewn on the bottom shadow side.  This forced me to put the long sashing strips horizontally instead of vertically like the directions said.  I thought oh, well, it will still work out.  Well, kinda, sort of.

Now, the left hand side looks like this with no sashing

And the right hand side looks like this with pieced "sashing".   :(  

From a distance it probably won't matter that much once I sew a strip on the left, but it would have been so much better to have both sides and the top and the bottom all looking the same with a sashing strip.   Pooey!  Oh well, I'm going to keep going.  It would be waaay to much trouble to rip everything out.

Now for the back. I'm not really wanting to use a large piece from my stash so decided to just improv piece the back of it from my scraps.  I figured if it didn't turn out well, nobody is going to see the back anyway.  So I grabbed this stack of scraps . . .

and made this for the back .

Now for the quilting!

As Debora wanted to do in her tutorial, I wanted the blocks of color to stand out so I quilted the shadows first in a snakey line.  I'm pretty sure this has an official name, but I can't remember what it is.  Candy something.

Then, because I has having so much fun quilting, I proceeded to quilt the snot out of the rest of it!  I mean, I really got carried away. 

So much so that I forgot to check out was happening on the back side.  Oh no!!  The batting got folded over and sewed into some of the quilting.  Lesson number two learned.  Keep an eye on both sides!

This was not going well.  If I was more professional than I am, I probably would have ripped this out and requilted that area, but I didn't. Quilt police, please forgive me!  I decided to leave it and see how much of that would be trimmed off when it was trimmed and bound.  It almost, but not quite disappeared.  I could probably try to pick out that batting of the bit that still shows one of these days, but I decided since it's hanging on the wall, probably nobody will ever see that.

So here is the finished Rainbow Crumbs!  I quilted it so densely that it stands up on its own!  This picture is my mini just leaning against the wall so the edges look a little wavy since it isn't just hanging straight.   

Here is a closeup of the quilting.  If you will notice, the squares that I wanted to emphasize all ended up rather wrinkly.  I learned what stabilizing means and this is what happens when you don't!  I didn't have enough basting pins in there before I started.  Another lesson learned.

This quilt was full of learning experiences for me.

I was so excited to get done that I made ANOTHER goof!  I machine sewed the binding on the back side instead of the front so the hand sewing appears on the front.  Oh brother.   

Well, regardless it is my lifetime fourth finish and  I am learning a lot this way without totally goofing up a large quilt.  I think I'll do some more minis!  

Oh!  One other thing I learned is that if you are doing dense quilting, it is probably best to outline the objects that you are quilting so it looks  more organized on the back.  I knew the back really didn't matter for this project, but it will on future ones.  Even though the back is rather busy on this one because of the improv piecing I did, I still kind of like the way the quilting looks, but it would be better with the sashing  outlined.  Don't you think?

Please be sure to visit the rest of the ladies on today's Reveal Day for this Shadow Block mini blog hop.  We are giving prizes to two of the bloggers who participated and also THREE prizes to randomly selected visitors who comment on any of the ladies in the blog hop.  

Prizes will be:

Jennifer Strauser of Dizzy Quilters  will be providing a set of blue batik squares to do your own shadow block mini

Jen Rosin  of A Dream and a Stitch will have a surprise prize.  I haven't seen it yet but she described it and I would love to win it myself!  You can win this prize by leaving comments on all the blogs in the blog hop.

I will be providing 3 fat quarters to a random winner who leaves a comment on any blog in the hop.

Please be sure to visit  the following ladies to see their versions of the Shadow Block Mini!   I will be creating a tab on my blog with a gallery of the all the Shadow Block minis once this blog hop is over so if you would like to be included in that gallery, just send me your Shadow Bock mini pictures.  And now on with the show .  .  .  !

Jen Rosin at A Dream and a Stitch
Debora Exum at Studio Dragonfly
Amanda Everest at Quiltologie
Susan Arnold at Quilt Fabrication
Bonnie Stapleton at Institches with Bonnie
Jennifer Fulton at Inquiring Quilter
Jennifer Strauser at Dizzy Quilter
Joanne Harris at Quilts by Joanne
Anja Clyke at Anja Quilts
Mary Schuberg at Needled Mom

I will be linking up with:

Sunday Stitching at The Creative Side
Main Crush Monday at Cooking Up Quilts
Monday Making at Love Laugh Quilt
Fiber Tuesday and Busy Hands Quilts

I'm so glad you stopped by!  Please do come again and follow along on my quilting journey!


  1. Visiting from MCM, your final quilt looks great. I have been quilting for years, and I still learn something every time. Just keep quilting!

  2. Hilarious! I love that your quilt stands up by itself! It turned out really well. I don't think it matters that the shadows are on the opposite side. Brilliant!

  3. Love it! and I love the quilting....Thanks for sharing all your lessons learned, it was a great read.

  4. I really like the yellow in it and your quilting looks beautiful. Hey....I still end up getting the backing or batting folded in on the back occasionally. I think we all do.

  5. Thanks for sharing your mini adventure! I've been quilting for over 20 years, and I learn something new on every. single. quilt. Keep stitching!

  6. Janice, it's fantastic! Congrats! Your quilting is awesome!

  7. I really like the yellow background. The quilting makes the squares really pop.

  8. I think that your mini quilt turned out beautifully and learning as you go is a good thing! I agree that outlining shapes when quilting can really make the back a work of art in its own right, but I learned that the same why you did. Congratulations on the fun mini quilt finish. :)

  9. Janice your shadow quilt is wonderful. Another thing that may have caused your "puffy" blocks is the uneven amount of quilting -- you've heavily quilted and then for 2 and a half inches nothing then heavily quilted. But honestly, it's done it's pretty and I like it and I bet you do too! Yea for your 4th finish! Pat yourself on the back and see what else strikes your fancy!

  10. Beautiful! I love your free motion quilting. Is the ribbon quilting called ribbon candy? That is what it looks like to me - the ribbon candy my great grandma would buy. Thanks for organizing this - it was so much fun!

  11. Your quilt turned out great! I'm always learning something from every project I make...for example, that one about the folded batting - been there, done that! :) More than once.... I'm glad you had so much fun with this and I'm looking forward to seeing all the others!

  12. Beautifully done! If you had not mentioned your challenges, I would have assumed that everything went perfectly. It's a beautiful piece.

  13. Your mini turned out fabulous! And it doesn't matter that the shadow is on the bottom and left - it just means the sun is hitting it from a different direction. Well done!

  14. Your mini turned out wonderful! And great lessons learned! I think your ribbon/snake quilting turned out way better than mine. Notice I didn't share a closeup? :) And those quilted swirls are fabulous. I especially like how they stand out on the purple and black back. This was so much fun, and we learned hop lessons along the way too. Thanks so much for doing this with me.

  15. Great colors and fabulous machine quilting. You have some mad skills for this being only your fourth finish. Can't wait to see more! Thanks for hosting this fun quilt along.

  16. What a great learning experience for you! Painful I guess, but a good one. I too had the same issue with the assembly but caught it in time. I did my second one my way, in rows and not columns so I wouldn't mess up which side to sew the sashing on. I can't believe this is only your fourth finish! The quilting is so awesome!

  17. You put so much work into your little quilt. I love to see the overall look of the quilt, and I must say your blocks are just floating. Well done for sharing the scenic route you took along the way.

  18. Oh Janice you are so funny, I so love reading your posts. I think the overall finish of your quilt is great. I love your eye for colour, and your quilting just gets better and better. The great thing about making mistakes is we learn from them, and you are nothing if not honest, and in doing so you teach me too.

  19. Even though you had some mishaps, your mini is fabulous.

  20. Visiting from MCM too, and so thankful that you show that sometimes it's okay to just let it be and work with it. I think it turned out nicely! Wendy at

  21. I was amazed by your FMQ skill. Thanks for sharing!

  22. I think it looks great! Beautiful colors, and I love the dense quilting.

    We'd never know about your oopsies if you didn't tell us :) I'm like you, I hate to rip things out if they aren't really going to show. Better to just "live and learn" and try not to make the SAME mistakes. After all, there's a whole big, wide world full to NEW mistakes to make!!

  23. I loved all the different mini shadow quilts-just great! The ideas for placemats is amazing-even errors in sewing created wonderful suprises!

  24. Thank you for sharing! So fun seeing all the different fabrics..this pattern is Awesome!! :)

  25. Very pretty, thanks for sharing, oops and all, lol

  26. This design is perfect for showing off some favorite fabrics! (I do like your necklace, BTW.) Your quilting and pieced back are fabulous!

  27. I love the yellow background. Great quilting.

  28. I can't believe you're so new to this, your quilting is fantastic!!! After all those goofs, and you've still made a beautiful quilt! Well done!! We all learn something new every quilt, congratulations on your FOURTH finish!!!

  29. Colorful shadow boxes.

  30. Very pretty! Love all the colors, but that blue/green/purple swirly in the bottom is possibly my favorite piece of all! ;) Nice work!

  31. Thank you for sharing, the quilting on your quilt is very beautiful.

  32. Those small squares pop, and it is like sunshine coming from the back, altogether wonderful. And to stand up by itself, a bonus.

  33. What a cute quilt! I've really enjoyed see all the different versions. I've got to make at least one now.

  34. Love the yellow! So few people seem to use it, but it really makes the quilt sing.

  35. Love the yellow! So few people seem to use it, but it really makes the quilt sing.

  36. Minis are a great way to learn quilting lessons for bigger projects. Your mini is cheery with its yellow background. I do admire shadow quilts. The minis are all different with fabric choices.

    tushay3 (at) yahoo (dot) com

  37. The quilting in the sashing is AMAZING! I love the happy colors you used.

  38. Hello Janice,
    I love the way you have shown us everything that happened during the making of this quilt - it is never plain sailing. Your quilting is fabulous, especially as you have only started fairly recently.
    Thank you for linking up with Free Motion Mavericks - your quilt is project of the week!
    Love, Muv


I LOVE meeting new quilting friends and always respond to comments so I'd love to hear from you!