Beginning the Miniature Fan Quilt

So I have a bee in my bonnet to make another tiny quilt. I gave a preview of the book I’ll be using on a previous post, and this past weekend, I got started. I’ll admit it took a few days of stand and stare to decide on a colorway. Originally I was thinking about my usual fall palette, but ultimately decided it would do better with some brighter colors left over from my Pachanga quilt. The fans of the pattern will look a lot like a flower, and I found a black background with leaves for contrast.

If you’d like to quilt along, the pattern is in this book, Easy Paper Pieced Miniatures by Carol Doak. I made copies of the paper foundation using this newsprint paper and my copier. Newsprint holds up to the stitching, yet is much easier to remove than standard copy paper. I also increase my stitches per inch for easier removal.

Once I have my choice and enough pages printed on newsprint to complete the project, I color the foundation patterns. This really helps keep the colors straight and minimize mistakes.

OK, off I go! I have a tutorial on Paper Piecing, if you need a refresher or you are new to the technique. I put a smaller needle in the machine too, a size 8, and use 50 wt thread.

I use a bookmark to fold the paper over, and a small ruler with a raised edge to cut off the excess to a quarter inch seam allowance.

On Friday, I joined an international Zoom sew day hosted by ChookyBlue. She does this for fellow bloggers from time to time. Her day began at 7 am in Australia, while for for me it began at 4 in the afternoon. We got on the subject of mini quilts pretty quickly, as two of us were working on those, so I had to dig out my Miniature Mariner’s Compass to show.

Here’s my first little fan block finished. It is 2-inches square.

I started on the next block, and continued to have fun chatting while we sewed.

By the time I finished the second block, we were up to 20 participants from all over the world! Quilters from Australia, New Zealand, Germany, America and Canada were all chatting and sewing together. Only in the age of Zoom is this possible.

Here are the two blocks together.

By the end of the time I could sew with the group, I had three made. I had to stop around 8:30 in the evening as the light was fading behind the mountain to the west, and I needed to spend some time with My Sweet Babboo. He had generously cooked ribs on the grill while I was sewing so I only missed about 20 minutes while I had dinner around 6 pm.

Then, the next day, it occurred to me that doing just one at a time was more time consuming that doing more than one at once. It also would help keep things straight working with the same colors over four blocks. So, I began work on four at once. So far so good.

So, that is where it stands now. My plan for now is to make 16 of these blocks, for a 4×4 center. I am not sure if I want to do the even smaller ones for the cornerstones as shown on the pattern, but we’ll see.

Have you made a miniature project? Are you quilting along with this one?

29 thoughts on “Beginning the Miniature Fan Quilt

  1. Linda B

    Love your experience with quilters from all over on zoom! Before the pandemic I had never heard of it. So fun we can be at our own sewing machines and still connect with others. I hope we keep using ozom after things sreturn to “normal”, whatever that is. Your mini looks amazing!

  2. Julie

    I also would like Zoom get togethers to continue on occasion. While nothing will ever replace the sound of a room full of sewers with all their machines whirring away, it’s nice to not haul everything to a remote location. I haven’t paper pieced a mini quilt but did make 4″ cranes for a guild project. I kept my sample, it’s so cute. I’m inspired to make it some friends & assemble a little not quite mini quilt.

  3. Oh my! i have Carol Doak’s Easy Machine Paper Piecing! The blocks seem to be about the same size. I haven’t tried one of them yet! That was nice that you could sew with quilters all over the world. The pandemic really helped us explore the internet to find new ways to connect!

  4. Mary Stori

    Carol certainly took pepaer piecing to a new level. True story…..I invited her as a guest instructor on one of my quilting tours. This one was esp. amazing….Iceland, London, & Paris. As a joke I started collecting toliet paper samples of most places we visited…..toliet paper is notoriously stiff and thicker than what we find in the US. We all had fun watching Carol rate the quality as potential paper piecing foundations!

  5. Donna

    What a cute miniature!!! Technology is amazing that people from all over the world can get together and sew!!!

  6. Pamela Cole

    I started working on a what could be considered a miniature “making 3″ squares and some are gonna be 6” but it’s the quilt known as the 365 challenge…I worked on this between all the other BOM and BOW’s. I am through 4/18 so far. If you have ever looked at this on Pinterest it is amazing.

  7. Kathleen Kingsbury

    I love your completed mini and also the fan project. I enjoy paper piecing and can actually say I did a somewhat mini by reducing a larger pattern and making a mug rug for my daughter. I will have to look for this book. Thanks for sharing!

  8. Look at those tiny blocks! That’s going to be so pretty, Carole. Paper-piecing can definitely give you precise and interesting shapes. Sounds like a good book to have!

  9. Joan Sheppard

    Love the comment about toilet paper as a backing – true – the Asian TP is very versatile – they use it for napkins, facial tissue as well – good idea. Someone also suggested Telephone Books. Now they are antiques and relics but really easy to rip. Love the colors! Thanks

  10. Rosemary B

    super fun meeting with people around the planet. What fun to see faces of passionate sewing friends. I love your little paper pieced blocks. I have so many scraps!!
    Well done, Carole

  11. Your miniature Fan Quilt is going to be stunning. Great colors and fabrics. And I love your miniature Mariner’s Compass quilt too! I’ve had that on my bucket list for a couple of years. One day I’ll brave up and make it.

  12. Tiny in size but huge on cuteness. Hope the bee has left your bonnet :-p
    I have made a couple of mini quilts but not miniature quilts. I find the tiny pieces too finicky. Power to you!

  13. Janet A Crossman

    thank you for your comment on the use of newspaper paper, this is a great idea. I do a lot of pp and always find the copier paper cumbersome. I will definitely try to get some of this paper. Love you blocks.

  14. Charleen DiSante

    Hi, fairly new follower here. I am curious about your choice of size 8 needle for paper piecing when I want the holes to make tearing the paper away. Also, is size 50 thread larger say than regular Gutterman cotton? Thanks

    1. I use a small needle and increase the stitch count per inch fro 12 to 16, making more holes per inch for tearing.  50 wt thread is thinner as well so the thread doesn’t take up as much space.  This makes the piecing on tiny bits more accurate, and points come out sharper.  I don’t find a thread weight on the Gutermann cotton, but it seems to be closer to a 40 wt.

  15. I have a needlepoint/cross-stitch/knitting/crocheting group that meets once a week via Zoom, but there is lots of talk and very little actually crafting. Fun though. I really like those tiny blocks. The colors pop with the black background.

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