Functional Mini Quilts…or Potholders!

Sewing mini quilts is my solution to creative laziness.  I may be in between projects or have been away from the studio, or just wanting to work intuitively, without a plan or defined goal.  I start by sewing scraps.  I have buckets of scraps (doesn’t every quilter?) and small vignettes that didn’t work out, but couldn’t be tossed away.  I sew and sew and sew.  Eventually I feel a little more creative and get excited about possibilities.  The end result is a collection of small studies, or pieced mini quilts, in various colors, shapes and fabrics.

A little scrap of flower fabric grew into a mini quilted potholder
Happy Flowers Potholder

Since my midwestern work ethic requires functional creativity, small studies become functional mini quilts — potholders!  Now they have a reason to be, a direction, a purpose, besides entertaining me.

Sometimes a mini quilt is not destined to be a utilitarian potholder.  It may grow into a bigger piece, leading the way to new color combinations or linear designs.  Perhaps it stays a potholder.  The mini quilt dictates its destiny.

They may be a little wonky or not exactly square.  But the mini quilt has a purpose and a definite feeling of freedom in design.

Eventually I have a stack of mini quilts/potholders that need finishing.  I dig out the heat reflective batting, add another layer of batting for good measure (all from scraps); and pick out a fun back from my stash of partially used fat quarters.   Finally, add a ribbon for hanging and quilt it.

Handmade, quilted potholders do take a lot of work, but I enjoy making them.  They are all different, all using up scraps that I couldn’t throw away, and giving me new ideas for bigger pieces yet to come.  Quite frankly, there is no down-side for me.  Cheers!


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