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.
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!