My Small World progress


I really wanted to join in the “My Small World” QAL hosted by Kerry of verykerryberry a few months ago. If you have previously read my blog, you will know that I have a tendency to miss QAL’s, finding out about the details sometime after the event. In this particular instance, it simply took too long for the Spring edition of Quiltmania to reach my local magazine retailer, and I missed the boat.

Section 1 using some cool scraps I picked up in Stratford last month, and bits from the Arts Recycling Centre. I included some “blank” space to embroider in some signage.

I was determined to make the quilt though, and since Gypsy Wife #2 is almost done (one section left to join), I took advantage of a week away at a bach (holiday home) in Taupo to tackle this quilt.

Section 2 and I fell in love with the little curved doorways.

The decision to go away was made suddenly, and I had only a couple of hours to organize food, bedding, equipment, quilting paraphernalia and myself, to get out the door. So, of course I left a few things behind. Since these included the materials necessary to make templates or do paper piecing, I had to approach this quilt in a rather different manner from the instructions in places.

Section 3 had a Y seam in it that I could have avoided, but I didn’t figure that out until the next day.

Out went the templates, and in came hand drawn diagrams and foundation and paper piecing. This was originally undertaken on the one piece of paper I could filch from the bach guestbook, then on the pages of a womens magazine. I took great delight in sacrificing the pages advertising weight loss competitions and diet food from the magazine. Luckily I had a pencil and pencil sharpener, and both were put to good use in drafting all the little chimneys, flying geese and economy blocks.

Section4 and the clamshells. With no supplies, these got raw edge appliquéd on. I forgot my hand sewing supplies and template plastic, so it seemed the best option.

I never realized how much I relied upon the internet, until I didn’t have it to research quicker methods to construct blocks. I fell back on easy methods such as stitch and flip to construct these economy blocks and flying geese, having had plenty of experience with the method from constructing other Jen Kingwell quilts. I took one look at the 2 inch pinwheels though and decided life was too short, and I would design something else in keeping with the theme of the pattern.

Where I just didn’t like a block (e.g. the arrows), I re-designed the pattern to include more of the blocks I did like. I really liked the little doors and chimneys, so my version has more of these. I wanted the quilt to remind me of trips to Lyon, Tallinn and other medieval cities. I want to look at it and remember round watch-towers, and the muted colours of southern France. Likewise I made two sets of flying geese, and made one set facing the wrong directions. This is a reminder of our coach backing up tight roads in the Alps after meeting another coach on a tight corner, then going down impossibly narrow streets and getting stuck.

Section 6 was the last section completed, featuring my “lost” geese. I kept this section light coloured to remind me of a part of Estonia I visited where a nearby kiln draped the surrounding landscape and houses in a grey sediment. Not great for the locals health, but environmental concerns in the days of Soviet rule were lower on the agenda than productivity targets.

I finished one section a day, often cutting the pieces for the next section later in the evening, since I didn’t have access to Sky or Netflix, and had neglected to bring many books to read. Without dishes, cooking (other than reheating something in the microwave) or other responsibilities, I easily managed the sections on schedule.

The next step is to finish the remaining section (Part 5), then start embellishing the quilt. I didn’t take any yellow fabrics suitable for the sunnier part of the quilt, so I couldn’t really progress any further at the time. I also want to record my food and fibre related adventures by including shop labels lifted from my photographs of trips abroad. I hope to stitch in some signs on the spaces I have left for that purpose.

Those lovely terracotta coloured roofs in Tallinn that I included in the quilt. Is there a name for this style of roof?

If you have never travelled to Estonia, and are looking for a magical place to visit, I can only recommend it. It is a country that has emerged from a difficult history with an immense pride in their culture, and tourism is a major source of income needed to continue the recovery. The medieval town centre in Tallinn is beautiful, though it can be overtaken by tourists from  cruise ships some days. The knitting  traditions of Estonia are worth the trip alone, and I spent many days tracking down knitting samples and books for Daughter #2 while there. The National Museum in Tartu has a large collection of knitted garments capturing the colour work patterns of the country, and researchers have recreated many of these patterns on gloves and scarves for sale. My trip to Estonia was easily my favourite trip abroad in the last decade, though that might have something to do with having just handed in my doctoral thesis prior to leaving.

An arched doorway in an old building, something else I repeated a lot in the quilt. Photo taken somewhere in Estonia (I am really bad at labelling photos).

Have a great week. We are hoping to put up a Christmas tree this week, meanwhile the first Christmas cake is made, and the pudding mix is soaking in brandy. Things feel almost under control!

Linking up with WIP Wednesday, Lets Bee Social and Scraptastic Tuesday.




13 thoughts on “My Small World progress

  1. It amazes my how this quilt top just takes on a life of its own. I felt that I had to finish mine in a short time as well. I wasn’t traveling though. Like your comment about the women magazines and repurposing the ads. Have fun with the last part, its worth finishing.


    1. Isn’t funny the pressure we can put on ourselves to finish something, fast! Despite the schedule, I still enjoyed every aspect of the quilt. I am procrastinating a little over the last section though. I have yet to piece a circle, and the next section has several. Plus hexies. I might just finish off my second Gypsy Wife first. Thanks for visiting.


  2. I am usually behind on quilt a longs and such too, but from the way this one looks, I’m sure you won’t be sorry even if you were a day late and a dollar short. I love, love this pattern and your fabric choices are very nice. I like the fact that you’ve changed the pattern when it did not fit to you.

    Life without internet… eeekkk, so hard, but it’s nice when I’m not so distracted.


  3. This is my first time visiting your blog (I think?) and wow, I love this post. I enjoyed reading about your process and your travels. The Small World quilt is fantastic as are your personal interpretations of certain parts.

    Plus…who needs pages of diet advice or weight loss recipes. Glad to see you had a good use for those pages. 🙂


  4. I love this quilt pattern and saw it made up and entered into a “the good the bad and the ugly” contest at a local quilt show. Entrants were given a bag of “ugly” fabrics. But beauty is in the eye of the beholder and I think she made a gorgeous quilt out of it. Sadly I too missed the QAL and have been unable to locate copies of Quiltmania to do it after the fact. If you are interested in seeing it in atypical colors here is the link to my blog post where I discuss the show. It is the seventh photo down
    Your color scheme is very different but looks great and it looks like so much fun to do. I have not yet given up on finding the directions. But it is not like I have no other projects on a back burner…


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