Mini Charm Challenge: Rainbow Byte Mini Quilt Tutorial

When Kylie put out the call for people to join her Mini Charm Challenge, I immediately joined in.  I've been staring at a pile of mini charm packs for a while, and could not figure out what to do with them.  I was close to just pulling them apart and sorting them into my scrap bins, but that seemed like a waste of perfectly sorted fabric.

With someone challenging me to make a thing with my charms, I came up with this mini quilt pattern.  You can make it in solids like mine or with prints, and you can even just use scraps.  I sorted mine into a rainbow, but you could go random or monochromatic.  While making it, I kept coming up with new variations, and I'd love to see what you guys do with it.

 

The whole thing starts with a charm pack and yardage of your background.  I used this darker palette of solids from Michael Miller with some American Made Solid in Taupe.  I suggest getting a yard, but I ended up using about 3/4 of a yard for my mini.   More background gives you more options.

mini charm rainbow.jpg

I pulled these neutrals out of my stack.  My plan was for color!

Cut your charms in half.  Charms are 2.5 inches square, so you'll end up with two rectangles that measure 1.25 x 2.5.  

You'll also need to cut the same size rectangles from your background.  For my layout, I needed about the same number of background rectangles as color, so I just cut until my stacks were about the same height.

Sew one of you color pairs to one background rectangle, and press.  (I'm a side presser, so I pressed toward the color.)

Then sew the other color to the first pair, making a nice color sandwich.  

At this point, I brought them to my design board and laid them out.  I ended up with six columns of color, with the darkest colors on bottom.  

This is where you can really play with it.  If you had plenty of charms, you could add more rows or columns.  If you had fewer, you could play with the negative space above or below the columns, or in between colors.  

Once you've got a layout that you like, use your leftover background rectangles to sew the columns together.

At this point, the pattern becomes more improv, which I love.  Add sashing to the sides and tops of your columns so that you can join them together.  My sashing between the columns is 1.25 inches wide. 

If you look at my seams, you can see how I put this together.  I added sashing to the sides of my green column.  I then added more height to my red/yellow and teal/blue columns, so that I could sew those to the green column.  I then added height to that whole section, so that I could sew it to my tallest column, the purple/pink.

At this point, I added a bottom row of background, and thought that I was done, but I wanted it to be more in the center of a taupe field.  So I cut strips that were six inches wide and sewed them to the sides and top and bottom.

I'm so in love with how this turned out, and I'm glad that Kylie made me do it!  I've not gotten around to quilting, because my machine isn't behaving enough for quilting, and the long arm has been full!  I might just do rows of straight vertical lines to highlight the columns, and I have half an idea about adding in a couple lines of stitching in the column's color as well.

We're nearing the end of the hop, but you should go back and visit all the other fun mini projects!

Sept. 14 – Jennie (cloverandviolet.com/blog
Sept. 15 – Lisa (L1sapeterson.blogspot.com)
Sept. 16 – Sarah (goer.org/sarah)
Sept. 17 – April (aprilrosenthal.com)
Sept. 18 – Nina (ninawithfreckles.wordpress.com)
Sept. 19 – Konda (moosequilts.com)
Sept. 20 – Mary (seemaryquilt.com)  <-- you're here!
Sept. 21 – Kylie (sewkylie.com)