Tiny Bubbles

It’s been just over a year since my last post and there are a few projects I would like to document here. First up is Tiny Bubbles which began in August 2020 with a sew along hosted by Leslie Tucker Jenison and Michele Muska. We used Jen Carlton Bailly‘s smallest template to create tiny quarter circle units which Jen calls “curvelets”. Each unit finishes at one inch.

With no plan in mind, I liked the idea of hand piecing little blocks from my overflowing scrap bin. (Note to self: if you want to use up scraps, making little units is not a terribly efficient way to do so!) It was the first summer of the pandemic and I enjoyed tuning into the weekly Instagram Live chats with Leslie and Michelle. My process was to make a few units each day, watching them accumulate on the design wall.

At the end of the sew along, I began piecing the curvelets into 4 1/2 inch blocks, forming four circles made up of 16 units. I decided to assemble by machine because I’m not THAT crazy and I still wanted to see how large I could make the final piece before losing interest.

As you can see from this photo, there is some serious shrinkage going on here. The assembly required lots of pinning and careful piecing. Each day I continued to add more curvelets to the collection.

Life continued on in this way until June, 2021, when Jenn McMillan hosted the #100daysummersewalong to encourage any handwork project. I decided to participate and add one 4 1/2″ block a day consisting of four 2 1/2″ quarter circle units. During this time, I continued to assemble the smaller units into blocks.

One morning I came into the studio and the wind had blown over my portable design wall. My friend, Sarah Hibbert @quiltscornerstone thought it looked like they were trying to say something. I decided to put them back on the board and spelled out this “HELP” message. (It’s been a long two years of trying to entertain myself, what can I say?!)

At the end of the summer I decided it was time to reassess and come up with a plan. Looking back at my photos, it looks like I rearranged and added more blocks for about a month before I actually completed the top. Those poor little blocks were about worn out from all the action!

Basting time! I used a gray peppered cotton for the backing which is nice for allowing the quilting to show.

A straight line grid was quilted using the walking foot on my domestic machine. Then I hand quilted around the larger units using perle cotton thread.

Tiny Bubbles was accepted into QuiltCon 2022 in Phoenix and I am happy that people will be able to see it in person to appreciate the scale of the small units. This is the description that I sent with my entry:

 Quilted during the pandemic, these tiny bubbles kept me occupied while isolated in my own small bubble. All of the quarter circles were traced from templates, cut with scissors and pieced by hand. The curved units were then assembled by machine.

Quilt details for those enquiring minds:

44″ x 44″

completed October 2021

curved units hand pieced

assembled on machine

292 (2 inch finished units)

368 (1 inch finished units)

1320 pieces of fabric

15 thoughts on “Tiny Bubbles”

  1. It’s so wonderful to see your process. I thought the first iteration was great. I also love the idea of doing a little bit each day. With a newborn, I’ve been too overwhelmed to do anything, but this just shows that small steps can result in great accomplishments. Congratulations!

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  2. Tiny bubbles is stunning! Thanks for sharing with us. Makes me more optimistic about how some of my own projects may eventually turn out. Thanks for the inspiration.

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  3. I just love seeing this again in process and your finished work. I’m so proud of you and can’t wait to good news next month! 🙂 I won’t be there and sure will miss seeing you & your quilt.

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