And you’re off! I’m thrilled to share that to kick off the Little Forest BOM of 2024 you’ll be piecing the Bonsai quilt block!
This modern skill builder is meant to be fun while also challenging you to stretch a little outside your quilting comfort zone. This is a good thing!
Challenging yourself will help you grow and gain confidence in your ability to nail new techniques.
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How to set yourself up for quilting success
Growth can be exhilarating. It can also zap your energy after you’ve worked parts of your brain that you don’t always tap into. Be sure to take lots of breaks. I tend to approach my quilting in small sessions. Something along the lines of:
- Press my fabrics.
- Cut my fabrics.
- Piece a segment.
You get the idea!
Breaks give my mind a chance to relax and not be ‘on’ for too long.
I’ve found this to be helpful as I don’t seem to have the same focus longevity I once did – ha! Also, by breaking it up into manageable chunks, I never feel like I’m about to embark on this never-ending session. Try it and see if it helps.
And don’t forget to check in with your journal. It will feel good to track how you feel and you’ll love being able to look back and see how you felt along the way!
If you haven’t already, you’ll receive your free copy when you sign up for the Little Forest BOM Newsletter.
Story Behind the Bonsai Quilt Block
I don’t recall exactly where I discovered my first bonsai tree, but I know I was young and I was mesmerized by the miniature size, and the sculptural details of the shaped branches. It was a mixture of nature and art that had me captivated. Not enough to want to become a bonsai artist, but I remember appreciating seeing them in person when I was in Japan.
This is one of the reasons why I had to include this type of tree in the Little Forest Quilt.
The other is that she gave me the perfect opportunity to create a linear design that would be fun for colour play and could challenge your piecing capabilities 😊
Quilting Technique Featured
You might be wondering why the Little Forest Block of the Month quilt along starts there. Well, it was strategic on my part 😉
One thing that sets the foundation of your quilt is your piecing skills.
Learning how to manoeuvre small pieces while still maintaining precision takes practice. The long skinny seams in the Bonsai block will challenge you to:
- Piece with an accurate seam allowance.
- Manage small pieces at the machine.
- Learn how to press small pieces to avoid fabric distortion.
Nailing these piecing skills will set you up for success in the Little Forest quilt blocks to come.
Materials & Notions
Here’s what you’ll need to have on hand to stitch up the Bonsai quilt block:
- Bonsai quilt block pattern – part of the Little Forest BOM pattern
- Fabrics in colours:
- Piecing thread
- Sewing machine
- Cutting mat
- Rotary cutter with these blades
- Ruler – long
- Ruler – short
- Small scissors
- Pin cushion
- Wool pressing mat – Receive 10% off your entire order on thefeltstore.ca or thefeltstore.com, when using code SHANNONFRASER10 (valid through April 30, 2024).
- Fine mist spray bottle (I use this to create steam instead of filling my iron with water)
- Stiletto (optional but helpful)
- Magnetic seam gauge (optional but helpful)
To make the same version as me you can find the exact kit featuring the same AGF Signature Pure Solids in this quilt kit from Sew Curated.
Here are some of my top tips to nail the Bonsai quilt block:
- Pressing matters! Make sure you’re not tugging on your pieces as you press them.
- Measure twice, and cut once. It’s a saying for a reason😉. There are lots of different measurements to make all those pieces fit together. Use the cutting chart and fabric cutting diagrams included in the pattern to help you stay on track. Accurately cut pieces will go a long way in keeping your fabric pieces joining together nicely.
- Maintain an accurate seam allowance. It’s important to stay consistent with your SA. This will help prevent bowing and keep your pieces joining on the straight and narrow. A seam guide can help keep things on target! You can read more about how I use this tool in this blog post.
- A stiletto can help you get a hold of your fabric if you’re having a tough time maneuvering the tiny pieces at the sewing machine.
- Use your block labels! This will go a long way in keeping all your Bonsai block pieces organized.
You may be tempted to use a ¼” sewing foot to help give you nice consistent seams.
I’ve found mine to be too generous and ended up with blocks that were well under size.
If you prefer to stitch with one, I suggest measuring your seam before you start so you know exactly what the width of your seams are and can adjust if necessary.
January Little Forest BOM Giveaway
One of the things I appreciate are well-made tools that also look good in my studio, and Chris, from Modern American Vintage, makes it so easy to do that! Fellow wood lovers will appreciate the diversity and creativity Chris brings to his handmade quilting tools. Each features a different combination of woods for a truly one-of-a-kind notion.
To enter the giveaway, you must:
- Be following @modern_american_vintage and @shannonfraserdesigns on Instagram.
- Post a photo on Instagram of your Bonsai Block between January 15, 2024, and February 14, 2024, at 11:59 pm Eastern.
- Instagram account must be public.
- Tag @modern_american_vintage and @shannonfraserdesigns
- Include the hashtags #LittleForestBOM #LittleForestQuilt
This month’s giveaway is open internationally.
Winner to be announced in the February 15, 2024 Little Forest BOM Newsletter!
I’m so looking forward to seeing your Bonsai blocks start popping up!
PS Don’t forget to share your Bonsai quilt block on the ‘gram to be entered into the giveaway!
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