While the Little Gems Project is now over there is nothing to stop anyone from making their own collection of Little Gems or for using the idea to fund raise for their own Guild or group. Here are some answers to the most frequently asked questions.
How do I start making a ‘little gem’?
All you need is some fabric and an idea – perhaps a technique you always wanted to try, or some bits of fabric that will look good together, or even a UFO you can experiment with.
I’ve got lots of fabric but can’t find the right idea … what now?
If the problem is that you have too many ideas, well, just start with one of them – these little quilts are so quick to make, you’ll be able to try out the others too!
I’m a traditional quilter and have only ever made bed-sized quilts – can I make a Little Gem sized quilt?
All kinds of techniques and styles are possible! Perhaps you’d like to try a favourite block in foundation piecing on a smaller scale, or have ‘ufo’ blocks that you’d like to adapt, or can use this as an opportunity to try out a quilting pattern.
What size should the ‘little gem’ be?
Our Little Gems were A4 size when finished – use a piece of A4 paper as a template to check – but you can make your Little Gem any size you like. A4 size is 21 cm wide and 29.7 cm high — that’s 8 1/2″ by 11 5/8″ —- give or take a tadge or two.
Which way should they hang?
They can be portrait or landscape.
This sounds like a miniature quilt – is it?
The rules of scale that are used for miniature quilts don’t need to be applied here but can be if wished.
Are any special materials or tools needed?
No – use what you usually use to make your quilts. Of course, if you want to experiment, these small pieces are ideal for doing that.
Does it have to be ‘arty’?
‘Little gems’ can be traditional or contemporary. They can be pieced, appliqued, wholecloth, embellished or any combination of styles.
Does it have to have wadding?
It needs to be three layers, joined by stitch – this could be wadding, or it could be some other material in the middle layer.
Does it have to have a binding?
The edge should be finished appropriately – you may wish to bind it conventionally, or to finish with satin stitch, or to use some other method of finishing the edge.
Can I use a backing to hide my knots and threads on the back?
You’ll need to have a few stitches going through all the layers – and to hold that backing on securely.
Do I need to add a hanging sleeve?
Hanging sleeves are not essential.
Does the quilt need a label?
What should be on the label?
The title of the quilt, your name and any information you want to provide about ‘the story behind the quilt’.
Why would I want to start working small?
Working small allows you to become adventurous and experimental – you can risk trying new tools and techniques. Working small will give you a new focus – like taking a close-up picture with your camera.
Some people are calling these ‘journal quilts’ – why?
The idea for ‘little gems’ came from the Contemporary Group’s journal quilt challenge, where members made a small quilt every month for a year, and also wrote a diary entry about why and how they made each quilt.