On June 15th we are going to be making “Mile-a-Minute” quilts. I don’t know where the term came from when referring to quilts but ”Mile-a-Minute” has been around for a long time. According to several dictionaries it refers to “very quickly,” or “acting rapidly” and “60 miles an hour.” All these could apply to this quick piecing technique.
I made the first of these quilts in 2007 and instantly fell in love with the simplicity and scrappiness. I ran a sewing program at Free Spirit & CLP and found this to be the perfect project to use up fabric scraps so generously donated by the local quilters. My co-workers and volunteers were not quilters…they liked the idea of just sewing bits of fabric to strips, cutting and sewing until they had good sized blocks. The participants loved it too, choosing various pieces of colourful scraps and watching the blocks grow. I will admit it is my favourite thing too!
I wanted to make a couple of blocks for samples and started working out of the one drawer of scraps that I have allowed myself to keep. I have years of scrap fabrics from quilts and clothing that are near and dear to my heart and haven’t been able to part with. The bright green strip above is from pants I made my sons in 1990…and there is older stuff too It’s definitely time to get them out of the stash and into a quilt! Anyway, two blocks turned into 24 and I’ve decided that I need to make at least another 24. And this one will become “Valerie Raye’s I Spy” quilt, hopefully, someday, a family heirloom.
A few months ago I started to “purge” the scraps, choosing only those pieces that were good quality cotton and that I could remember what it was that I had actually used the fabrics for. I now have two more empty bins. Just the other day I cleared out a shopping bag of 6″squares that had been following me since Hillcrest Avenue—> 70′s & 80′s stuff! Yesterday I scared myself…while wandering in the storage room I saw another big bag of fabrics! Crazy quilt velvets & lace and silks…this stuff has followed me from Hillcrest and Maple Avenue…and now it’s going somewhere else. I have pledged a large bin of scraps for this upcoming sewing day…none shall pass back into my sewing room!
I’ve seen these quilts finished with lattice & cornerstones, lattice that creates a zigzag effect, no lattice and pinwheel blocks inserted randomly. It’s a great way to use up those scraps and have some fun recalling all the memories that went into the original quilt. I can already count at least 40 different quilts and or clothing in this quilt…can’t wait to see it finished.
Happy Quilting…Valerie Raye