At the start of this year I decided to sign up for a few swaps to get my creative juices going.  The end dates were nicely spread out between April and June, so I figured 3 was the perfect number to handle.  Having completed the Rainbow IG Mini Quilt Swap and the UK Mini Quilt Swap, my final task was the Cotton + Steel Mini Quilt Swap.

This was the one I was most cautious about, I have to admit.  With all the other swaps I’ve done, I’ve been free to use whatever fabric I wanted, but with this one I was totally at the mercy of what particular Cotton + Steel lines my partner liked.  Combining the options she had given me line-wise with the colours she preferred (no primary colours, and a non-white background), Tokyo Train Ride seemed the best option for the main prints, and I chose a couple of bundles from the Fabric Fox, who were generously offering a discount for swappers, one of which combined some of the Tokyo Train Ride prints with some of the basics.  Throw in a little Mochi and I was all set to create.

For my next task I looked to her design preferences and inspiration board and deduced that arrows, geese and chevrons floated her boat, as well as framed prints.  Alrighty then, let’s make up an insane story for the wee TTR dudes to go on a train right through the forest, past the river, through the mountains to the town then, and get those arrows and chevrons in…

The above was an IG photo of the screen in Illustrator when I was designing it, and then I broke the arrows, geese and chevrons into paper pieced sections.  I had originally hoped to use the free geese that Kelly from Jelliquilts made for Craftsy after seeing them in someone’s IG feed, but alas they were too big, so I had to draft my own little 1″ jobs.  I know, it’s insane, but by paper piecing them it seemed okay…

Having pieced it, I then had to work out how to quilt it, which was when I really started to sweat, why on earth do I make such ridiculously complex piecing that doesn’t lend itself to nice, uniform quilting?!  Anywho, I sucked it up and quilted in the ditch round the outside and inside of the framed sections, added a platform for the wee dudes to stand on, an FMQ path through both forest and mountains, and some serpentine stitching for the river.  I then added train tracks next to the chevrons, and quilted straight lines in the ditch round the geese and out to the edge of the section behind them.  The arrows got some flight lines from behind the head of the arrow, and then I did the head in the ditch too.  All the quilting was done in a neutral to match the Essex Linen background, so it’s not obvious unless you’re up close and personal with it.

And here it is done.  I forgot to take a photo of the finished package, but I was in a bit of a rush to get it in the post due to some unexpected changes in plan!

My partner seems to like it though, so Percy Pig And Pals obviously distracted her ;o)

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