In January, I signed up for a mini quilt swap to benefit various wildlife rescue charities in Australia to help them out due to the massive wildfires. Each person who signed up for the swap agreed to donate $10 towards the charities in addition to making a mini quilt featuring an Australian animal.
Sharon (@shoppershaz_swaphost on Instagram) hosted the swap. We had over 250 swappers so she organized us into groups and assigned us each a secret partner.
I made a little koala on a tree for my partner using the Koalas pattern by Elizabeth Hartman. This is a traditionally pieced pattern rather than a foundation paper pieced pattern, and it was really fun to make!
My partner, Debbie, indicated that she preferred blues, teals, and yellows for her colors, and I knew that she liked batiks based on previous posts to her Instagram account.
I do combine batiks with quilting cottons, although some quilters cringe at the idea! I used a really pretty teal batik for the koala body with light blue Grunge for the ears. The background is also a batik in a warm neutral that is lightly patterned. I found scraps in my stash for the tree trunk, leaves, belly, and facial features. The binding is a dark teal batik.
The tree trunk fabric is directional so I had to make sure each piece faced in the correct direction. No drunken trees here with vertical and horizontal stripe mismatches!
I quilted this mini quilt on my trusty Bernina Activa 145 S, my everyday piecing machine. For the domestic machine quilting, I used the Bernina free-motion foot #24 with Aurifil 50 weight thread in a light cream color. I did some free-motion swirls in the background, some leaf shapes in the leaves, and some ruler work on the koala and tree. If you look closely at the koala body, I added three free-motion heart shapes.
Here’s a look at my completed koala mini that I made for my partner:
For my mini quilt, I asked for a koala, but I left the individual pattern up to the maker. I also mentioned that bright modern fabrics would work or more natural colors.
My partner, Sandy, made me a very cute little koala using a pattern by Joe, June, and Mae. She used natural colors and Essex linen for a rich texture.
Here’s a look at the mini quilt that I received:
This little koala mini quilt is now hanging in my sewing room, along with other minis that I treasure from swaps over the past few years on Instagram.
I’m happy that I was able to contribute to the wildlife rescue agencies in Australia during this swap! If you want to see more mini quilts from this swap, check out the #quiltersforkoalas hashtag on Instagram.