Charming Mini

I am on a mission to expand my horizons and step out of my quilting comfort zone and I am learning new things every day!  Last month I signed up to participate in a quilting swap.  The rules were to send a charm pack of fabric, plus a fat quarter of a coordinating fabric, to my swap partner.  My partner uses what I send her to make a mini quilt of her choice and returns it to me.  I am to do the same for her.

My partner, Kim from Oregon, sent me a charm pack of “Blush” by Moda.  This is what I made for her:

It is 16″ by 16″.  I had to rework the pattern twice to be able to get a complete heart out of a 5″ square of fabric.  I originally used solid circles of fabric but they looked too static so I strip pieced the circles and appliqued them onto the background.  I liked the circles better in the multi-colors.  Then it came time to quilt it. I prefer hand quilting my smaller tops and the big stuff I send off to the long arm experts.  About two and half weeks ago I very gracefully tripped on a crack in the sidewalk and landed full force on both of my hands (to avoid doing a face plant on the cement), injuring both of my hands.  Hand quilting this project was out of the question. It had to be finished and mailed by the first week in July.  I have never machine quilted so I thought why not start now? 
I used almost three yards of muslin and batting practicing straight lines, curves and graduated to stipples.  I actually started to like it!  Then it came time to put this project under the needle and I froze.  What if I made a mistake?  I had planned on doing a simple stipple but I couldn’t do it.  I put on the walking foot and did some tame stitch in the ditch quilting which, oddly, distorted the squares slightly.  I am not sure why, but I guess with some experience I will figure it out.  Here’s the back:
I called it “Love Makes the World Go ‘Round.”
What I learned: sewing a tiny quilt is harder than it looks; quilting around a circle isn’t easy; I have tremendous new appreciation for quilters who do amazing free motion work on their home machines.