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Holiday Forest pillow tutorial

Looking for a holiday project to tackle? I’ve got one for you, on the Olfa website this month!

My Holiday Forest pillow is a fast little project that uses the quick method of making Flying Geese (you make them four at a time). A few color changes and the flying geese are suddenly a forest of Christmas trees. : ) I think I overdosed on red and green during the making of my Fair Isle quilt last year, so for this one I decided to go with non-traditional holiday colors. Somewhere in the back of my mind, I think I was envisioning the pink aluminum Christmas trees from the Charlie Brown Christmas special. But it would look great done up traditional, too!

And I’m the subject of their November Designer Spotlight, so head over there for full project instructions, as well as an interview with me. Thank you, Olfa, for featuring me!

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Reel Time Floor Pillow

In the midst of working on new patterns, I took a little break for a fun project using Zen Chic’s new line for Moda, Reel Time.

My absolute favorite Zen Chic line was Comma, and Reel Time picks up where Comma left off. Reel Time was inspired by movies and the film industry—but much like Comma, it’s got just a hint of industrial grunge, and I love that. : )

I’ve been thinking the girls might like a big pillow for when they’re lying on the floor watching TV, and what better fabric for that than Reel Time? I ended up pulling out the whites and grays and greens and combining them with some gray Essex linen. And then, because I’m still having my purple moment, I added a plummy pillow trim. : )

There are a ton of good stash-builder prints in this line that I’m planning to stockpile ASAP. I especially love the dot prints and these x’s inside of dots.

Want to see more of Reel Time? (Of course you do!) Check out the rest of the blog hop below! Lots more pretty projects to look at. : )

11. April Lynne Goldsworthy from Lily’s Quilts www.lilysquilts.blogspot.com
12. April Nettie Peterson from A quilt is nice www.aquiltisnice.blogspot.com
13. April Erica Jackman from Kitchen Table Quilting www.kitchentablequilting.com
14. April Lee Heinrich from Freshly Pieced www.freshlypieced.com
15. April Amy Smart from Diary of a Quilter www.diaryofaquilter.com
16. April Nicole Daksiewicz from Modern Handcraft www.modernhandcraft.com
17. April Rochelle New from Lucky Lucille www.luckylucille.com
18. April Kelly Smith  from Live.love.create, www.craftytwinmommy.blogspot.com
19. April Lisa Cox from A Spoon full of Sugar www.aspoonfulofsugardesigns.com
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Playful Petals Pillow

Some of my favorite quilt books lately are the ones that take a basic concept—like, for example, a simple petal shape—and turn out all of these amazing, innovative, inspiring designs using that concept. That’s why I’m so excited to be part of the Playful Petals
blog tour today!
Playful Petals, by Corey Yoder of Little Miss Shabby, is a perfect example of all the creativity and beauty that can come from something as simple as a petal shape.
When Corey asked me to be a part of the blog tour, I was a little nervous. I’m no appliquér. I’ve done a few small appliqué projects here and there, of course, but it’s hardly my thing. But. Such cute projects! Such an inspiring book! How could I say no?
Fortunately, every single project in Playful Petals has a full-size quilt design and a mini/pillow design. So you always have the option to make something small. As a novice appliquér, I especially love that. Much less intimidating. : ) I made the Daisy Fields pillow from the book. Corey’s use of bright, scrappy prints throughout the book is always inspiring, so of course I had to go in that direction with my version as well.
And you know what? Appliqué is much easier than I remembered it being. I followed Corey’s suggestions in the “Appliqué Basics” chapter of Playful Petals—she gives some excellent tips there. I probably complicated things for myself by deciding I had to blanket-stitch my petals—straight stitch would no doubt have been easier. But with the yarn-dyed linen background, I wanted to do something that complimented a more home-spun look.

Bikes! So cute!
I think my Bernina 750 helped make the appliqué task much easier as well. That machine does some seriously beautiful blanket stitching, despite my minimal expertise. This blanket stitching isn’t perfect, of course, but I think this is my first time attempting it in at least three years, so I’ll take it!
I’m so pleased with my finished Daisy Fields pillow!
Be sure to check out blog posts about Playful Petals from everybody on the hop. The schedule is below:

September 15: Amy @ Stitchery Dickery Dock
September 16: Melissa @ Happy Quilting
September 17: Jessica @ Quilty Habit
September 18: Faith @ Fresh Lemons Quilts
September 19: Amy @ Diary of a Quilter
September 22: Sherri @ A Quilting Life
September 23: Amber @ Gigi’s Thimble
September 24: Lori @ Bee in My Bonnet
September 25: Amanda @ Crazy Mom Quilts
September 26: Lee @ Freshly Pieced – Me!!!
September 27: Corey @ Little Miss Shabby – blog tour wrap-up and giveaway!

Thank you, Corey, for having me on your blog hop today! : )

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Rainbow Mosaic Pillow from Vintage Quilt Revival

This week’s VQR quilt isn’t a quilt. This is my Rainbow Mosaic pillow.

This pillow starts with a relatively simple pinwheel block made entirely from half-square triangles. But this project is in the “Re-Imagined Blocks” section of the book, which is the section in which we make design tweaks to the actual block, as opposed to just changing the settings or colors.

I liked the idea of expanding the design outward—and so of course that meant paper-piecing. : ) It makes for a dynamic design that works perfectly with a rainbow color scheme.

Vintage Quilt Revival is now in stock at Barnes and Noble, Walmart, Fat Quarter Shop, possibly your local quilt shop—basically everywhere except Amazon. We have no idea what their problem is. Too busy developing drones to put our book on the shelves, I guess.

Also, just a friendly paper-piecing PSA: Double-check those printer settings, you guys! Whether you’re working from Vintage Quilt Revival or any other paper-piecing pattern, the default printer setting in Adobe Acrobat is often “Fit To Page.” This will result in your templates printing at 95% size instead of 100%, which, believe it or not, will result in a 12.5″ block being a full inch too small. All you have to do is check the “Actual Size” option in the print dialogue and everything will go much more smoothly. The more you know … : )

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Fat Quarter Gang Pillow Tutorial and Giveaway

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I’ve got another Art Gallery Fat Quarter Gang tutorial over on the Art Gallery blog today! This time I’m showing you how to make a jumbo floor pillow using Art Gallery’s Carnaby Street line. And as always, we’re giving away a bundle of the fabric I used in this project! Just comment here for a chance to win, and make sure you follow Art Gallery on your favorite social media platform in order to qualify. I’ll announce a winner at the end of the week. Happy Monday!

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Little Patchwork Pillowcase

Zakka Style Sew Along

Welcome to this week’s Zakka Sew Along project: the Little Pocket Pillowcase, designed by Meg Spaeth of elsiemarley.com.

Little Pocket Pillowcase

When Lindsey asked me to be part of the Zakka Along, I basically begged her to let me do this project. It has my kids written all over it—they love cute little animals, and they especially love cute little animals that come with their own homes, beds, and/or carrying cases. So, a cute little animal that can be stowed in its own pocket on a cute little pillow? Three-year-old-girl heaven, I’m telling you.

This project is from the book Zakka Style, compiled by Rashida Coleman-Hale, so you’ll need the book to make it. Lindsey of LR Stitched has spent the last several months running a sew-along of all the projects in the book, and this post is part of that series. Click here to catch up on all the posts.

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This pillowcase might be more involved than the average Zakka Style project because of the diamond patchwork, but even so, most sewists should be able to make it in a solid evening or two. I used Essex Linen in Putty by Robert Kaufman for the body of my pillowcase, winter-white felted wool for the bear, and an assortment of pink and green scraps for the patchwork.

The first thing to tackle: The diamonds, which are used for the patchwork pocket, the bear’s tummy, and the patchwork piping. The book provides a template for cutting out the diamonds, but that is a lot of template cutting. I found it much easier to cut the diamonds from strips. Here’s how I did it:

1. Cut strips 1 9/16″ wide. Yes, that’s a crazy measurement. No, my ruler doesn’t have 1/16″ marks. I just lined it up between the 1/2″ mark and the 5/8″ mark. Trust me, it’ll work. : )

Patchwork Pillow diamonds

2. Line up the 60-degree mark on your ruler with the bottom of the strip and trim off the end of the strip on an angle.

Patchwork Pillow diamonds

3. Measure 1 7/8″ over and cut another angled line using the 60-degree mark on your ruler. Ta-da, you have a correctly-sized diamond.

The most challenging part of this project for me was the piping on the pillowcase—I’ve never made piping before, so this was all new to me. The book says to use 1/4″ piping cord, but that seemed awfully chunky to me for such a little pillow, so I went with 1/8″. Even the 1/8″ cord seems wide to me, but that might be because I have no idea how to make piping, so I didn’t get the fabric casing very tight around the cord. LOL.

Little Pocket Pillowcase

The bear was very easy to make and turned out so cute. You’ll want to have a chopstick on hand for turning and for jamming stuffing into those little legs and ears.

C and Barry

As you can see, my daughter really loves this bear—she named him “Barry.” (Well, I think she meant “Beary,” but we won’t quibble over spelling.) All in all, this was such a great project! And based on my daughter’s very positive feedback, I recommend it as a gift for the little girl (or boy!) in your life. : )

As part of the Zakka Sew Along, I’m giving away some variety packs of lovely Aurifil thread, which you probably already know is the bomb. Three winners will get an Aurifil thread pack, and one lucky winner will get an Aurifil thread pack and an Aurifil color card! Just leave a comment on this post for a chance to win.

And finally, don’t forget to check out Lindsey’s post for her Zakka Along giveaway—this week, it’s a fat-quarter bundle of the Le Femme line by Robert Kaufman. Plus, link up your own Little Patchwork Pillowcase for a chance to win even more prizes. Enjoy your pillowcase!

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Summersville Pillow


Hey, look! I made a pillow out of Summersville. And now it’s in Fat Quarterly. It’s a little ray of awesomeness, to wrap up a week that was a bit short on that commodity. : )


I participated in the Designer Challenge for Issue 10 of Fat Quarterly. I don’t think you can go wrong with Summersville, but for this I wanted to do something different than my usual solid white backgrounds (which I know I tend to fall back on a little too easily!). Enter the Essex Linen Yarn Dyes, which I’m just a tiny bit obsessed with right now. Sooooo much texture in these! I did the whole pillow in a double-monkey-wrench block, which is basically a more-condensed churn dash, and set the blocks on point.

Head to the Fat Quarterly website to pick up Issue 10 of Fat Quarterly—this time they’re celebrating all things British. Plus you can check out the details on my pillow and see what everybody else in the Designer Challenge did with their Summersville.

Looking for this fabric? Pink Castle has one color of yarn-dyed linen in stock, plus the entire Summersville line on sale!

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What You Are Making

The Freshly Pieced Flickr group has been up and running for a few months now, and I love seeing what you all have been doing with my patterns and tutorials! If my graphic design career has taught me anything, it’s that creativity doesn’t exist in a vacuum. So the innovative twists that people have put on my designs very often inspire me right back.

Here are just a few of the beautiful things that have popped up in the Flickr group recently. If you’ve made something inspired by a project you saw here on my blog, please join the group and add your photos!

Ribbon Star from Freshly Pieced
UllaBee’s Ribbon Star block really sings in solids

Hexagon Quilt
Very cool hexagon quilt by CraftyJak, using my Hexing Around block

My Supernova Quilt Top
Brooke’s version of my Supernova quilt using Castle Peeps

Mosaic
Mosaic block quilt by Debbie of Esch House Quilts

my new favorite block
One of Ara Jane’s fabulous Arkansas Traveler blocks

Quilted Herringbone Pillow
Sew Crafty Jess‘s Herringbone pillow

Hexagon mug rug closeup
Hand-quilted hexagon mug rug by Sarah of Fairy Face Designs

Kissing Koi 2011
“Kissing Koi”—Patti (Retired to Quilt) made this take on my Kissy Fish pattern

Thanks, everyone, for sharing your creations!

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Harlequin Pillow

You didn’t think I’d miss out on the Accuquilt craze, did you? : )

Yes, along with the rest of blogland, I too have spent the last few weeks playing around with an AccuQuilt GO! Baby Fabric Cutter. I have to admit, prior to using it, I wasn’t convinced of the necessity of this thing. But now that I’ve spent some time getting to know this little Baby, I’m a convert! Especially when it comes to cutting some of the more unusual shapes like circles and diamonds.

The GO! Baby is a lot smaller, more compact, and lightweight than I expected, and it’s amazingly easy to set up and use. I completed a simple four-patch Drunkard’s Path block within 30 minutes of taking the cutter out of the box! In addition to the Drunkard’s Path die, I requested the Tumbler and Diamond dies. All three dies cut cleanly and accurately through multiple layers of fabric in my tests. My only complaint is that threads sometimes get stuck in the crevices of the die, causing some fraying along the fabric’s cut edges. But that’s a minor issue that hasn’t caused any problems with my piecing.

Blocks from all three dies sewed up fairly accurately. I needed to do a little squaring up on my Drunkard’s Path block, but that particular die allows for some trimming space along the edges of the block, so it wasn’t a problem.

And as busy as I’ve been this past week, I even managed to complete a project using my GO! Baby—this harlequin pillow for the bench in my mud room. With my GO! Baby, the whole thing took about three hours from start to finish. Here’s how to make it:

1. For the background diamonds, you’ll need a piece of solid fabric at least 18″ by 24″. (I used a half-yard cut.) Accordian-fold your fabric in 4″ sections across the wider side, so that you end up with a folded section at least six layers thick, and measuring about 4″ by 18″.

2. Lay your folded fabric across the AccuQuilt GO! 4-inch Diamond die. Make sure your fabric covers the edges of the die. (One tip I just read is to outline the die with a Sharpie so that you can see the edges better.)

3. Put your cutting mat over the top of the folded fabric and run the whole thing through the cutter. (Make sure your excess fabric is positioned so that it will go through the cutter last.) I was able to run 10 layers through the cutter without a problem. With that many layers, it did take a little arm strength, but no more than I’m accustomed to as a mother who carries around small children!

4. Ta da! Diamonds.

5. Now take your excess fabric and move that into position on the die. The cut edge from the previous set of diamonds matches up perfectly with the edge of the die for cut #2, as shown above. Turn the die around and run it through—again with the excess fabric at the back. With careful planning and positioning, you should be able to get another complete set of diamonds out of this fabric—that’s 40 diamonds per half-yard, cut in less than 10 minutes! (You’ll only need 24 solid diamonds for this pillow.)

6. And here’s the waste generated after cutting a half-yard worth of diamonds. Nice!

7. In addition to the solid diamonds, you’ll need 18 print diamonds for this project. I cut 4″ wide strips from my prints, layered the strips on top of each other, and rolled them through together.

8. Lay out your diamonds, alternating solids and prints, according to the diagram above.

9. Now sew the diamonds together, working in rows diagonally across the pillow. So, you’ll start by sewing together diamonds A1 and A2 in the diagram above. Line up the diamonds so that the edges intersect 1/4″ from each point (right where your seam will be). This results in little triangles sticking out on each side called dog ears—see them up there? Make sure those dog ears are showing, and that they’re roughly even on each side, or your rows won’t be straight!

Here’s what they look like sewn together.

10. Now sew together the next row, numbers B1, B2, B3, and B4. Continue through the rows—sew together all the C diamonds, all the Ds, etc.—until you have 9 angled rows. Press your seam allowances open, using a dry iron. I press my seam allowances whichever way gives me the most accuracy. That can vary depending on the type of piecing—or at least for me it does. In this case, I think open is best.

11. To sew the rows together, put two rows together, right sides facing. (Some rows are longer than others, so check the diagram to see which seams should line up with each other.) To match up the diamond points, flip down the top layer, as shown above, folding it down at the place your 1/4″ seam will fall. You’re looking for those angled seams to line up at that 1/4″ point, as they do in the photo above.

12. Once you’ve determined the seams are lined up, put a pin through the seam, exactly 1/4″ from the raw edge, as shown.

13. The pin should come out through the seam on the other side as well. (If it doesn’t, just wiggle the pin as it goes through until you hit the right spot.) Then push the pin back through to the front side, as usual. Now you’ve not only marked exactly where your 1/4″ seam should fall, you’ve pinned the two pieces in a way that they should align neatly!

14. Sew directly over your pins. I sometimes remove my pins as I sew, but I found my diamonds lined up better when I left the pins in.

15. When all of your rows are sewn together, you should have something that looks like this. Trim your pillow top down to 18.5″ square by cutting off the excess points at the edges.

16. I quilted my pillow with straight angled lines, 1/4″ from the seams, then finished with a simple envelope closure. (Here’s a good tutorial for finishing a pillow.)

The bottom line: I’ve found the GO! Baby to be a gigantic time-saver. I don’t really see myself using it for squares, strips, or the like, but I can’t imagine cutting more complex shapes without my GO! Baby! I’m also very interested in giving the Half Square Triangle die a try. Although, then again, maybe I shouldn’t, considering the amount of time I just put in making HSTs the hard way for my Warm/Cool quilt!

How about you? Want a GO! Baby of your own? You probably know the drill by now—I’ll be giving away one of these, plus three dies of the winner’s choice, in the next few weeks. So stay tuned!

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Patchwork Pillows

I did my first official Friday Night Sew-In last night. And I have to say, it didn’t feel much different from all my other nights over the last two weeks! THAT’S how much I’ve been trying to do lately. Fortunately, I checked another big project off my list last night. And I think I’m seeing the light at the end of my to-do list the tunnel.

I recently sold my wonky sun pillow (the second one from the right) in the Quilt Hope In store on Etsy. (Click here for my wonky sun tutorial on Fat Quarterly.) And the buyer asked for three more coordinating pillows! I’ve never really been commissioned before, beyond doing things for friends and family, so that was kind of fun. I’m not sure I want to do that kind of thing on a regular basis, since I have enough of my own stuff going on, but it felt pretty good to be a “professional” for one project, anyway.

The buyer asked for three more pillows using the same color scheme, but with the addition of a yellow-green. She also wanted to keep it fairly simple, and without quilting, in order to bring the cost down a little. So these are the pillows I ended up creating during last night’s sewing session. I think the four of them look adorable together. She didn’t mention what type of room she’ll be using them in (child’s bedroom? sun room?), but I could see them working in a lot of different settings.

I hope she likes them. And I enjoyed the Friday Night Sew-In (even though every night has been a sew-in for me lately). I’m sure I’ll be signing up for it again.