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Patchwork Napkins

No lie, napkins have been on my to-do list since I got my first sewing machine (that’s, what, three machines ago now?). And it’s so silly that I haven’t made any yet, because they take No. Time. At all. So when I saw AnneMarie’s adorable Patchwork Napkins PDF pattern, and she asked me to take part in her blog hop, I couldn’t sign up fast enough. : )
This pattern really is easy, quick, and fun. And flexible too, which I love. You can choose either of two napkin sizes: Every Day (the size of a paper napkin), and Formal (more generous). I made the Formal size, because that’s how we roll around here. (Kidding—I just have messy eaters!) The pattern also offers four different patchwork blocks to add to the corner of the napkin.

I did the log cabin blocks on both of my napkins. I grabbed a Kona Solids charm pack that I’d had in my sewing room for ages, pulled charms from two color families, and chopped them up for the blocks. A perfect use of that charm pack!

Even though I think the log cabin blocks are probably the most time-consuming of the four block options in the pattern, it still took me only about two hours to make two napkins. I’m definitely planning to make several more, for a complete set!

The self-binding instructions in the pattern are really clear and easy to follow. I wasn’t very confident about self-binding, since I’ve only tried that method one other time, but sure enough, the binding turned out pretty great!

You could probably even use this pattern with only slight modifications to make placemats. Either way, what a great Mother’s Day gift!
Best of all, the Patchwork Napkins pattern is on sale all week! Pick up your copy right here. Or read more about it on Gen X Quilters.
And keep following along with the Patchwork Napkins blog tour, happening all this week!
Mon., April 28   Diane / From Blank Pages
Tues., April 29   Lee / Freshly Pieced
Wed., April 30   Adrianne / Little Bluebell and Amy / Sukie
Thurs., May 1   Kati / From the Blue Chair
Fri., May 2  Debbie / A Quilter’s Table

Trippy Chevrons

After jumping on board with the Scrappy Trip Along a few weeks ago, I ended up making eight blocks. Then, I guess I just wasn’t feeling the love anymore. They’re fun blocks to make, but I needed to move on to other, more urgent projects. Plus, I have my Warm and Cool quilt that I made in 2011, so I’m not sure I want another one of these scrap-explosion type of quilts around the house.

Trip Along Chevrons

Long story short, I started for looking for ways to use fewer of the Scrappy Tripalong blocks in a quilt. Why not lay them out like chevrons?

Trip Along Chevrons

I took apart three of my blocks so I could turn them into half-blocks. I cut the blocks in half diagonally (adding 1/4″ for seam allowance, of course) and then added a large triangle of the background fabric (Essex Yarn-Dyed Linen in Flax). I like where this layout is going, so I’m rolling with it. There will be two vertical rows of chevrons and the rest of the quilt will be negative space. An entire quilt of these blocks felt too similar to my Warm and Cool quilt, but these bright squares on the linen background feels like perfection to me!

And I’m sure there are many other possibilities with this block as well. A single diagonal line of these blocks across a quilt would be cool. Or maybe some sort of giant asterisk pattern made of out of Scrappy Trip Along blocks? But I liked my chevrons too much to bother trying either of those layouts. : )

Of course, I didn’t have enough yarn-dyed linen for my new plan, and that yarn-dyed Essex is not so easy to get ahold of these days! Most shops seem to be sold out of it. Fortunately, Amanda of A Crafty Fox has it in her Etsy store, Westwood Acres (for the listing, click here). The project had to be put on hold while I waited for it to arrive, but it came in yesterday’s mail, so I’m hoping to get back to this one ASAP! I have other things I really should be doing more than this. Oh, well. Trippy chevrons, here I come!

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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

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.


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!


March Bee Blocks

March bee blocks are in the books! Here they are:

For the Stash Trad bee, Amy of During Quiet Time requested a Winged Square block. She asked us to use a two-colored print for the center, with the half-square triangles on one side in one of the colors, and the HSTs on the other side in the other color—plus Essex Linen in Natural for the background. All such great choices to freshen up and modernize a very traditional block! Amy’s tutorial for this block can be found here.

For my center square, I used one of the cuckoo clock prints from Moda’s Hideaway by Lauren and Jessi Jung. I just love the kitschy Alpine theme of this collection—hello, I’m from Milwaukee. : ) “Kitschy Alpine” is an official home décor theme around here. Hideaway is an older collection but there’s still some available on Etsy—you can pick up the print I used from Pink Castle.
For {Sew} Beautiful, Elizabeth asked us for a “Squaretastic” block entirely in Little Folks voile by Anna Maria Horner. I’ve never pieced in voile before. While it wasn’t as difficult as I thought it would be, it was definitely slippery and different. In fact, I found the most challenging part was cutting it without it slipping around underneath my ruler! And it’s just not quite as crisp and precise as I’m accustomed to with quilting cotton. But other than that, I didn’t mind it, and it’s going to make an amazingly soft quilt!
Finally, for the Milwaukee Modern Quilt Guild bee, our fearless leader Amy asked for this wonky X block from the book Modern Blocks: 99 Quilt Blocks from Your Favorite Designers. The note included with Amy’s instructions said, “For all the planners in the group, welcome to my chaos.” LOL. But it’s a bright, fun, scrappy chaos, isn’t it? : ) I screwed up that top X a little—I forgot to trim the strip to make it narrower and more wonky. Then I tried to go back and do it later, because it was looking too fat compared to the other Xs, but of course, that meant that patch was no longer quite 4″! Argh. But I think it turned out okay in the end, and other than that little mishap, this was a fun and easy block to do.