Sunday, November 15, 2015

Quilted Body Pillow Cover

I'm a bit behind (so, what's new about that?), but I finally have my pictures to complete my tutorial on how to make a quilted cover for your body pillow!  Thanks for all the lovely comments on my Island Batik project!  In order to tell you how to create your own I decided to make a second version using some of my orphan blocks in order to show you how I did it.

The first thing I did was to choose three blocks that looked nice together.  You could make three matching blocks, of course.  Your blocks need to be 12 1/2 inches (unfinished size)

I ended up rotating the middle block so the white sections went across instead of up and down.  The next step is to choose a background fabric. You will need about 5/8 of a yard of a non directional print.  I auditioned several.  I had a pretty rose print, but the color was too dull for these blocks.  I also tried yellow -
I thought that it was too similar to the yellow in the center block, so looked at a blue print next:

Much better!  You will need to cut one 18 1/2 inch square and two 9 1/2 inch squares.  If you don't have a ruler to measure a large square, you can combine two rulers to get the finished size.  I used my 12 1/2 inch square ruler and my 6 x 12 ruler to do the cutting - just go slow and make sure you place your hand on the ruler next to the cut and you will do fine!

This large square needs to be cut in half diagonally both ways.  Your 24 inch ruler will be too short to go all the way across, so what I do is to use the 45 degree line to make sure my ruler is at the right position to start, cut about 6 inches, then move the ruler to the far corner and line up with the cut I began at the bottom.  You could also press the square in half both ways and cut along your pressed lines.  Cutting accurate pieces really makes your project go together better!

The two 9 1/2 inch squares will both need to be cut in half in only one direction.  These will be the small triangles on the two ends.
Sew these to the two outside squares, finger press to the find the center of the side of your block and the long side of the triangles.  match these up and sew together.

After sewing this, add the long triangles in the same way, but sewing the short side of the triangle to the upper right side of the end block.
 Add a large triangle to the upper right and bottom left of the center block, and the last one to the bottom left of the last block.
Now you will only have to sew two long seams, matching the block corners.
Time for some quilting!  Layer your backing fabric (this can be something you don't like at all because it won't show in the finished pillow), batting and pillow top.  Quilt as desired.  I did swirls on mine.
Trim the edges so they are even.  My pillow top finished at about 17 1/2 inches by 52 inches.  The body pillow measured about 18 by 52, so the top was a good size for it.  I usually like my pillow covers to fit a bit on the tight side so that they are well filled.

For the backing you will need about 3/4 yard of fabric.  I cut two pieces 17 1/2 inches by the length of the fabric.  The easy way to do this is to cut the two selvages off, then cut 17 1/2 from the selvage.  Square up the two ends of each piece, then hem one edge of each piece.  I fold down 2 inches, then press the end to the fold to make a 1 inch doubled hem.

Lay your quilted section right side down, and pin one of the backing pieces right side up on top.
Add the other backing piece on the other side overlapping the first one:
Cut 4 strips of binding your preferred width and prepare it for sewing.  Add the binding in your usual method.  I like to sew mine to the back side, then turn it over and machine stitch it to the front.
Now all you need to do is insert your pillow!  It's a bit of a battle, but be patient and gentle and you can get it all in where it needs to go.

And there you go!  You could do the same thing and add two regular pillows for a bolster.  They would be easier to insert as well ;)

In summary – to make this pillow you will need:

Three pieced or appliqued quilt blocks, 12 ½ inches unfinished
5/8 yard fabric for the setting triangles
¾ yard fabric for the backing
1/3 yard for the binding

One 18 x 52 inch body pillow or

Two 20 x 26 inch regular pillows

Fabric for lining the quilted top and batting.

If you would like to download a printable pfd of this pattern, it is available here in my Craftsy pattern shop.

Thanks for encouraging me to create this tutorial!  Enjoy!

Thinking of Paris

Thoughts of Paris have weighed heavily on me the last two days.  Normally I smile to see the Eiffel tower pop up in my newsfeed on facebook, but after the tragedy there, it just makes me feel sad.  Ironically I have been working on finishing this quilt up this week:

Paris, you are in my heart and prayers.

Sunday, November 01, 2015

You Can Quilt Blog Hop and Giveaway!

Welcome!  Today is my turn to share about a chapter in the book "You Can Quilt! Building Skills for Beginners".  I was excited to be a part of this hop because I am really passionate about helping beginning quilters learn the basics.  This book covers a lot of great topics and would be a perfect start for a new quilter or for anyone who wants to brush up on their basic techniques.   I even learned a thing or two, and I've been quilting for a long time!

My chapter was Number 11 - Inset Seams.  Also known as the dreaded Y-seam.  I thought it was neat that one of the blocks used English Paper piecing which is a great way of working with those inset seams as well as adding a great hand piecing technique that is really popular right now!  The instructions were easy to follow and I love how my block came out!

I learned a new way to use freezer paper for the applique as well - and it worked better than the way I usually do it!  I guess you can teach an old dog a new trick from time to time :)

The second block was a Mitered Frame Block.  Again the instructions and illustrations were great, and my block came out the perfect size with no puckers or waves at all!  You need to know how to do this technique - mitered borders on a quilt are such a classic touch.  Once you get the hang of it you can totally do these in a flash.

The final block was a bit more involved, but once again, easy to make by following the directions in the book. It is a Mini Lone Star block.   It also came out the perfect size as and looks great!
I really like how the colors flow in this block!  The fabrics I used in my blocks are part of a new collection by Island Batik - Caribbean Splash.  Doesn't it look like a sunny tropical beach?  Love it!  The setting triangles are one of their Screen Prints.

Guess what I made out of my blocks?
I'll bet you guessed it's a table runner, right?  Well, you guessed wrong!

It's a pillow cover!

I've been wanting to cover a body pillow my daughter had to use for a bolster on the guest room bed, and thought these blocks would be perfect for that.  And I was right!

I just added two overlapping panels to the back before I sewed the binding on, making an envelope back so I could put the pillow inside.  I'll try to get a better picture tomorrow - the daylight was gone before I knew it today, thanks to the end of daylight savings time last night!

Now for the fun part! 

At the end of the blog hop we will randomly choose 4 winners. Each winner will receive a copy of You Can Quilt! and a fat eighth Island Batik fabric bundle. See the Rafflecopter below and enter the giveaway!

Unfortunately, this giveaway is only open to US residents. If you don't win or if you can not wait you can purchase a copy of You Can Quilt! you can get a signed copy from Marlene it is also available through AQS (as a hard copy or e-book) and Amazon

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Many thanks to AQS and Island Batik for sponsoring this giveaway!  Here is the list of participants as well so you can see their posts if you are just now catching up:

Oct. 9 – Ch. 1. Basics - Leila Gardunia
Oct. 12 – Ch. 2. HST - Tammy Silvers
Oct 14 – Ch 3. QST - Connie Kresin Campbell
Oct. 16 – Ch 4. Flying Geese - Maryellen McAuliffe
Oct 19 -- Ch. 5. Wonky - Christine McCrann Martinez
Oct. 21 – Ch. 6. Improvisation - Connie Kauffman
Oct. 23 -- Ch. 7. Foundation Paper Piecing - Joan Kawano
Oct. 26 – Ch. 8. Curves - Marlene Oddie
Oct. 28 - Ch 9. One-Patch Blocks - Bea Lee
Oct. 30 – Ch. 10. Applique - Barbara Gaddy
Nov. 2 – Ch. 11. Inset Seams - Pamela Boatright
Nov. 4 – Ch. 12. Challenge Blocks - Linda Stewart Pearl
Nov. 6 – Ch. 13. finishing – Marlene

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Doing Double Duty - Two Full Days at the Quilt Shop

While the boss is having fun and spending way too much money at Fall Quilt Market, I am manning the shop.  After two full days there, I am ready for a day at home sewing, let me tell you (yes, we know quilting is addictive because of the withdrawal symptoms when you don't get to!!!).

Not too much exciting things to note from working.  No new fabric arrived, but I did get some pictures of some of the new fabrics from earlier in the month.  One of my favorites is this line from Jason Yenter - Celestial!

We also got in some gorgeous roses on black:

We buy a lot of nice border strips like this to make the Easy Striped Table Runner pattern, which is definitely the number one selling pattern in the shop!

I worked on the shop newsletter, cut a bunch of fat quarters, waited on customers and tended to business in general.  I did spend some time on George and finished quilting a shop sample that another employee pieced.  I forget how nice of a machine it is and how easy it is to quilt with all that space.  We do rent George out in the shop for 15.00 an hour.  If you can quilt on your home machine, you can quilt on George easily!

I also used the shop machine (a Janome Gem gold) to sew the binding and realized how much I love my Juki!  The 1/4 inch foot makes it a breeze to sew bindings by machine, and there was a bit of struggling to get that 1/4 inch seam on the Gem.  It's a nice little machine, but I sure do prefer sewing on my Juki!

I didn't come home with any new projects, whew!  I have plenty pending, so need to get busy and sew up those samples and write some patterns - I'm a bit behind in that area for sure.  So, I will keep it short and sweet now and get busy - we are going to have a walk this morning, then it's off to the sewing room to do some piecing and quilting!

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Working Wednesday

Worked my usual half day at Threads That Bind today - with a twist!  I worked in the afternoon instead of the morning.  There was a wool embroidery class that my boss wanted to participate in, so she had me change up from my regular hours.  So this morning, I did some sewing at home, hemmed a pair of pants, and repaired two swimming suits.  I cut out batting for the 6 cat quilts I am working on, and got the prizes for my giveaway ready to mail (congrats to Barbara and Judy, by the way!)  I also sold my red and black music quilt this week, so had to get that ready to mail as well.

When I got to work today, I had a pile of fabric to put away - then we talked about what needs to be done while Sharan is away at Quilt Market.  I have kits to cut, and a newsletter to work on, so I think I have enough to do for the weekend!  I checked in some new fabric - Hoffman Dream Blossom:

I am going to make a sample with the free pattern download.  The quilt is so pretty, and it looks really fast and easy to make!
I did a little computer research looking for a special needle case the teacher of today's workshop showed us.  They are Better Buddy bags by Namaste Inc.  We hope we will soon be able to carry these in the shop.  What a beautiful little luxery for taking your tools with you!  They also have a larger version, as well as other beautiful bags and cases! I think these would make wonderful gifts.

I got a call from the interior designer I work with and scheduled two sets of curtain panels for December.  I think I am pretty much booked up for the rest of the year at this point, so will probably not be taking on any more custom sewing until January.  I will fit in some alterations as I have time, but need to focus on finishing up the work I am already committed to.  I am getting better at prioritizing and protecting my schedule!  Plus I realize that I want to have some down time in December to send with my family.

After I got home, I hemmed a pair of jeans and wrapped it up for the night.  I plan on doing some quilting tomorrow since I work all day Friday and Saturday.  The next couple of evenings are booked, so I am enjoying a little computer time this evening while I can!

Thanks for reading along - I do enjoy sharing what I am doing, and am so glad you take the time to read my blog :)

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Why I prefer sewing over gluing - Mini Design Boards.

One of the projects I decided to work on was these cute Mini Design Boards:

You can find the tutorial about how to make them here.  And if you want to spare yourself some burned fingers, messy hot glue all over the place and the trouble of going to the store to get the foam core board you can buy them at the Fat Quarter shop!  It took me about half an hour of my time to make one on average.  I got hot glue all over my table (my bad, should have put down some paper), burned my fingers and knuckles, and actually glued the trim on one inside out.  I remembered why I hate's so darn permanent.  If I sew a patch inside out, I can rip it out and fix it.  Once it's glued, you're done.  No re-do's allowed.  You can barely tell because of the zig-zag stitching, but I will always know I messed it up :(

If I figure out the cost of my time and supplies, I come out ahead just buying them, even with postage.  Before I started this project I thought I might make some for sale at the shop, but I know I am not going to do that now - I might make a few as gifts, but you know they would have to be very good friends!  I do love them though, and I know they will be very useful.

I also got started on some blocks for the first of 6 kitty quilts!  I love it!  I'll be working on this more today, and working out plans for different blocks for the other quilts as well.  Hope you are having a good weekend!  I am glad I took this weekend as a sew-in, even though I haven't been quite as productive as I had hoped.  I feel like I need to do this more often to tell you the truth, It's given me a fresh perspective on my projects and left me refreshed and ready to do more creating!

Friday, October 16, 2015

Quilt-In Giveaway!

I had a good day of quilting today - organized my sewing room a bit and actually got my CityScape lap quilt totally quilted and bound!  Woohoo!  That's one off the list.  Will try to get some pictures tomorrow.  The weather may not cooperate, but I will try.

Today did have a couple interuptions, had to make a run to the store (but I picked up supplies for one of the projects on my list!) and had an activity this evening I had to go to.  But now I should be all set for the rest of the weekend.  I am excited to work on some new things - will have to charge up the kindle for some movie watching as well, love that Amazon Prime subscription!

Tomorrow I am going to start out with making some quilt blocks.  I have been thinking Puss In The Corner, but when I went to find the block pattern, it wasn't what I had in my mind.  I did an internet search and came up with a version of the block that I like better, and plan to use it for my blocks:

I am planning to try it on point and see what it looks like!  I think it will be a fun block to make.

I also came up with a couple of doorprizes for a giveaway.  One giveaway will be for my Mini Selvage Bin pattern plus a bundle of selvages.  You'll be hooked once you make this!

The other will be a Mystery bundle of scraps from my sewing room - I'll give you a hint later tomorrow :)  To enter, leave a comment on my blog telling me what you are working on, and go take a visit to my facebook page.  I hope you will like my page while you are there - I am almost at 1000 likes!  Wow - I never thought I would have that many!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Don't forget to go visit Maryellen's blog for the You Can Quilt Blog Hop!  

Quilt-In 2016

Have you ever gone to a quilting retreat?  I haven't yet, but it is definitely something on my bucket list!  I decided that this weekend I would hold my own personal "Quilt-In".  For the next three days I am going to have a good time quilting and enjoying myself right here in my own home, and I invite you to join me!  Gather up a project (or 2 or 3) and make your own fun sewing event.  I'll be sharing progress reports on my facebook page and instagram as well as here on my blog!  Since I am so close to 1000 likes on my Facebook page, there will be a prize for reaching that mark, as well as some other door prizes - you can check here tomorrow for those!

Since I am doing this on the fly, I'm not sure what else will happen, but there will definitely be lots of quilting going on!

I am getting organized this morning using these great quilt project tracking sheets:

You can download them free on Craftsy!  Quilt & Craft Project Tracker

I've started my list already!
Yes, I'm a crazy woman who likes to make her lists in ink!  That way I can't cheat and erase things :)

What are you working on this weekend?

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Barn Quilt for Oktoberfest 101

I thought it might be fun to start keeping a record of what I do on Wednesdays when I work at the local quilt shop.  My duties are varied, and I keep busy with all kinds of projects there. One of the things I do at Threads That Bind is create blocks for the quilt runs we participate in.  This year the coastal shops are doing a promotion they are calling Oktoberfest 101.  If you stop by any of the shops on the Oregon Coast you can enter to win a $50.00 visa gift card and pick up a free Quilt Barn pattern.  Here is the sample for the block I designed:

I like how it turned out, and it was fun to quilt it!  We used the pieces of leftover sky fabric from our row by row kits for the kits...nothing goes to waste if we can help it.

Today I started cutting for some kits for this quilt:

We are out of solid white fabric right now, so I have to wait to assemble the kits until we get that in.  I just realized that I haven't written a post on the finish for this yet, so I guess that will go on my list as well!

I also did inventory on the remaining row by row kits and counted the orders we have right now.  Looks like I need to cut about 100 of those for when we are able to send them out in November, that should keep me busy while the boss goes to quilt market next week! 

I also helped pull fabrics for a shop sample of a really cute quilt with gold fish - we had to choose 6 orange and gold batiks and 7 blue ones.  I enjoy doing that!  It's always fun to start a new project, and sometimes it's even more fun when you don't have to do the sewing - choosing fabric is always one of my favorite jobs.  

Other than that, I put fabric away, waited on a few customers and helped with some computer tasks.  That's a lot of work for just four hours, so it went by very quickly!  I'll be working extra days next week while the boss is gone, so I'll have more quilt shop posts - I think it will be fun to take you behind the scenes in my work there.

I also wanted to share about the Blog Hop I am currently a part of!  This is for a great new book co-written by one of my Island Batik Ambassador group  - You Can Quilt!  This is a terrific book, ideal for the beginner quilter.  Make sure you check out the various posts and enter to win some terrific prizes, including several copies of the book and fabric!

Here is the line-up:
Bloggers are by Date, Chapter, Name, Blog

Oct. 9 – Ch. 1. Basics - Leila Gardunia - co-author -

Oct. 12 – Ch. 2. HST - Tammy Silvers

Oct 14 – Ch 3. QST - Connie Kresin Campbell

Oct. 16 – Ch 4. Flying Geese - Maryellen McAuliffe

Oct 19 -- Ch. 5. Wonky - Christine McCrann Martinez

Oct. 21 – Ch. 6. Improvisation - Connie Kauffman

Oct. 23 -- Ch. 7. Foundation Paper Piecing - Joan Kawano

Oct. 26 – Ch. 8. Curves - me! - Marlene Oddie

Oct. 28 -  Ch 9. One-Patch Blocks - Bea Lee

Oct. 30 – Ch. 10. Applique - Barbara Gaddy 

Nov. 2 – Ch. 11. Inset Seams - Pamela Boatright

Nov. 4 – Ch. 12. Challenge Blocks - Linda Stewart Pearl http://

Nov. 6 – Ch. 13.  Finishing – Marlene of Kissed Quilts will share a variety of ways to finish off your blocks that aren't covered in the book.

It's a ways until my post, thank goodness because I need to work on my blocks!  Today is Connie's turn and she made her blocks into a lovely table runner.  I'm not sure what I am going to do yet, but I know it's going to be lovely in the pretty Island Batik fabrics I have!