Pin Cushion Dish

I grew up reading the Little House on the Prairie books. I’m so excited that Andover has come out with a line of fabric celebrating this fun series of books. They sent me some of their fabric to play with, so I made this fun Pin Cushion Dish. The dish is nice and deep so that not only can you hold pins and needles in the pin cushion, but the dish will also keep scissors, thimbles, and more corralled.

make this simple English Paper Pieced pincushion dish to hold your sewing notions

You’ll need:
Ramekin (these were 2 for $3 at Target)
LHOTP Fabric (at least 4 designs)
1.5″ Dritz English Paper Piecing Shapes
Fabric glue stick
Needle & Thread
Sewing Machine
Crushed Walnut Shells
Polyfil

supplies for pin cushion

Cut your fabrics with a 3/8″ seam allowance.

cut fabric

Baste the fabric onto the hexagons. I like to glue baste.

glue baste edges

Stitch the hexagons together.

stitch hexagons together

You’ll want to make a flower shape with 7 hexagons.

finished flower

Press well, front and back.

press-back

press-the-hexies

Remove the papers.

peel out papers

Press again, so seams are flat. Place onto a background fabric, and topstitch the two layers together. This is like quilting, but with no batting between the layers.

place-on-backing-fabricstitch-to-quilt

Draw a circle, and trim.

draw-circle

cut-into-circle

Trace the ramekin on spare fabric, and cut.

trace-ramekin

Pin the two together. ease the excess seam evenly all around.

pin-in-sections

pinned-pieces

Stitch down, using a 1/4″ seam allowance.

cut-hole-in-bottom

Fill with crushed walnut shells. Then add a little bit of Polyfil to vover the hole.This helps to have less walnut shells fall out.

stuff-with-polyfil

Stitch the hole closed, then tuck into the ramekin.

LHOTP-pin-cushion

Your pin cushion is complete!

finished-pin-cushion-dish

Stardust Quilt (Free Pattern)

This stardust quilt was made using Fat Quarters of Art Gallery Fabrics’ line “Playing Pop”, which can be found in stores now. I used the lighter prints as low(er) volume background prints, and the darker prints in to make the stars.

Free Quilt Pattern - "Stardust"Stardust Quilt: finishes 48″x48″

It makes for a fun, scrappy background quilt that looks a little more fun and planned!

For this quilt, you’ll need:

4 FQs dark or med/dark prints (stars)
5-7 FQs med/light prints
8-10 FQs light prints
Backing, Batting & Binding

Cut:
From *each* of the dark or med/dark prints:
8 – 4 7/8″ squares (cut in half diagonally)
1 – 4 1/2″ square

From the med/light prints (total from all):
45 – 4 7/8″ squares (cut in half diagonally)
14 – 4 1/2″ squares

From the light prints:
18 – 6 3/16″ squares
36 – 2.5″ x 8.5″ rectangles
36 – 2.5″ x 4.5″ rectangles

You can lay out the fabrics to make your design:

stardust quilt layout

There are 2 alternating blocks that make up the design. A diamond-in-a-square and a square-in-a-square. Stitch these units together, then stitch them all together to make the quilt.

If you want your quilt to look very intentionally scrappy, you can make the four square-in-square blocks using the dark fabrics for the center, then the 14 diamond-in-a-square blocks using 2 of the dark triangles on each, then make the remaining blocks using the remaining fabrics, and then stitch it together. Depending on what kind of quilter you are (and how much design wall space you have available), you can make this quilt using whichever method you like!

unquilted stardust quilt

Quilt as desired.

stardust quilt front

I pieced my back from the scraps and leftover Fat Quarters in the bundle. You can also see my quilting here. I used my walking foot to stitch-in-the-ditch around the stars, then did dense swirls in the space around them.

back of stardust quilt

Such a fun quilt to whip together!

photo of Stardust quilt

Polka Dot Double Cuddle Quilt

I was sent some of Shannon’s awesome cuddle fabrics to stitch up something snuggly. Included in the fabrics were cuddle cakes – 10″ squares of assorted colored fabrics – all deliciously furry! I used some of the cuddle cake pieces in making the Fairfield Block of the Month, but that left me with some unused squares. These were easily whipped up into this Polka Dot Double Cuddle Quilt!

Polka Dot Double Cuddle Quilt

It is double cuddle – both the front and the back are made with snuggly Shannon Cuddle fabric. Perfect baby quilt, or snuggle quilt for a child!

To make the quilt, you’ll need:
6-10 Cuddle Cake squares
Paper-backed Fusible Applique
Round objects – bowls, cups, lids, etc.
1 yard solid color cuddle
1 yard printed cuddle
Crib-sized batting of your choice
1/4 yard cotton fabric (for binding)

supplies for cuddle quilt

Start by fusing the paper-backed fusible onto the back of the cuddle cake squares. Trace circles onto the back in various sizes and cut out.

Fuse the circles onto the front of the solid cuddle. Don’t leave the iron in one place for more than 2 seconds to avoid damaging the cuddle fabric.

Don’t applique them down yet!

Baste the layers of the quilt – the top, batting and bottom. Use whatever basting method you prefer – I like spray basting.

Using your walking foot, stitch around the edges of the circles – this secures the appliques and quilts the quilt all at the same time!

You can add additional quilting if you like, or if your quilting is too far apart.

Trim and square up, and use the woven cotton fabric to bind the quilt.

 

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How to Machine Bind a Quilt

Adding binding is the final step in making a quilt. I love the look of binding that has been hand-stitched down. But that takes a lot of time – four hours or more to hand-bind a quilt. And, although that isn’t a lot of time when you consider the overall time it takes to make a quilt, if I’m up against a deadline, or making a quick and easy quilt, I turn to machine binding. It takes a quarter of the time (or less), and although it doesn’t look quite as nice as hand binding, it is possible to make it look very professional.

You can use whatever size binding you like. I like to cut mine into 2″ strips.

Stitch the strips together, on the bias, to make one long strip. Press open these seams, then press the entire length of the binding in half, making it 1″ wide. Stitch the raw edge of the pressed strip against the raw edge of the trimmed quilt top, with a 1/4″ seam. The binding goes on top of the quilt, it will get stitched to the back later.

stitch down binding

When you get to a corner, fold the binding away from the quilt to make a 45 degree angle.

fold away corner of binding

Then fold the binding back to the quilt, so it lines up with the next side of the quilt.

fold corner of binding

When you get to the corner, fold down the triangle so it is out of the way. You do NOT want to stitch this triangle down.

tuck corner as you stitch

Stitch up to the fold. I like to go backward and forward a couple stitches right at the corner, just to make it extra secure.

stitch to corner

Lift up your needle and presser foot, fold the triangle flap back, and start stitching again at the fold. I like to go back and forth a couple stitches here, as well.

move fold

Continue all the way around the quilt. When you all the way around, back to the beginning, secure the two ends together. Then it is time to stitch it over the edge, to the back. Flip the quilt over, and pull the binding around to the back. Stitch right at the edge of the binding, and just to the left of your stitching line. This keeps your stitching off the binding on the front. The closer you get to that stitching line, the neater the front of your quilt will look. If you use a thread that matches your quilting, and it will blend right in to the front.

fold over binding and stitch

When you get to a corner, fold the binding into a point.

fold corner

Before you stitch the corner, flip the point up. I find that pinning moves the fabric too much, so I hold the edge down by pressing a pin down on top of the binding. This slips under the presser foot, and I can move it out of the way before the needle comes down.

stitch corner in place

Stitch to the corner, and with the needle down, pivot.

pivot at corner

Keep stitching this way, all the way around the quilt.

stitch down length of binding

 

 

 

You can see what it looks like from the front – nice and neat!

Stitched on binding from the front

 

 

How to fix a quilt mistake (after it has been quilted!)

Last spring, I made a quilt for Art Gallery Fabrics to hang in their booth at market. They sent me the fabric, and a computer-generated image of what the quilt should look like. And I went to work cutting, and piecing, and laying out, and more piecing, and quilting… until it was all done. After I had the quilt all put together and quilted, I laid it out on my living room floor only to discover… I’d made a mistake. I had placed the wrong block in one of the spots. And, it wasn’t out on an edge of the quilt where I might be able to pick everything out, replace the block, and then stitch everything back together. It was in the middle.

wrong fabric in place

After painstakingly laying out all the blocks, making sure everything was EXACTLY right, checking, re-checking, and double-checking at every point, I was so frustrated to have a mistake slip through! If the quilt was for my own bed, I might have left it. Things that are handmade are not perfect. That is part of the joy of handmade. The imperfections that show that real human hands put it together.

But this quilt was for the fabric manufacturer, and to hang in their booth at a Fabric Tradeshow. I wasn’t willing to let this big of an imperfection slide. So, I decided to fix the mistake.

All I needed was freezer paper, the correct fabric, a needle and thread, and my iron.

I started by tracing the triangle that was the wrong fabric onto the freezer paper.

trace incorrect piece

I cut it out, then fused it to the back of the correct fabric. I then cut about 1/4″ around the freezer paper, and ironed this in towards the freezer paper to make an applique.

remove freezer paper

I pinned the patch into place, lining up the edges of the patch with the edges of the fabric underneath.

pin down the patch

Three quick stitches in place underneath to anchor my thread before beginning…

anchor the thread

Using an invisible stitch (also called a ladder stitch), I stitched the applique piece over the incorrect fabric.

stitch down the patch

keep stitching around the patch

Once the patch was in place, I needed to quilt it. Luckily, I used a very simple straight-line quilting on this quilt, so I just needed to continue the lines across the patch.

quilt on top of patch

Yay! Quilted in place… you’d never know that there is a different fabric hiding under there…

quilted over patch

The last step was to bury my quilting threads. With both threads pulled to the top, I tied a double knot, and buried the thread and knot into the batting.

bury the threads

Although I had to hand sew on the patch, it was so much faster than tearing out all my quilting and piecing to reach the patch, replace the fabric, then re-piece and quilt everything. The extra layer of fabric doesn’t add much bulk, and isn’t at all noticeable in the finished quilt. And aren’t these Art Gallery Fabrics stunning? I just love this quilt!

fixed quilt

How to Square up Quilt Blocks

When quilting, squaring up quilt blocks is important. Squaring up blocks helps to keep the entire quilt square. The finished quilt top will lie more flat. The entire quilt will be more even. But squaring up blocks is a pain. It takes time, and sometimes it seems like maybe shaving off all those slivers can’t be as important as getting the project done NOW. But it is. Squaring up is such an essential part of having your points line up.

Here, I’m going to show you how to square up Half Square Triangle, or HST block. Because HSTs are stitched on the bias (an angle across the fibers, instead of parallel with the fibers), it can make the blocks stretch out of whack when you press the block open. I’m trimming these HSTs to 3″. I could use a 3″ ruler, but instead I use a square ruler that is larger than 3″, and just keep an eye on my 3″ mark.

trim block

I also line up the angle of the block with the 45 degree line at an angle across the ruler. This will help all the points line up. I make sure that the block is inside the 3″ mark, then trim off the excess on the two sides, where the block hangs out past the ruler.

The block gets rotated 18o degrees, and then I line up the 45 degree line, as well as the 3″ line both horizontal and vertical. Trim off the excess on two sides, and the block has been squared up!

trim other side

Repeat – over and over and over again… until all your blocks are squared up!

trim half square triangle blocks

That scrappy pile on the right… that’s a whole scrappy pile towards accuracy.

Quilted Christmas Stocking

Looking to make new Christmas Stockings this year? Or just want a fun way to practice your free-motion quilting? These quilted Christmas Stockings are easy to make and fun to quilt!

Fairfield Quilted Holiday Stocking

Start by grabbing your fabric, stocking pattern, chalk pencil, basting spray, backing fabric (one for the back of the quilting, one for the lining of the stocking), ribbon for hanging, and of course your Fairfield Batting.

supplies for quilted stocking

Baste your layers – the batting between a layer of red fabric and a layer of backing fabric (I used muslin).

Trace the stocking on the fabric. Flip the template and trace again, a mirror image.

trace stocking

Quilt both sides of the stocking – but make sure to go beyond the lines.

quilted layers

Cut out the stockings, and cut two lining pieces.

cut lining pieces

Stitch the top of a lining piece to the top of a quilted piece. Repeat with the other set.

stitch tops

Lay the layers on top of each other, right sides together as shown in the above image, then stitch all the way around, leaving a 4″ hole for turning.

Turn right side out through the hole, stitch the hole closed, and tuck the lining into the socking.

tuck in lining

Stitch on a loop of ribbon to hang.

attach ribbon loop

Now make more for the whole family!

tie up holiday stocking

Mini Hexie Bracelet

Last year, I made some hexagon bracelets using scrap fabric and English Paper Pieced Hexagons. I’ve gotten tons of compliments on it, and I love my hexie bracelets… but the hexies are a little big. And the bracelet itself is a little too big in circumference for my tiny wrists, and there isn’t really a way to make it just a little bit smaller… so I decided to make a similar bracelet with smaller hexagons… and I love it!

I made this project as part of the 99+ Handmade Holiday Gift Ideas series that Niki from 365 Days of Crafts and I are putting on. Scroll down to the bottom of this post for more fun Handmade Holiday Gift Ideas.

Mini Hexie Bracelet

To make the bracelet you’ll need:
Hexagons cut from heavy-weight interfacing
Scrap fabric
Needle and thread
Glue Stick
Scissors

I cut out my hexies using the Silhouette machine – you can use this mini hexie cut file to cut them out. If you’re cutting them out by hand, cut out hexagons with a 3/4″ side. Glue the hexagons to your scraps of fabric using the glue stick.

glue hexies

Cut out the hexagons, leaving about 1/4″ around all sides.

trim hexies

Using the glue stick to secure, fold in the sides.

glue edges

glued hexies

Pair two mini hexies, right sides together, and whip stitch along the edge to secure.

stitch two together

Add another hexagon to one side.

add third hexie

Then give the new hexie a partner.

stitch sets

Keep adding hexagons so you have one long strip of them, and each one has a partner hanging off to one side (or the other). Ten hexies in a row is the perfect size for me. For big-wristed folks, add another hexagon.

create strip

Curl the strip into a circle, then stitch the ends together.

stitch into circle

Then flip each of the hexagons in, and stitch the edges down. Hide the stitches by using a ladder stitch.

fold down hexagons

That’s it! Your bracelet is all done. Keep this one, and make another one as a gift…

finished mini hexie bracelet

make mini hexie bracelet

Fuzzy Clutch

Holiday season means Holiday parties. And that means holiday outfits. And Holiday accessories. I always get ready for a party, then realize that I don’t have the right bag. So I whipped up this Fuzzy Holiday Clutch. Perfect for taking to a holiday party – and also awesome for giving as a gift. This holiday clutch is the perfect gift to give to a friend this holiday season – with or without a gift card inside!

I made this fun holiday gift idea (or gift for yourself!) as part of the 99+ Handmade Holiday Gifts series that I’ve been hosting this week with Niki from 365 Days of Crafts. Scroll down to the bottom to see all the fun handmade holiday gift ideas that we, along with a bunch of crafty friends, came up with.

Fuzzy Clutch

I used a fun fuzzy fabric to make this clutch, but you can use whatever you want. If you use a less sturdy fabric, make sure to add a stiff fusible interfacing to give your clutch plenty of body.

Fat Quarter Fuzzy Fabric
Fat Quarter Lining Fabric (if you go with something bright, it will be easier to find your stuff inside)
Wide ribbon
Iron & Ironing board
Pins
Fusible Fleece
Sewing Machine
Closure of your choice (optional)

supplies for clutch

Start by cutting your fuzzy fabric, lining fabric, and fusible fleece, all 14″x17″. Cut your ribbon 17″ as well.

 

cut ribbon

Stitch the ribbon in place, on both sides, about 5″ from one side of the furry fabric.

Iron the fusible fleece to the wrong side of the lining fabric. Pin up 6″ of the lining fabric, right sides together, so that the 17″ sides become 11″. Pin, then stitch.

pin up bottom

Repeat with the fuzzy side.

Box all four corners by measuring in 1″ from the bottom corners, marking, stitching, then cutting off the excess.

box corners

Trim in the corners on both sides of the flap, both the lining and furry pieces. Measure in 2″ from the top, down to where the bottom is folded up, then cut.

trim corners

Turn the fuzzy piece right side out, then tuck into the lining so they are right sides together. Pin around the top, leaving a 4″ opening to turn through.

pin layers

Stitch all the way around, then turn through the opening. adjust the lining, then pin into place.

pin top and lining

Edge-stitch all the way around to secure the lining in place. Then draw a line from one edge of the flap to the other, and top stitch so that the flap closes easily.

stitch flap fold

Add a closure if you like, and your purse is all done!

inside of furry clutch

Simple to make, right? Great to give as a gift… or check out some of these other great handmade gift ideas:

 

Pieced and Quilted Pillow

Want a fun way to use your scraps? Or maybe you have a friend who admired a quilt you made, that you don’t want to give up… but you’d be happy to make them a simple project using the scraps from the quilt. This quilted pillow is perfect. It doesn’t take too much time to whip up a scrappy quilted pillow. And if you use bigger scraps, it takes even less time!

I created this project as part of a whole week of fun Handmade Gift ideas that Niki from 365 Days of Crafts and I have put together, along with a bunch of our crafty friends. Scroll down to the bottom of this post to check out all the awesome handmade gift ideas!

scrappy quilted pillow

Start by gathering your scraps. mine are all in strips already. If yours aren’t, cut them into strips. They don’t have to be all the same size – in fact, it looks more scrappy if they aren’t.

You’ll also need a fat quarter for the backing, Fusible Fleece, and an 18″ pillow form.

fabric for pillow

 

I divided my strips into piles based on length. Long, medium, and short. Then stitched each of the piles together into wide rows.

stitch strips

Press the rows, then trim the edges.

trim sections

Stitch the sections together, then press.

press seams

Roughly trim – basically trimming off any long edges, you’ll do a final trimming after quilting – then press to fusible fleece.

add to fusible fleece

Quilt as desired! I chose a variety of loops, swirls, lines, and pebbles.

quilt pieced top

Once you’re all quilted, trim to 18.5″x18.5″.

quilted front

 

Cut the Fat Quarter to two pieces – each 18″ by 11-ish”. Hem one 18″ side of each, place right-sides down on top of the quilted front, with the hemmed pieces towards the center, pin in place, then stitch all the way around. If you need more detail, you can check out the Easiest Pillow Cover Ever Tutorial.

Flip the pillow right-side-out, pop in the pillow form, and you’re done!

pillow quilted