Quilted Tie Dye Pillow

Sometimes, you have a shirt that you love, but can’t wear. Either it has gotten worn out, or it isn’t the right size, or it has a stain on it. Don’t tuck it into a corner of the closet, or into a bottom drawer – celebrate your tie dye by turning your shirt into a custom decor piece! I work with the folks at Rit to come up with original dyed pieces, and was super excited to work on a quilted piece using a shirt I dyed with Rit dye.

If you’ve been following my Instagram feed, you know that I’m into quilting feathers lately… and I thought it would be fun to combine quilted feathers and tie dye in this handcrafted decor piece. I love how it came together!

Make a quilted tie dye pillow

Of course, you could use different quilting designs on your pillow, but be sure to get the how-to over on Rit Studio!

quilted tie dye pillow

English Paper Pieced Quilt Block

Have you tried English Paper Piecing? EPP is a method for hand-stitching together fabric with a paper template to keep its shape. Most English Paper Piecing you see nowadays uses hexagons (or hexies), but triangles and squares are popular shapes as well.

If you’d like to try your hand at EPP, here is a simple printable sheet that will take you through EPP basics so that you can stitch up your own project. I like to start beginners off with 1.5″ hexagons, but you can use whatever size you like. Grab the free English Paper Piecing Basics Printable here.

But once you’ve stitched together your Hexagons, where do you go next? What do you do with this masterpiece? A great option is to turn it into a quilt block for a larger quilt. I made this block as part of a charity quilt, so it will be combined with lots of other blocks to make one amazing quilt! I’ll show you how I did it.

Start with your EPP piece. You want to measure it to make sure that it is larger than the unfinished size of your block.

block ready for trimming

 

Lightly spray with spray starch or Best Press.

spray with starch

Iron flat. Since you starched the front, be sure to iron from the back – this is the easiest way to not burn the starch!

When it is as dry as possible, it still may be slightly damp to the touch.

still damp to touch

Carefully remove any remaining papers from the back of the block.

taking out papers

Press again.

pressing again

Start trimming up your block. Take as little off as possible, you can always cut it smaller later.

trimming block

Cut all four sides. My block was to be 8″ finished in the quilt, so I made it 8.5″ (to accommodate seam allowances).

back of trimmed block

Be VERY careful with your cut block. Where the seams are cut, it is very weak. Add stay-stitching at about 1/8″ to support the block. This will be inside the seam allowance, and not visible on the final quilt.

stay stitching block

Your block is ready! Make some more if you like, and stitch them together with some fun sashing for a great quilt!

Supernova Quilt

I’ve been working on this quilt for quite some time. Last fall, I made a quilt for Art Gallery Fabrics to hang in their booth at market. The Sunshine Quilt. A starburst quilt like that one uses almost entirely diamonds. The pieces around the edges don’t have to be full diamonds, but all the middle pieces do. When cutting the diamonds for the quilt, there were a lot of partial diamonds cut on the selvedge ends. Far more than could be used in the Sunshine Quilt. I wanted to use all the extra diamonds from the starburst quilt into another quilt. That’s how I came up with this Supernova Quilt.

supernova quilt

I started with all the partial diamonds. I counted how many I had, and divided by 8. That’s how many blocks I could make.

pennant shapes

I stitched these pieces into pairs, and then the pairs into sets of four. These were each half a quilt block. Then I trimmed up the edge of each so the finished block would lie flat.

trim block

I stitched the halves together to make full blocks. All of the blocks were odd sizes, so I measured the smallest to see how large a square I could get out of it. Then I cut this size square from each block.

I didn’t worry about where the center of the block was in relation to where all the points met up. I was just interested in making the same sized block out of each.

I stitched together odds and ends to make enough sashing for the quilt, and sashed all the blocks together.

The quilting looks very random, but it is a stitch in the ditch of each seam, extended out to the borders.

quilted supernova quilt

Hopefully this will be the last quilt that is quilted exclusively with my walking foot… I’ve been working on improving my free-motion quilting. Yay!

Red Zig Zag Quilt

This is a super simple quilt I made for my Modern Quilt Guild’s HST challenge. The only challenge was to make something using Half-Square Triangles. I actually had something completely different in mind – a Heart made from scrappy HSTs off-center on a solid background. But then I saw this red fabric with the trees (it is Henry Glass fabric, in case you were wondering), and it was in the 50% off section at my quilt shop. So I bought the main fabric, and the chevron, and the white and red, and put them all together very informally to make a simple quilt.

zig zag quilt

I like it. I think it is fun and bright and cheery. It isn’t very fancy, and the quilting is super simple – just stitch in the ditch around the pieced chevrons, and some straight lines across for the rest of the quilt. I bound it in the same red and white chevron that flanks the HSTs.

I don’t know what I’m going to do with this one… often when I’m working on quilts, I decide who I’ll give them to, or where in the house they will belong… but this little guy is homeless. For now.

Mini Quilt Math

Mini Quilt Math for converting your favorite patterns

Last year, I was really cranking out quilts – at a rate of about 2 per month! Yes, that is a lot of quilting! I love making quilts, and still have a lot of UFOs, as well as quilts on my wish list. But I really don’t need to make another mountain of quilts this year. To get that quilting satisfaction without all the time (and fabric!) commitment, it makes sense to make mini quilts. Several designers have started offering mini versions of their popular quilt patterns, but not every pattern is available as a mini. Instead of just crossing your fingers and hoping that your favorite patterns will be offered as mini patterns, I wrote a two-part post for Craftsy on how to use basic math to convert standard patterns into mini quilt patterns.

The first post is on basic mini quilt math. I take you through the basic steps, and at the end of the post have some tips that will help you in creating your mini.

mini jack in the pulpitThe second post is more advanced mini math – half-square triangles. It seems like they would be tricky, but if you know the “magic number” for HSTs, it is super easy to figure out how to make your mini.

 

Pieced Heart Pillow

Pieced heart pillow tutorial

I love decorating for Valentine’s Day. After taking down the Christmas decor, the house feels a little stark. It feels good for a little while – everything has been cleaned up and put away. But after a couple weeks I start to get antsy for some cheery colors and fun decor. Which makes these Valentine’s Day pillows perfect.

I actually made three different kinds of pillows. I’ll be sharing the others with you later in February.

pillows for Valentine's Day

To make the pieced heart pillow fronts, you need (enough for both pillows):
6 fat quarters of patterned fabric (my fabrics are all from “Scrumptious” by Bonnie and Camille for Moda)
1 fat quarter of background fabric (I used Kona Snow)

If you want to finish the pillows you need 1.5 yards backing fabric (that’s enough for both pillows), and about 4″ of velcro. You’ll also need a 20×20″ pillow form for each pillow.

I started by cutting my fabric. For each pillow you need:
From the patterned fabric:
70 – 2″ squares (assorted)
4 – 3″ squares of the same fabric (for cornerstones)

From the background fabric:
4 – 2 x 2″ squares
4 – 3.5 x 2″ strips
3 – 5 x 2″ strips
2 – 6.5 x 2″ strips
2 – 8 x 2″ strips

Lay out all the pieces. I like to lay them out on a piece of batting. The batting helps keep them in place a little bit, so a toddler running by is less likely to destroy my work. I put the pieces in a random order to get a very scrappy look.

lay out pieces

R1: 3.5″ background, 2 squares, 5″ background, 2 squares, 3.5″ background
R2: background square, 4 squares, background square, 4 squares, background square
R3: 11 squares
R4: 11 squares
R5: 11 squares
R6: background square, 9 squares, background square
R7: 3.5″ background, 7 squares, 3.5″ background
R8: 5″ background, 5 squares, 5″ background
R9: 6.5″ background, 3 squares, 6.5″ background
R10: 8″ background, 1 squares, 8″ background

I like to strip piece, so to mark my rows as I’m piecing, I use different colored pins.

mark rows when piecing

Here are all the rows pieced:

pieced into rows

I press the seams in alternate directions on the back. One row to the left, the next to the right, the next to the left… this reduces the bulk and also makes the points match up easier.

iron seams different ways

To finish the top, I measured the top and bottom, took the average of the two, and cut 3″ wide border pieces this length. I then measured the sides, took the average, cut 3″ wide border pieces this length. I added the 3″ squares to the side pieces, added the top and bottom borders, pressed, and then added the side borders. Top complete.

pieced pillow front

Quilting the pillow gives it more depth, and helps keep all that stitching in place. I layered a piece of muslin, batting, and my pillow top, and spray basted (we can have the discussion of pin basting vs. thread basting vs spray basting, but spray basting is just so much faster, so I often go with just spray basting things).

layer to quilt

You can quilt your pillow however you like. I did stitch-in-the-ditch around the border, and around the heart. Then I did a cross-hatch in the heart.

pieced heart pillows

To finish the back of the pillow, I measured my finished pillow, and cut 2 backing pieces. Each piece was the height of the pillow by 1/2 the width + 4″.

I folded the long end over 1″, then folded it over again and pressed. I selected a fun decorative stitch (no particular reason… just why not?), and stitched it down. I did the same with the other side. I added velcro to the center of each. Then I connected them using the velcro, put the whole thing right-sides-together with my pillow top, stitched all the way around, clipped, and turned right side out. There are lots of ways you can finish a pillow. This is called the “envelope” method, and I find it is one of the easiest.

back of pillow

I do like adding about 2″ of velcro to the center. Otherwise the middle tends to balloon out. Much prettier with everything all tucked in.

velcro closure

Signature Baby Quilt

This little baby quilt is long overdue, in a number of ways. The blocks for this quilt were made at the orange and monster truck baby shower. I finally stitched them together and quilted it up about 3 or 4 months ago to give to baby D… but then it didn’t make it to their house. It was going to make it to D this weekend (for his first birthday), but he got sick… so it didn’t happen!

The blocks are “signature blocks”. All the kids at the shower were given fabric crayons and asked to draw on the blocks. Some of the kids drew a lot, and pressed hard with the crayons. Some didn’t draw much at all, and drew very lightly. Most of the kiddos were under the age of 5, which makes for some really fun artwork!

I stitched the whole thing together with orange sashing. There were only 8 blocks, so I decided to leave the center plain, and wrap the blocks all the way around. Another option would be a fun focus fabric in the center.

I just used a plain solid orange fabric for the sashing and borders.

orange signature baby quilt

I quilted it with orange cuddle on the back (to make it extra snuggly). I folded it up and tied some tulle around it. Because a quilt doesn’t really need any extra wrapping – does it?

wrapped up baby quilt

Baby D… one day your blankie will come! I promise!!

Sunshine Quilt

This post has been about a month in the making… and really the story isn’t finished yet, but I don’t want to wait any longer to share it. I got to check something major off my bucket list in October. Quilters, prepare to be jealous…

I had a quilt hang at market.

Diamonds Quilt at Marketpicture courtesy of Art Gallery Fabrics

Yup. No joke. I made that quilt hanging right there.

For anyone who has “get a quilt at Market” on their bucket list, I can tell you that for me the process was a little bit of luck and whole lot of work… with a dash of insanity thrown in.

After making the Roots and Wings Quilt, I had a bit of a “lull” in my schedule. And by “lull” I mean no major trips out of town or massive projects due. Just my steady stream of crafting and watching the kids with Halloween costumes and Christmas projects needing to get done. So I asked the folks at Art Gallery Fabrics if they needed anything done for market. They needed a quilt and a pillow, and we were off and running.

I’m not going to say that there was a major snafu with the postal service that delayed the fabric getting to me for over a week, or that I had to take a trip out of town for about 24 hours right smack dab in the middle of making the quilt. But I will say that getting to work on a project like this is better than getting a full night’s sleep. Well, I’m pretty sure. I haven’t actually gotten a full night’s sleep since 2007, and I really don’t remember it being that special.

Anyway, I got her finished, and I love her. Here is the front.

AGF Quilt Front

I cut, placed, and pieced each diamond. There are all kinds of crazy bias edges in this quilt. I had learned about glue basting the week before starting it, and that is probably what kept me sane… and made my points line up. Oh – and I quilted and hand-bound it as well.

I love adding some personality to my backs, and a variation on a stacked-coin back is my favorite way to go. I mixed it up a little this time by using the selvedges. This took a little planning – I actually cut all the selvedges from the fabric before cutting the diamonds, and set them aside to use in the backing.

AGF Quilt Back

After finishing the quilt, I still had a little steam, and a little time, to make the pouf pillow. Here it is unstuffed.

AGF Pouf

The circles are all done with reverse-applique and I inserted a big zipper around the bottom to make it easy to fill. Zippers and I usually get along, but after gettting that zipper into a curved seam… zippers and I weren’t on speaking terms for a little while.

And although you can’t see my pouf in this post (she is there though, just hiding!), here is a photo of the whole booth…

Art Gallery Fabrics Booth

picture courtesy of Art Gallery Fabrics

Why isn’t this story finished? Well… I have the blocks of a second quilt, using the scraps from this quilt, up on my design wall right now. I just need to find some hours to spend sewing, and then maybe I can show you another golden beauty…

 

ps… if you want to see more of the great Art Gallery Fabrics booth, you can read about it in their Market Wrap-Up Post.

Five Year Finish

witch quilt by buggy barn

This quilt is finally finished. It only took 5 years.

There is nothing overly complex about this quilt that made it take so long. I took a class at Quiltique when I was on maternity leave after having my oldest, who is now 5. I finished the blocks within a few days of taking the class.

A few years later, I put the blocks together and finished the quilt top. I had a friend quilt it.

A year or so after that, I made the binding.

This year, I stitched on the binding. Finally. It took 5 years, but this quilt is finished.

I have quite a few more UFOs (Un-Finished Objects) hanging in the closet that need piecing, quilting, and/or binding… I’m hoping to start working my way through them, instead of adding to them. I have already trimmed 3 quilts that need binding, and cut out their binding. I’m taking baby steps, but at least they are in the right direction.

Do you have any UFOs that you want to get caught up on?

PS – If you are interested, the quilt pattern for the quilt pictured above is from Buggy Barn. It is a fun stack-and-chop technique for making a quilt block.

Same Block, Three Ways

same block three ways

Recently, I made 3 different blocks for a swap. Well, they look different, but really they are the same. They all use green and red fabrics from Kate Spain’s line “In From the Cold” for Moda Fabrics. And they all actually use the same block pattern… but by switching up the color placement, and the amounts of red and green in each block, I ended up with three completely different blocks!

same block, three colorways

This is a great exercise when playing with color. Different colors, in different places, make the same block… not so much the same.