Saturday, December 28, 2013

A Petal Pocket Pillow

Hi Everyone!  Thanks so much for all of the love for my latest quilt.  It truly makes my day to receive comments here, on flickr, or instagram.  I actually have two more Arrow Tail quilts to share, but today I thought I'd break it up a bit and share this sweet pillow I made for Lyla for Christmas.

Lyla's Petal Pocket Pillow

Petal Pocket Pillow All Filled Up

Briar Rose

Envelope Back


This one stole my heart!  I ordered a fat eighth stack of Heather Ross's Briar Rose fabric from Sew Love fabrics when it first came out.  I've never really owned an entire Heather Ross collection, so when it arrived I was so excited and meticulously looked through every piece, squealing over the adorable characters and illustrations.  I immediately felt inclined to use it in bits and pieces on smaller projects, such as pillows or fabric baskets, or even little doll clothes ( if I'll ever have the patience for those!).

So, this pillow came to be in the couple of months before Christmas, in those bits of times when I needed a break from working on quilts or a major dose of happy.  I used the Petal Pocket Pillow pattern by Nova of A Cuppa and a Catch Up.  It's a fantastic pattern, with lots of little details and options.  I went with the curved petal version, fussy-cutting many of the Briar Rose prints to feature some adorable scenes.  I stitched the whole petal on by hand and included a line of bright hand stitching on the pillow pocket.  

By the way, the adorable bunny in there is Miss. Zoe Rabbit by Hazel Village, a Christmas gift from her Nana and Pop.  And, that little book was a fabulous pick from her Mimi and Pepa.  Lyla really does have a thing for pillows, so I think she'll love putting little goodies in the pocket or taking this one with her on road trips.  It was a super fun sew, and I'd love to make another one day.   


Pillow Details

Pattern: Petal Pocket Pillow by Nova, A cuppa and a catchup  
Fabric: Petals and Pillow Back are from Briar Rose by Heather Ross; Pocket and Flower Center is from Juliana Horner, available at Joanns; Front Pillow outer is a soft brown linen from Joanns.      

Friday, December 27, 2013

Raedene's Quilt

Raedene's Quilt

Raedene's Quilt Back

AMH Feather Block


Swirly Quilting

More swirly quilting

Ready to Gift

If I did a good job of sticking to one crafty related goal in 2013, it was finishing what I started.  Patting myself on the back for that one!  Over the past few months, I finished a few quilts and other items I never got around to sharing here.  So, I thought I'd share them each here as the year comes to an end.

I'm starting with this Arrow Tail Quilt that I finished just a few days before Christmas.  This was a very special custom quilt ordered by my dear friend Raedene.  She didn't want to see it before Christmas Day, so other than a few quick Instagram peeks, I had to keep this one under wraps.  That was tough!  Raedene asked for an Arrow Tail Quilt in all Anna Maria Horner fabrics.  It just so happened that I was feeling ready to part with what remained of my hoarded Good Folks fabrics leftover from my very first quilt.  I paired the remaining prints I had with other various prints by Anna Maria Horner (details below). 

Raedene asked for some swirly quilting, which was a fun change of pace after doing a lot of straight-line quilting.  I think it really was a great choice for this rich, patterned quilt.  I always love to try new free-motion designs!

I had a little fun with the back of this quilt too.  I did not have quite enough backing fabric so I decided to piece a strip down the back.  I wanted to put some sort of surprise block in there for her, so I chose to add one of Anna Maria Horner's pieced feather blocks.  It was so much easier to piece than I expected and I think it just fits right in with the overall quilt design.  This quilt was finished off with a hand stitched binding, decidedly my favorite method.

My friend, Raedene has had a tough holiday with the flu making it's way around her household so I hope this brought her some comfort and warmth.  That's the best thing about quilts, yes?  Thanks, friend, for asking me to make this for you!


Quilt Details

Quilt Design: My Arrow Tail Design (tutorial here)
Size: Approx 48" x 68"
Front Fabrics: All by Anna Maria Horner, from Good Folks (Out of Print) + Little Folks (voile) + LouLouthi + Field Study + Hand Drawn Garden (many available here)
Back Fabrics: Posie in Blue from Flea Market Fancy (available here) + scraps from above collections
Binding: Stockings in Twist from LouLouthi (available here               

Thursday, December 26, 2013

December Favorites

It has been such a great month here.  A month that was so busy and so full, I can hardly believe that it all happened and that we survived.  I just sorted through all of the photos I took this month and picked some favorites that I think captured the wonderful-ness that has been December.  Although at times I wished I could fast forward to this moment when it would all be "over", I'm so happy now to look back at all that happened and recall how perfect it all was!  I hope your month, however you spent it, was beautiful as well.

Our Joseph
Our Joseph
7 Years Old
Turning 7
Twelve Days
Hanging the 12 Days of Christmas with Nana and Pop

Party Animals
Party Animals - A First Sleepover

A Warm Day in December
Warm Park Day in December

Cookies with Cousins
Cousins Decorating Cookies

First Sprinkles
First Sprinkles

Christmas Eve Buddies
Christmas Eve Cousins

Taking it all in...

A Happy Elf
One Happy Elf

Best Christmas Gift
My favorite Christmas moments

Saying Hello
Meeting a New Friend

Looking Comfy and Grown Up!

No Words
No Words. : )

Monday, November 25, 2013

{Tutorial} An Improv Block

Today, I'm sharing a quick tutorial for "An Improv Block" similar to the block that I used in my Autumn table runner.  A sweet reader emailed me and asked me about how to put a block like this together, so I thought a tutorial might be helpful.  This might be a particularly valuable tutorial for someone who's sewn a quilt from my Arrow Tail tutorial, since it uses scraps from this quilt. 

I made this cute pillow with the block I made from this tutorial.  It uses mainly scraps leftover from this Arrow Tail Quilt and is backed in some gorgeous velveteen fabric.  Just something simple to spruce up my bed for Fall (because it IS still Fall). 


Disclaimer: I'm not an expert on improvisational piecing.  I suppose the intent of this tutorial is to teach you how to make a scrappy improv pieced block similar to mine.  But, perhaps you might also glean a method for piecing anything in an improvisational manner.  First things first, take off your "sewing perfect points and matching all my seams" hat and put on your "let loose and just sew two pieces together" hat.  Take a deep breath. 

Now, a word of advice...I find improv piecing to be much easier if I'm dealing with scraps that are roughly the same size or share a common width.  My improv block includes a mix of triangles, rectangles, and strips - all scraps leftover from a quilt.  Therefore, they happen to be about the same size and share common angles.  It is also important that the pieces that are sewn together have straight edges.

My block consists of three rows of scraps pieced together.  Each row measures approx 3-4" tall by 12-13" wide.  On my table runner, I added borders to make each block 14" square (more on this below).  For the pillow above, I added borders to achieve a block that is about 13.5 x 15.  Ok, let's get started! 

Below I've divided the scraps I used into triangles, strips or rectangles, and strips with angles.  The first step is to pick up two random pieces of fabric and sew them together.     

Let's start by sewing two triangle pieces together.  Pick two that are similar in size, place them right sides together and sew along the angled edge.  Next press the seam open.  Depending on the shape of the triangles you've chosen, you may have a very wonky block or an almost square block - either is fine!

Now, simply trim the block so that all edges are straight and meet at right angles to one another.  I do this by aligning one straight edge with a horizontal line on my rotary mat, trimming the edge on the left and then turning the block (aligning edges with rotary mat lines) and trimming until it is finished.  Note that my trimmed block is about 3.5" square.


Next, let's add a scrap to this block.  The scrap I selected is clearly bigger (taller) than the block I just finished.  That's ok!  Simply sew this scrap to the block and trim.


Continue in this manner, adding scraps to your strip until it is about 12-13" long (or whatever length you like).  Below, I chose to add another pair of triangles sewn into a block.  Always stitch, press seams open, and trim so all edges are straight! 


I added one additional scrap to my row so that it ended at about 13" long by 3.5" tall.  


Now, sew two additional rows in the same manner.  Choose different sizes and arrangements of scraps if you'd like a true improv style block.  Below, I encountered a situation where the piece I wanted to add to my row (shown on the right) was not big enough.  So, I decided to sew an additional scrap to that piece (shown below) first and then sewed the pieced block to my row.  Details like this add interest to your block! 


Once you've finished all 3 rows, lay them out and choose an arrangement.  Again, don't worry if the rows are different lengths.  You will trim your block once the rows are sewn together.  


Sew two rows together, press your seam open, and trim the overhang so that you have straight edges. 


Repeat for the last row.  Below is my finished improv block.  

If you would like to square off your block for use in a quilt or table runner like mine, I suggest adding borders to the block to achieve the size desired.  For my table runner, I made three square blocks at 14" each.  I then sewed these 3 blocks together, basted, quilted and stitched the binding down (using this tutorial).  

Below is the block with borders I made for this tutorial.  It measures around 13.5 x 15.  


I hope you enjoyed this tutorial! It's a method I really enjoy when I need some no-rules, liberating sewing.  If you make a block or anything using my tutorial, feel free to share it in my Sing All You Want flickr group.  Happy {improv} Sewing!