While growing up I was always involved in some sort of craft—from hand embroidering on something, to knitting a scarf, to crocheting an afghan. While they weren’t always large or even finished projects, I was constantly making.
Somewhere in the mid-80s, I started cross stitching. Not only was it all the rage then, it was affordable, relaxing and fun—projects were portable, too—so it was something I could do when my kids were little. I spent several years at it and I made a lot of things, but eventually I tired of it or I simply didn’t have time for it, so I gave away all my materials and never looked back.
In the fall of 2019 I started seeing pretty cross stitch projects popping up on Instagram posts which got me thinking about taking it up again. It seems like it’s made a resurgence in today’s craft world, and I always enjoyed it so I figured why not.
While I love quilting and have no plans to stop (doubt I could if I wanted to) I thought a cross stitch project might be nice to do in between large quilting projects. This time around I’m only making smaller items since I lean towards minimalism and don’t want to fill my space with too many things. 🙂
That said, I made a quick trip to JoAnn Fabrics, picked up some supplies and started again. I was happy to see a skein of DMC floss is only 56 cents! Still affordable.
But what to make? I wasn’t sure if I’d still enjoy it, so for starters I designed a small project to help me get back into the swing of things. It’d been probably over 20 years since I’ve cross stitched.
And who’s surprised, the design I made is about sewing. 😉
I’ve completed my stitching and yes, it was as enjoyable as I remember…
While my eyes aren’t as good as they used to be, I’m pretty sure I’ll stick to it anyway. And I still love all the beautiful colors.
Once my little project is finished I’ll happily share it. And I plan to have a pattern available too!
My first quilt pattern of 2020, Lucky 13, is now available. This is a throw quilt that showcases two different colored blocks giving it a modern dynamic, yet the blocks are exactly the same! Add some accent squares in the sashing and you’ve got a quilt that pops. Because Lucky 13 is fat quarter friendly, you might have guessed it, you only need 13 fat quarters. 🙂 And it’s easy enough for a beginner quilter, too.
As in all my patterns, it offers easy-to-read instructions with plenty of colorful diagrams. Lucky 13 is available for purchase as a PDF download in my Etsy shop.
I had a lot of fun designing and making this pattern. If you’re a quilter that loves to play around with color placement, this would be a great one for you.
Every year I like to write a blog post recapping all the projects I’ve made. I mainly do this to have a quick reference should I ever need to know when something in particular was made. And it’s fun to see how I’ve spent my time sewing. So here goes…
First up is my Petite Hearts quilt that I made on a whim. It has a funny story to go along with it…I thought I was onto an original pattern, but while looking for a name I found it had been published before as baby quilt. Still a top favorite.
I started making a Swoon quilt by Thimble Blossoms in the spring and got it back from longarming late September. I haven’t written a blog post on it yet because I haven’t gotten any good photos, so these two blocks will have to do for now. 🙂
I started my Maple Charm quilt before we moved in April and had it finished just in time for fall. I enjoyed it the entire season.
This Five Squared throw quilt is a Monday Morning Designs pattern (available for purchase in my Etsy shop; see sidebar). I made it out of fabrics I had on hand and I love that all the colors of the rainbow are included.
Also while trying to use what I had on hand, I made a Four Patch Charm quilt. I’m hoping somebody has a special event this year so I can gift it.
Lastly, I made my son a Picnic Play quilt designed by Michelle Bartholomew. While this quilt looks innocent, it was a tough one! It was a huge project, too. My son enjoys finally having a quilt large enough to use on his queen size bed.
I made quite a few mini quilts, too. This one was completed early 2019. I’ve also written a tutorial on how to make a Scrappy Heart mini. It’s a fun and quick one to make.
What can I say about this cute crab pattern by Ellis and Higgs? The big crab was a gift for my daughter, the other one is mine.
This Radiant mini is also a Monday Morning Designs. I was fortunate to have it featured in the July/August edition of Quiltmaker. It surely brightens up my space! I plan to release the pattern this summer.
I made quite a few Little Quilted Star ornaments for gifts for Christmas. Very festive.
My pattern Wee Three Trees became available for purchase in time for the holiday sewing rush. I made two, one for myself and one as a gift for my niece.
Here’s the last of my projects. I made the microwave bowl cozy for myself as a holiday bowl for pine cones. The little holders are for gift cards; gifted as party favors, and the bottom photo shows my process on a mini Christmas tree skirt.
These pillows were also gifts…
And a pillow case for my bird-loving husband.
Lastly, towels with cute toppers made for my mom. You can download my free PDF tutorial How to Make a Hanging Kitchen Towel. It’s easy-to-follow, complete with photos, a template and lots of tips!
Well, that sums up last year, and I’m well into making for 2020!
It finally happened, I finished another queen size quilt. In 2018 I made one for my daughter so 2019 was the year to make one for my son.
Since this is more than likely a one-time thing, I wanted to make it for him as per his request. To start off, I had him choose a pattern. Probably not so much fun for a young man to sit and go through quilt pattern after quilt pattern, but ultimately it was his choice. 🙂 After much searching, he decided on a pattern by Michelle Bartholomew called Picnic Play.
It’s a very modern quilt and perfect for a guy, which isn’t always easy to find in the quilting world. The pattern requires seven solid fabrics; and while the original pattern colors were a good starting point, he swapped out a few and here’s what he chose:
As far as the block construction goes, they’re kind of like an extended hourglass block, and they were a lot harder than I thought they’d be! They were relatively big too, unfinished at 14″ square.
And since the pattern was written for a throw, we had to do some math to figure out how many additional blocks I’d need to add to get it queen size. Trimming for 56 large blocks took quite a while, but what colorful trimmings.
Yet somehow and somewhere along the way I miscounted the number of blocks and ended up with a few extra. No problem—I made toss pillows.
I should mention that making these pillows wasn’t so easy, I had to extend the blocks even further to get them to 18″ square. My process for doing this is explained on my Mitered Borders on Pillows blog post.
When it came time for purchasing backing fabric, I didn’t think my son would have much interest so he told me what color he wanted and I sent him a few choices. He decided on a warm, tone on tone vertical print by Windham Fabrics, Eliana Medallion in Sunshine.
The same process happened for the quilting. I sent him three patterns and he ended up going with Knitterly #2 by Urban Elementz. I think it was a great choice!
I really enjoyed working with bright solids and it was a lot of fun to make something this modern.
So…after many months in the making, a lot of decisions, waiting forever for longarming, sending it across the country and hoping it arrived safely, and in time for Christmas, here it is!
The quilt finished at 95″ x 108″. My son is really happy with it and is enjoying its warmth. And that’s exactly why we quilt…isn’t it?
I’m always looking for a new sewing project to make—something easy and fun with a fairly quick finish. I thought I’d enjoy making hanging kitchen towels since they’re decorative and useful. While scrolling through Pinterest I found several examples with a variety of toppers, but I couldn’t find any tutorials I liked so I designed my own.
I also wrote a tutorial while making mine, and for an easy way to share it’s available as a PDF download. That way it’s convenient for you to keep it on your device while working on your project. Here’s the link to download my How to Make a Hanging Kitchen Towel tutorial.
I’d rate this project as ‘easy’ and it’s great for both new and experienced sewing enthusiasts. The tutorial is chock-full of colorful photos, helpful tips and a printable template—all there to guide you while making your own!
Sometimes when working on a quilt that’s taking a lot of time, I feel I need a break to make something with a fast finish. Over the summer I received a free sailboat pattern from Ellis and Higgs and I thought it would make a nice pillow as a gift for my sister since she lives on the bay and has a nautical theme throughout her house.
I’d been wanting to learn how to make an envelope pillow because I think they look better than a zipper, so what better time to try it out? I found a few tutorials and combined the best of them and came up with one to pass along. It’s really easy and can be made in less than an hour!
For mine, I pieced the front and used interfacing to keep everything in place, but you can make the front easily with a cut of fabric. Here’s how to make a cover for a pillow insert, and also what you’ll need:
MATERIALS: Either a pieced block with interfacing fused on OR fabric for the front, fabric for the back, pillow insert, hot ruler (optional), bluntly pointed stick, sewing machine, iron, general sewing supplies.
For the pillow FRONT: Make your block to measure the same size as your pillow form. If you choose to make a fabric front, the same measurement applies, cut your fabric to the pillow form size.
For the pillow BACK: You will need one piece of fabric to be cut into two (or two pieces). The width will be the same as your pillow form, but the length will be the size of the pillow form plus 6″.
If you’re using a quilt block and it’s too small, just add borders. For example, I added 2″ borders to my sailboat block to get it to measure 16″ x 16″.
Once the pieces are cut to size, fold under one edge of each back piece 1/4″ and then again 1/4″ to form a small hem for the flaps. A hot ruler works great here.
Sew the hem for the flaps, stitching close to the edge. Press the seam.
Next; sewing everything together. Pin the front and back pieces right sides together with the two back pieces overlapping in the middle. It will look upside down and backwards, but it ends up as it should once you turn it right side out.
Sew around all four sides of the pillow cover using a 1/2″ seam allowance. If you want to keep the raw edges from fraying, add a zigzag stitch around all the edges.
Once sewn, trim away the corners and turn the cover right side out, making sure to push out the corners. Using a bluntly pointed object helps get the corners sharp.
Lastly, give it one final press and insert the pillow form. And you’re done!
Not only are these pillows easy and fun, they’re an inexpensive way to add a splash of color and style to your living space.
After seeing these, my daughter wanted a few in traditional Christmas colors, red and white. I made her three using a rich red for the star in Moda’s Rustic Weave and a pure white background with wintry swirls from a Bee Sturgis Quilting Treasures holiday collection.
And I just love the contrast.
She wanted them quilted all the same, with straight line quilting in each corner section.
She also chose Kona Cotton White for the binding which really made the red stars pop.
Either traditional colors or modern, I think these ornaments are a great holiday addition.
With holiday sewing in full swing, I’ve decided to release a Christmas tree mini quilt pattern that’s fun and fast to make, and most of all, it’s festive!
I call this little mini Wee Three Trees. The pattern is made up of three little trees; perfect for 2 1/2″ precut strips or scraps, and the background requires just one fat quarter so there’s not a lot of fabric needed. And it’s a suitable project for both beginner and experienced quilters alike. Wee Three Trees is available for purchase in my Etsy shop.
I’ve made a few of these for gifts, and one for myself. For mine, I used Greetings by Kaye England for Wilmington Prints. I also used this fabric for my Christmas Irish Chain quilt last year. I love the nostalgic holiday feel of this wonderful collection.
I also did some experimenting with a variety of prints and colors for a non-traditional look. I think this pattern lends itself to so many possibilities! 🙂
If you decide to give it a try, I’d love to see what you create. Happy holiday sewing!
This year for Christmas I made my son a queen size quilt for his bed. Somehow, while in the process of making blocks, I ended up with a few extra. So I had to ask myself, ‘what’s the best thing to do with extra blocks?’ Make pillows! What a perfect solution. 🙂
The quilt pattern, Picnic Play by Michelle Bartholomew, is made up of large blocks approximately 15″ square untrimmed, making it relatively easy to turn the blocks into 18″ pillows by adding borders. I say ‘relatively’ easy because I couldn’t just add the traditional squared borders due to the nature of the block construction.
Since the quadrants are triangles, I had to add mitered borders…and I’d never done that before, but I was up for the challenge.
To keep the triangles a consistent width, I cut off approximately 1″ all the way around and added 4 ½” mitered borders. Once attached and pressed (½” seam allowance), I trimmed about 3/8″ off each side to square the block. I ended up with a final measurement of 18″. They’re not bad for a first try. 😉
While adding mitered corners wasn’t particularly difficult, it was a bit tricky due to all the conjoining seams, but it got easier with each corner. I followed this informative video on how to make mitered borders from the Fat Quarter Shop.
Once the blocks were cut to size, I ironed on a light fusible fleece to help them hold shape and to secure the seams and threads.
And, instead of making a zippered pillow, I decided on an envelope back. I’ve wanted to try this method for quite some time, and not only did I learn a new and easy way to make a pillow back, I love the results. I used the same backing fabric as the quilt.
My son opted for a non-quilted front and we both agree that the crisp blocks look fresh and modern as is.
Here’s the finished pair.
I really enjoy learning and trying new methods, and I accomplished learning two in one project! I’m hoping my son will enjoy the toss pillow and quilt ensemble once he finally receives his gifts.
Lately I’ve been going through my fabric trying to find a good use for leftovers. So far I’ve made my colorful, controlled scrappy Five Squared Quilt and my Four Patch Charm quilt, made with a ray of lovely golden yellows.
Even with those two completed, I still have fabric left from other projects. Three years ago I made my son a tree skirt for Christmas using a mix of beautiful metallic fabrics by Marcus Brothers, RJR and Andover Fabrics. And…
while scrolling through Pinterest I found a great idea for using smaller scraps, little quilted star ornaments. Right away I knew these metallics would be a perfect choice for this project.
Since I only saw a photo and the dimensions weren’t given, I experimented until I had made one small enough without using exceptionally tiny pieces. I also decided to make a tutorial because other quilters may be looking for a fun way to use up little scraps, and just in time for the holidays. So here it is…
Materials needed to make one 4 ½” x 4 ½” star ornament:
For Star: Gold fabric – (1) 2 ½” x 14 ½” strip Subcut (1) 2 ½” x 2 ½” square and (8) 1 ½” x 1 ½” squares
For Star: White fabric – (1) 2 ½” x 14″ strip Subcut (4) 1 ¾” x 2 ½” rectangles and (4) 1 ¾” x 1 ¾” squares
For Backing: Gold fabric – (1) 5 ½” x 5 ½” square
For Interfacing: Pellon Fusible Fleece – (1) 4 ½” x 4 ½” square
For ¾” Bias tape binding: Gold fabric – (1) 1 ¼” x 20″ strip (approximate)
For Hanger: White ribbon – (1) 7″ piece (or material of your choice)
Once the fabric is cut, draw a diagonal line on the back of all the gold 1 ½” squares. As though making a flying geese unit, sew two 1 ½” x 1 ½” gold squares to the top corners of a 1 ¾” x 2 ½” white rectangle, attaching them to the 2 ½” side. Make 4.
Next, lay out squares and sewn units with the 2 ½” sides facing toward the center, as shown below. Sew together to make rows. Press the top and bottom row seams toward the outer squares. Press the middle row seam toward the center square.
Sew the rows together to complete the star; seams will nest. Press seams open. Trim block to 4 ½” x 4 ½” square making sure to leave a ¼” all the way around.
Trim any threads off the back to prevent them from showing through to the front. This is always a good rule to follow. 🙂 Next, adhering the interfacing. I used 987F Pellon fusible fleece because of the low loft, yet there’s enough to give some depth when quilted.
I always put a scrap piece of fabric over my projects to prevent any adhesive from getting on my iron.
Once the fusible fleece is adhered, sandwich the star unit to the backing. The backing square will be a bit bigger to allow for shifting when quilting.
With a hera marker, I marked the first two lines to be quilted then I used straight pins to hold the pieces together. After the first lines were finished, I removed the pins.
I chose a different quilting pattern for each one. I really like how they turned out!
Once your blocks are quilted, it’s time for binding. Since the ornaments are small, and to reduce bulk, I made bias tape using a ¾” bias tape maker. (If you don’t have one, they can be purchased at most sewing stores inexpensively or you can buy bias tape already made). You’ll need enough to go around all four sides including a few inches extra.
Once made, press the bias tape in half lengthwise before sewing it on; that’ll help to keep it even on each side. I sewed mine on by hand (each side, one at a time) which was easier than trying to line everything up and sew through all the layers at once.
One the binding is attached, the last thing to do is add a hanger. There are a lot of options here…you can use jute, ribbon, cording—whatever you like. I used a lovely white ribbon I had on hand. I looped it and tacked the ends together before stitching it on.
And done! Easy to make and fun, too, plus I think they’ll make great gifts!