The Quilted Pillows Group

Monday, August 30, 2010

As I made my foray into pillow-making land over the past week I found that there were a number of FABULOUS pillows out there but it was a challenge finding them.  Quite honestly, my perception was that I was seeing more and more of them on Flickr, but when I went to look ... it took quite a bit of searching.

So last night before I went to bed ... I created a new Flickr group ... Quilted Pillows.  In less than 24 hours there are 22 members and 62 fabulous pillows ... as I now know (thanks Scissors & Thread !!!) they are also known as cushions depending on which side of the pond that you're on!!!

Please ... take a quick trip over and look ... I suspect you'll be as amazed as I am at what's out there ... truly beautiful work.  And make sure you leave some comments for some of the ones that you like ... the best way to build out the pillow/cushion community is going to be to let the folks who share their pillows/cushions on it know how much we like them ;-).

I'm also looking for a photo for the group ... I threw my latest one up there ... but quite honestly ... am humbled today by all of the beautiful creativity out there and am definitely looking for something a bit more inspiring ... so let me know if you've got a thought or someone worth asking!

Thanks for all the support and comments you guys give ... I read every one and they make my day!!!

All the best

Pretty pillows ...

Sunday, August 29, 2010

One was planned ... one not so much. 

The smaller one first ... the pillow top was my first attempt at straight line quilting as I blogged here (the good news is that although the walking foot didn't fit, I've been in touch with the e-bay supplier and he's sending me the correct one as soon as he receives the first one he sent me - hooray!).  This pillow was supposed to have a white patchwork quilted top and a gold straight-line quilted back.  I had quilted and washed both the top and bottom and started working on them yesterday morning ... cutting down the pieces to 13" x 17" to cover a 12" x 16" pillow form. 

The bad news is ... I unfortunately cut the back 12" x 17".  The good news is that is was the back ... not the front that I worked so hard on.  I'm out at the cabin, with no batting on hand ... so I decided to try making self-welting instead, and coupling that up with a simple material back (not quilted). 

So ... my first attempt at putting piping a pillow ...

The cover for the second pillow was supposed to be a pillow sham ... but it just didn't work properly ... so I cut the pillow sham pieces down to 19" x 19" and used them on an 18" x18" pillow form instead.  The pillow top and bottom are identical.

This represent my first installation of a invisible zipper -- which was a challenge, but accomplished and it looks reasonable.

This has definitely been a process ... and a learning experience!  The matching quilt is about 40% quilted, so I need to finish that, bind it and take another run at a pillow sham and it will be off in the mail!  Bummed that I don't have a twin bed that I can photo it all on ... but imagine I will come up with something!
I was also supposed to be working on Lynne's Union Jack quilt blocks for Fresh Modern Bee 2 ... but found that paper piecing is virtually impossible for me without and iron which, with the batting, remains in Seattle ... technically August doesn't end for 2 more days ... so tomorrow after work I am definitely on it Lynne ... promise ...
Hope you had a great weekend ...
All the best

Straight-line quilting

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

I've been wanting to try some straight-line quilting for some time now ... but I don't have a walking foot ... Allison at PioneerValleyGirl suggested that I check with my LQS.  I was able to find one on eBay and anxiously awaited it's arrival ... it came today. 


It doesn't fit. 

However, I decided to try to make the cover for the pillow tonight for my neices new bedroom set (my inspiration pillow is here).  And since it 1) was small enough and 2) wouldn't have a visible back ... I decided to go for it! 

I LOVE it!  It's already been through the washer and dryer ... so it's nice and crinkly and I am really really happy with the result.  I hope I can find a walking foot soon so that I can make a larger attempt.

All the best!

Basting Tutorial

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Last summer when I was learning how to quilt ... I struggled to find a tutorial to help me baste my first quilt ... so ... here's a tutorial for other newbys ... what I would also appreciate is any hints from you "old-timers" to help me with my process and share with some of the newbys!

ADDED:  How timely ... Loft Creations has a blog post this week on batting choices.  Check it out for some thoughts on what batting's right for you!

First ... find a large place where you can lay out your quilt.  I find a hard surface underneath (in this case hard wood floor, is better as I don't have to worry about getting the pins caught in the carpet underneath).  Give it a good vacuum or sweep before you begin.

Second ... lay the quilt backing on the floor, finished side facing the floor. 

Third ... chase the dog (or cat) off the back of the quilt ;-) ... invariably ... the pets are convinced that you laid this on the ground for THEM!

Fourth ... tape the quilt back to the floor.  I use painters tape, it's tacky enough to keep the quilt backing from sliding around the floor, yet still pulls back off the floor easily without leaving any sticky residue.  Smooth out all the wrinkles and pull it semi-taut as you tape it to the floor.  I like to run one side of the backing parallel to the wood lines on the floor ... this will become helpful once you get the batting and top on it to make sure that the quilt top is sitting properly on the backing.

Fifth ... lay the batting on top of the quilt back.  In this case, I am making a twin quilt, however, I am using a full size batting.  I don't prewash and therefore experience about 7% shrinkage.  This means that I make my quilts 107% of the size that I ultimately want them to be.  Which also means that I can't use twin size pre-packaged batting on a twin size quilt ... it's not quite large enough.  Knowing where the underlying quilt back is with respect to the edge of the wood grain, helps me when I put the batting on top of it.

Sixth ... lay the quilt top, finished side up, on top of the batting and make sure you're centered properly on top of the backing ... your backing should be about 3-4" larger (1.5 - 2" at each side) than your top -- this gives you flexibility on laying it out, and also ensures that any shrinkage you have while quilting is accounted for.

Seventh ... it's time to pin.  You have to smooth it out as well as keeping it aligned.  Then I sit in the center of the quilt and start pinning ... smoothing it out as I move towards the edges.  I probably don't use as many pins as I have seen other folks use.  And I use a combination of medium and large safety pins.  I understand that there are safety pins that are designed specifically for quilts ... but these seem to work so well for me ... so I haven't tried anything but basic safety pins.

Eight ... keep pinning ... and pinning ...

Ninth ... finish pinning, trim off the excess batting around the edges with scissors, remove the painters tape and you're ready to begin quilting!

Finally ... remember to let the dog back in ;-)

Oh ... the quilt design is 12 + 2 = Q from Oh! Fransson.
All the best

A thrifted garden

Sunday, August 22, 2010

The cabin garden has come a long way in just one short year!  In an effort to conserve cash ... a lot of the garden at the cabin came from our Seattle house.  There are divided plants, babies, propogated plants and even a few outright transplants.  At this point, I'd say 50% of what we've got in the ground at the cabin was FREE and previously planted.

We've had some fun trying new things out here.  Between the cabin and the garage there's a walkway and some slivers of garden.

One part of it is filled with washed stones from the property (that took about a half a day with a wheelbarrow, hose and scrub brush) ... the other with some cast off sedums from our Seattle rock garden.

The thrifted garden's not looking so bad after one short year ... guess there's one benefit to a cool and wet summer ...

There's still a lot of planting to go ... but we're happy with how it's looking so far ... a little bit natural, a little bit thrifted and a little bit of a blank canvas on which we are slowly painting. 

Hope you had a great weekend.
All the best

Time out

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

First ... the only quilitng progress I've made in a while:

There are 198 blocks in that pile ... and I hope to add them to this very soon ...

This is turning into a 'time-out' week.  I have never been sick in the summer before ... but it has it's benefits ... yesterday was one of the hottest days we've had in Seattle all summer ... 92F (ok ... for those of you who suffered 100F+ temps earlier in the summer I know this seems lame ... but remember ... no one in Seattle has air conditioning).  Here's the good part ... despite record temps, I cam home from work, wrapped myself in a sweater and took a nap on the couch under 2 quilts ... when I woke up was when hubby suggested I take my temperature ...

Lo and behold ... 100.8F.  Stomach a little crampy ... but other than that can't quite figure out why I am running a fever.

Oh well ... after sleeping pretty much non-stop from 5pm last night to 9am this morning, I'm doing a little blog surfing today.

Dalilah over at was kind enough to award me with The Versatile Blogger award!  So first ... THANKS!  what I love most about these is the opportunity to see who else they  nominate and get a chance to go visit a few blogss I have not yet been to.  This morning's was no exception! 

My favorites from Dalilah were:
I also have a few favorites of my own:
Check 'em out ...

As a little girl gets bigger overnight ...

Thursday, August 12, 2010

This is a quilt for a young girl who's doing a lot of growing up right now ... she's 11 years old.

In the past 3 years, she's had a lot of change in her life as her mom married a soldier ... since June of this year, they have moved to a new state, she's started a new school and today ... the only father figure that's really around shipped off to Iraq for a year.

Her mom married my brother ... and she's my new neice.

This quilt is going to be for her ... from "one Army brat to another".

I grew up the daughter of a soldier.  My dad's war was Vietnam ... and I was 7 and 10 respectively when he went on his two "tours".  When a child's dad goes away to war, you fill a different role.  You struggle between being a kid and your belief that your the person that your mom is depending on.

It's going to be lonely around their new house for a little while ... and I decided last night that I could fix something ... in the only way I know how these days ... with a quilt.

I fell in love with this fab quilt by "From the Blue Chair".  It seems it's actually a pattern from Oh Fransson. 

So my goal is to put it together quickly and get it off in the mail to make a little/big girl feel a little more appreciated in a tough situation ...

... from one Army brat to another.

Hope you're having a good week.

All the best
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