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fat quarter pot holder mini tutorial

25 Jan

my sister Laura is getting married this spring!  we’re super excited, he’s a great guy.  oh and i get to make another flower girl dress!  yay!  Em and her cousin are co-flower girls actually, so depending on the design complexity, i might be making two or my  mom might make the second one.  we’ll see.  anyway.

fat quarter pot holder mini tutorial

she had a bridal shower last weekend, and i was actually on top of the present-buying for the most part.  i had thrifted some great big vintage doilies for table decorations a while ago, as well as a mason jar with bubbles in the glass, both of which fit with her decorating scheme.  i also got her a Silpat, since Laura loves to bake.  and then because something had to be handmade, i made her some pot holders (starting the night before and finishing the morning of the shower).

fat quarter pot holders

i subconsciously matched the colors to the Silpat.  haha.  the main fabric is from Denyse Schmidt’s Hope Valley line, and i’m not sure what the binding is (if you know, please tell me!).  both are from Bolt.

here’s a quick words-only tutorial for these simple pot holders, which are a great way to use fat quarters, practice quilting if you’re scared of quilts, or to whip up as a quick gift if you have a few supplies on hand.  super easy, super fast.

fat quarter pot holders

this tutorial makes two hot pads that are quite large, you can scale them down in the “trim to square” step if they’re seeming unwieldy to you:

  • grab two fat quarters (FQs) – one for the body and one for the binding – some batting, and twill tape
  • cut four 9.5″ x 9.5″ squares of FQ, and four 10″ x 10″ or so squares of batting (for two pot holders)
  • make a sandwich – one FQ face down, two layers of batting, one FQ face up (try to line the FQs up on either side as best you can)
  • mark a diagonal grid starting corner to corner using tailor’s chalk or disappearing marker – mark lines 2″ apart
  • pin baste between the lines
  • quilt using a walking foot along the lines
  • trim to 9″ square (or smaller – i think 8″ square is standard)
  • cut 2.5″ strips of the second FQ for binding on the grain, enough to go around each pot holder (you’ll probably have to piece two strips together)
  • baste a loop of twill tape to the wrong side of the pot holder, and bind using your favorite method.  i usually hand stitch to finish my quilt bindings but this time i zigzagged them for speed and stability – this tutorial is great if you need it
  • make another one
  • DONE

fat quarter pot holders

not too bad, eh?  i love how puffy the double layer of batting makes them, and the zigzag stitch will keep them secure through washings.

fat quarter pot holders

mmmmm pillowy.

and here’s how i wrapped the gift up.  i’m a huge fan of the old “make a wedding rehearsal bouquet from shower ribbons and a paper plate” tradition, and really love to wrap shower presents with fun toppers to add some pizzazz to the practice bouquet.

pom pom flower

i wrapped the gift with simple brown craft paper, topped with white grosgrain ribbon and a pom pom flower with felt leaves!  i hot glued the leaves to the bottom of the flower to make sure it all stayed put, threading the tails of yarn from the pom pom through a small slit i cut into the felt to tie it to the ribbon.

pom pom flower

i’m so looking forward to Laura’s springtime wedding!

oh and if you make a pot holder using this mini tutorial, please add it to the flickr group.  thanks!

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feather pillow for a sewing friend

19 Dec

sorry guys, another quilted pillow.  last one for a while (maybe?  maybe not?  they’re just too fun!).

feather pillow

this one was for my sewing buddy, Caila.  the girl is a ray of sunshine, i knew she was working on decorating her house, and i had so much fun making this pillow for her!

feather pillow

i met Caila once when she was in town, and we had a fun lunch talkin’ blog stuff, sewing stuff, kid stuff, Portland stuff…you know, the usual.  i also got to meet her littlest adorable towhead Stryder – such a cutie pie!  it was actually right around the time i discovered Caila’s blog in the first place, but i saw right away that she has a really bright, happy, colorful style.  i also trolled her pinterest boards to find some specific fabrics that she might like to see in the pillow.  pinterest is so helpful for gift-giving!

feather pillow

i pieced the feathers out of my most color-saturated scraps and fat quarters using anna maria horner’s (free) feather bed quilt pattern.   this is actually one quilt block and it turned out to be perfect pillow size, though i kinda wish i’d narrowed the white space between the two just a bit and added a little to the outsides to bring them together.    they were super fun to make though – i really enjoyed picking out the fabrics and learning the piecing method, which is different than anything i’ve done before and very satisfying.  i even have a few extra feather sides for possible future pillows!

feather pillow

the back is AMH and a kona solid and it closes with a zipper.  this project is an amazing fat quarter / scrap user upper.


so i’m sewing a bunch of gifts for Christmas and realizing that i’m not going to get to blog some of them!  one already went in the mail without being photographed (maybe i can talk the recipient into snapping a few pics), and i’m making some teacher gifts that i doubt will see the light of day (LITERALLY) before i give them away.  this annoys me – sometimes it feels like a project isn’t “done” until it’s blogged.  anyone else weird like that?  guess i should’ve started sooner, eh?

granny square christmas pillow

10 Dec

continuing on my current quilting kick, i made a pillow for my husband’s company holiday party. they do a Christmas decor gift exchange/yankee swap type thing every year, and this year i decided to add to my quilt block repertoire and make a pillow!

granny square christmas pillow

granny squares are the hot new-old quilt block, did you know? first Jessica made one for me as a pillow for my birthday (which i posted here), then Jess posted her progress on her middle daughter’s new big girl quilt and linked to a great tutorial on how to make them. that did it, it became a “must make.” i figured a pillow would be great practice and the fabric would be fun to figure out. i cut my squares at 3.5″ each and i added a 3″ sashing around the edge to frame the pillow (3.5″ sashing would’ve been better though – bit of a squeeze). the pillow is around 18″ x 18″ finished.

i didn’t pay as close of attention to the tutorial as i should’ve and did a little extra piecing, and i also cut myself with my freshly changed rotary cutter blade during the process, but it still came together in just a few hours and was a fun design to make.

granny square christmas pillow

i did sort of a mix of traditional and more modern prints in Christmasy colors of red and green, with lots of polka dots. the inner square is from a fat quarter of lizzy house leaves and berries in cocoa that i got at bolt a while back (here’s some on etsy!), surrounded by pearl bracelet also from hello pilgrim and two different versions of moda essential dots (i first used the red ones on the amelie dress, and the cream ones i think i got on clearance at fabric depot).

granny square christmas pillow

it’s always hard to show quilting on light fabric. i outlined the squares on the outside edge of each, then ran a second line of stitching echoing the outline around the outside of the block. it created some cool diamond and triangle shapes.

granny square christmas pillow

the back is just an envelope closure with a button to make sure it stays put.

granny square christmas pillow

it’s a bit risky to bring a handmade to an anonymous gift swap; there was stealing allowed and part of me was hoping it’d get stolen a couple times to show the time spent (and blood spilled) was worth it!*

my husband works at a family business though, and my sister in law hid the pillow under the table to prevent it getting stolen! i figure that’s just as good, right? she wanted it to come home with her, and she made sure that happened. so i know it went to a loving home. ;)

granny square christmas pillow

just when it ‘s time to take photos of inanimate objects (which should be a snap), the 2 year old can’t resist playing with the ornaments and photobombing my photoshoot. silly boy.

granny square christmas pillow

what are you making this holiday season? anyone giving any quilted pillows? they’re a fun way to practice your quilting without a huge time commitment! just one block, some quilting, and you’re done. totally fun (unless you slice your fingers – be sure to roll the cutter AWAY from you! AWAY NOT TOWARDS!! sewing is dangerous!).

be safe out there, you guys.

*I promise I did not bleed on the pillow!

swoon block mini quilt

27 Nov

back in August, i asked for your advice on what to do with my “practice” swoon quilt block (pattern here). i got some really great suggestions (thanks guys!) and then….i sat on those suggestions! ha! i kind of liked having the block hanging up in my sewing room as it was, i didn’t have time to work on it, and it kept growing on me the longer it was hanging there. during that time, i decided a mini quilt for our bedroom wall would definitely be the way to go (once i was finally ready to finish it).

swoon mini quilt

then sometime in late September, Robin pulled together a sewing night at Modern Domestic with a still-pregnant Gail, so i quickly added a small border of kona snow around the outside to frame it, then basted it. once at MD, i took full advantage of the fancy pants Bernina machines (and the advice of my friends) to turn my swoon block into a mini quilt! oh man, big mistake sewing on one of those. suddenly my modest Brother machine, which has treated me well since i started sewing 3.5 years ago, felt like a hunk of garbage (what’s the phrase? “new hotness versus old brokeness?”). the Bernina quilted like a hot knife through butter, and i can’t get it out of my mind since.

swoon mini quilt

i have a savings fund going.

swoon mini quilt

anyway, you can see my quilting pattern a bit better on the back – i pretty much just outlined the star and kept the quilting minimal to let the design stand out. the backing is black yarn dyed essex linen. the binding is kona olive, of course, hand-finished. i think if i could make every project with yarn dyed black and kona olive, i would.

swoon mini quiltswoon mini quilt

it hangs supported by a dowel. i added pockets to the upper corners and sewed a little thread loop in the center (next time i think i’d do a fabric loop instead).

swoon mini quilt
now that the space is complete, i might pull together a little tour. you’ve seen bits and pieces but it might be fun to see the whole room, right? my bud Jessica sent me an awesome birthday surprise, too, which really ties the room together and will make an appearance when i show the rest of it! maybe later this week?

PS – i’m “” now! kind of exciting. that’s another project that was procrastinated on – my husband bought me the domain name for Mother’s Day and we finally made the switch! i feel so grown up now! no need to update your feeds; the redirect should happen automatically…hopefully.  :)

ohio star picnic quilt

16 Nov

i do believe a homemade quilt is the perfect wedding gift. quilts are so personal, made with love and care, and can last many many years. plus they’re practical – a handmade picnic quilt will be there to help keep a couple warm on camping trips, to be there for them as they have family picnics and create memories. they can even be a reminder of their wedding day!

ohio star picnic quilt

one of my early sewing projects was a blanket for baby Em, and the first time i covered my little daughter in a simple blanket i made, it nearly brought me to tears. it was a turning point for me, where i fully understood the specialness of handmade things and the love that goes into them. my family wasn’t really full of quilters – i have friends that have beautiful ancient handmade quilts made by their great-grandmothers, but my family seems to prefer to sew garments, embroider, knit, and crochet – still wonderful crafts and i know some quilts were likely made along the way, but they just weren’t part of our family culture like others. as i’ve dabbled in quilting, i’ve learned how much time and effort goes into each one and how much they mean to the maker. quilts are super powerful, you guys.

so i made this picnic quilt for my husband’s cousin Amy and her new husband Ben as their wedding gift and I hope they have many happy memories with it. it’s made with a vintage sheet, a sturdy navy cotton i bought during Anna’s Instagram destash (thanks Anna!), DS for Joann gold, and the chambray from Em’s big bow dress. i tried to give a nod to the colors and tone of their wedding in my choices (here are a few shots from the reception…soooooooo Portlandy!).


the back is a huge piece of dark blue (stretch?) corduroy that i thrifted. you can sort of see my quilting pattern here (i tried to make the star pop, so i followed the outer lines of it 1/4″ away from the seam). the corduroy was really heavy, too, which is perfect for a picnic blanket. sorry about the weirdly lit photos, it was starting to rain and O was going to wake up from his nap at any minute.

ohio star picnic quilt

ohio star picnic quilt

i appliqued a little linen heart for the couple onto joel dewberry woodgrain, adding their initials and wedding date.

ohio star picnic quilt

the design is a modified giant ohio star. i love how many different designs you can make with half square triangles! i first had the idea to make a quilt like this when i saw the ohio supernova quilt by Heather Jones floating around pinterest, and i referenced Jeni’s tutorial as i sketched my plan out on graph paper. it’s constructed of HSTs with vintage sheet squares in the corners. the solid blocks i cut at 9.5″ squares, the HST squares i cut at 10″ each. by that math the quilt ended up about 54″ x 54″, plenty big for a few people to sit on for a picnic, though smaller than the picnic blanket i made for us (and we use often).

ohio star picnic quilt

there’s no batting. to finish the quilt i put the top and the backing right sides together, pinned the heck out of it, and sewed around the outside leaving an opening for turning. i turned, topstitched around the edge, then did my quilting with a walking foot to make sure the layers didn’t shift. it went pretty fast! i actually jumped back and forth between working on this and the flower girl dress. when the organza got annoying, i shifted over to straight lines and cotton for relief.

ohio star picnic quilt

i got an enthusiastic text from Amy and Ben the day after the wedding thanking me and saying they loved it, which is great – the thing about quilts is they ARE a lot of work so knowing they’re going to an appreciative home is solid gold.

ohio star picnic quilt

now i want to make more quilts!


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