Minion Pinion



A friend posted a picture of a minion in her Instagram feed, wondering if anyone had seen a pattern for one. She commented that she thought it would be great to have a minion in her sewing room with her.

I thought that if one were going to have a minion in one’s sewing room, the minion should do something. Like hold pins.

And I was thus inspired to make her a minion pin cushion: A PINION!


I used felt for the body and the hands and raw edge appliqué to add the overalls, goggles, and eyes.

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I used a tight zig zag stitch on my sewing machine to add details: the goggle strap, the shoulder straps of the overalls, and the middle of the eyes.



Now I think *I* need a PINION to help out in my sewing room!

Cancer sucks and I need your help

My dad has cancer.

It’s not a secret, I just don’t talk about it because it makes me sad and angry and frustrated and a whole host of other emotions that don’t even have names. There aren’t words to describe how unsettled and out of sorts it makes me feel to know my dad has this disease which he maybe, someday could recover from. Or it could take his life. We don’t know. I can’t begin to imagine how it makes him feel.

Here’s the short version: My dad was diagnosed as having a gastrointestinal stromal tumor (GIST). He was on chemotherapy medication for almost a year and then, in September, he had surgery to remove a very large tumor and a dozen or so smaller tumors from his abdomen. About a month ago, a scan revealed the cancer had spread: stomach, liver, kidneys. His case was transferred to another hospital and he started some different chemotherapy drugs. There are a lot of unknowns ahead.

I just returned home from visiting my parents for a few days. My dad gets around, but the disease and its treatment wipe him out quickly, so he spends a lot of time in his recliner. Apparently, my mom was watching a show that featured Quilts of Valor. My dad made some comment along the lines of “Those guys get a quilt and their wife isn’t even a quilter.” At least cancer hasn’t made him soft!

I could apply for a quilt from Quilts of Valor for my dad. He’s a Vietnam veteran. On top of that, it’s possible (probable?) that exposure to agent orange during that war caused the cancer. But, I told my that I wanted to make him a quilt, and drew up three color schemes using Ohio Star blocks and 4-patch chain blocks (modified Irish Chain? Does this block have a name?)

He picked this one. It’s made of a 5×6 grid of 12-inch blocks to finish at a large throw size of 60×72 inches.


I would love to have this finished by his birthday May 5th. That’s exactly 6 weeks from now. I don’t think I can complete this quilt on that timeline by myself, but I was hoping you would help?

The color scheme is “red, white and blue”: think deep blue and bright red, like the American flag.

These are the blocks I need:



I will post a quick tutorial for these in the next day or so, but here are the quick fabric requirements:

Chain Block:
white: (2) strips, 2.5 x 10 inches; (4) squares, 4.5 inches
blue: (1) 2.5 x 10 inches; (1) 2.5 x 5 inches
red: (1) 2.5 x 10 inches; (1) 2.5 x 5 inches

Step 1: Sew one long white strip to the long blue strip along the long edge. Sew the other long white strip to the long red strip.
Step 2: Cut the strips apart every 2.5 inches (You will have pairs of red or blue + white that are 2.5 x 4.5 inches)
Step 3: Sew the short red and blue strips together along the 5-inch edge.
Step 4: Cut the red and blue piece in the middle to make two pairs of red + blue for the center of the block.
Step 5: Use pairs and white squares to assemble the block as seen above.

Star Block: 
For the center: 3.25 inch square, white or low volume with red or blue print
For the corners around the center: (2) 3-inch squares (red or blue, depending on the block), cut on the diagonal to make (4) triangles
–Sew the long edge of each triangle to a side of the center square. Trim the unit to 4.5 inches.
Quarter square triangles: (2) 5.25 inch squares, white; (1) 5.25 inch square, red; (1) 5.25 inch square, blue
Block corners: (4) 4.5 inch squares, red or blue, depending on the block

If you’d like to help, I would be forever grateful. Here’s how:

1. Make a block or two and send it my way. Leave a message, or email me at and I will send you my address. I’d like all blocks in hand by April 16th at the very latest (3.5 weeks from now).

2. Send me some fabrics in “American flag” colors of deep blue and bright red. Both of these colors are severely under-represented in my stash. A 2.5 x 15 inch strip or a 9-inch square in these colors would go a long way! Again, send me an email if you can help out with this and I’ll send you my address.

3. This is a long shot, but if you are a longarmer, or know of one would would do this project on the cheap the week after Easter, let me know. I can certainly manage a quilt of this size on my Bernina, but a long arm would be quicker!

Bill’s Star

My friend Bill wanted a handmade quilt for his bed. I can’t argue with that. If you are lucky enough to know a quilter who will make you a quilt for your bed (or you ARE a quilter), just know that you own a treasure because there are a LOT of hours that go into making a quilt that large. (I think that you should read this post on the value of a quilt.)

Bill is a dear friend, and when his Facebook status asked if anyone knew a quilter, I was more than happy to volunteer my own skills.

Bill sent me this photo as an example of the colors he wanted. Rather than go with all solids, I found the Michael Miller Krystal prints at The Fat Quarter Shop. Ivory, burgundy, and teal (which is really more “spruce”, I think) were perfect!

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I found this pattern for a Single Star Wreath on Serendipity Patchwork. The pattern was for 6-inch blocks and a finished quilt of 42 inches. I modified the idea to make 14-inch blocks and a quilt that finishes at 98 inches on a side!


I love how the angles of the blocks give the illusion of a star in a circle.

Bill's circle star quilt

I made some huge templates to get the isosceles triangle blocks and worked with oversized half square triangles. It was a fun challenge to make blocks of this large scale.

Bill's circle star quilt

The next photo shows the color a little more accurately and you can see the quilting, which was done by Pat Cole on her long arm machine. The size of this quilt was more than I was comfortable attempting on my little domestic Bernina!

Bill's circle star quilt

I kept is simple with the back and used a single length of 108″ backing fabric with a subtle tone on tone ivory print.

Bill's circle star quilt

Bill, I hope this keeps you cozy and happy. It was joy making this for you, friend.


Messes and Mess-Ups Link Up: Damn Curtains

The creative journey, I would argue, is even more important than those amazing finishes. So why aren’t we more forthcoming with all that happens before we post that pretty picture of our latest finish?  Sometimes it’s easy to forget that mistakes and messes are part of the creative process. I wanted to start this link up for us to say, “I’ve been there, too!”

I thought this would be a weekly feature here on Sewing by Moonlight, but I think monthly is going to be a better fit. So the next time your sewing space is a disaster, or you accidentally sewed that piece on upside down, take a photo, and come share it here. We’ll share our messes and our mess-ups because we’re all on this journey together!


These damn curtains.


These are my living room curtains. I had such high hopes for them. I still have high hopes for them, but fixing them is not currently at the top of my priority list. I’m leaving them up because I need something up, and “that’ll do.”

They look okay in the photo above, don’t they? Don’t look too close though …


Ack! The one on the right is too short. It was WAY too short because I cut it without checking my measurements, and then I sewed the piece back on with a French seam, but I didn’t have enough for the curtain to drop below the trim where I want it. It’s just a wee bet too short.


And I can’t really lengthen it because the French seam is pretending to be the hem, but it’s actually disguising where I cut the curtain off too short. Sigh.


The other one, as you can see in the first photo, is completely unhemmed, but if I do hem it, it becomes too short. At this point, my plan is to removed the part that I added and then add a solid band to both curtains. Eventually.

On the quilting side of things: please tell me you’ve done this before. This is the back of a quilt along the edge. The batting flipped over and I didn’t notice and I quilted it right into my quilt. Enter seam ripper.


Your turn. What have you had to unsew recently?


Messes and Mess-Ups: Link Up

I love this online community of creative people. There is so much amazing talent out there; so many inspiring projects to spark our own creativity. I’m thrilled that there are link-ups specifically designed so that this community can share projects, trade ideas, and inspire one another. Whether it’s a sneak peek of a work in progress, or our most recent finish, those link-ups are like “Show and Tell” for grown ups. And everyone loves Show and Tell day!

My recent unintentional blogging hiatus happened partly because I didn’t make visiting my own sharing space a priority, but also because I didn’t really have any awesome finishes to share.

But I started this blog because of this community, because I wanted inspire as well as be inspired. Admittedly, though, I wasn’t really feeling very inspiring. My sewing room is a disaster and I have more mistakes than finishes.

You know what, though? The messes and the mess-ups are part of the process of my creativity! In pulling fabric, and cutting, and piecing, and all of it, the mess happens. And sometimes I screw up. And that’s all okay. Sure I love the satisfaction of finishing that final stitch in the binding, but the joy is in the doing, in each step that brings a little stack of fabric ever closer to a finished project. Even the steps that involve a cutting mat buried under fabric, another date with the seam ripper, and maybe (sometimes) a swear word or two are part of that journey.

Finishes are great, and I love looking at your pretty works in progress, but with that kind of input ruling the blogs I read, it’s easy to feel like I’m the only one who messes up and makes a mess. Regularly. 

I’m putting this link up out there because some days I use my seam ripper more than my sewing machine. I want us to have a place where we share the gritty, frustrating part of this process that we love. On those days where you feel like everyone else is churning out beautiful finished projects and you can’t find your rotary cutter, come here. You’re not alone.

I do hope you’ll link up your messes and mess-ups, and then go visit someone else and tell them you have days like that, too!


Hey! Did you know that when you are paper piecing you are supposed to place fabrics right sides together? You should not sew the wrong side of one fabric to the right side of another.


My daughter designed her first quilt, and I agreed to sew it together for her. I put these two pieces right sides together, but then I sewed them together along the wrong edge. I think my seam ripper needs a name. We spend a lot of time together.

wrong side mess up


I’m making a chevron quilt for a friend, composed of 352 4.5-inch HSTs and squares. I calculated that I needed 160 pink/cream HSTs and 144 mint/cream HSTs. However, when I ordered the fabric, I only accounted for the cream with the pink, not the cream with the mint. I didn’t realize that I didn’t have enough fabric until I was cutting it out. That left me with either 1. Redesign the quilt or 2. Order more fabric and wait for it to come in before resuming cutting out the quilt.

I redesigned. I think it will still work out well, and I’m sure she’ll be happy with it, but it was definitely a careless miscalculation on my part!

Sarahs quilt redesign

March and Messes

Hey, it’s March 1st. March! I looked at this space yesterday and was shocked to realize that the last time I managed to  get myself together enough to have something to say here was January 15th. Six weeks ago! This was an unintended break, but I have some things I DO want to show you over the next few days and weeks.

IMG_1429 IMG_1451 IMG_1468 IMG_1565 IMG_144 moustache shirt

One of the primary reasons I started this blog two years ago was to have a place to trade inspiration in the sewing and quilting community. I’ve really learned a lot and developed my own creativity in from browsing what others are doing. I sort of feel like if I disappear from this blog I’m just taking and not giving. That’s a relationship that will never work.

I want to post more about the process we all go through while creating.

Would you be interested in a link up for Messes and Mess-ups?

I love seeing finished projects. I’m inspired by the huge pool of talent I see online. But sometimes I feel a little bit overwhelmed because everyone seems to be churning out beautiful, finished quilts, bags and other projects at top speed while I can barely find my cutting table for the mess stacked on top of it and I just sewed another block together upside down!

I thought if we could share about what happens before we reach the finish, including the mistakes and messy sewing spaces, we might understand that this Road of Creativity is bumpy sometimes, but we’re traveling with friends.


What do you say? Would you join me?