St. Louis MQG Cares

Another I-actually-finished-this-awhile-ago-but-haven’t-posted-it finish.

My local Modern Quilt Guild participated in a charity sewing project at the end of last year and the beginning of this. We made pillow covers and gave them away to people receiving treatment at the Siteman Cancer Center sites here in the St. Louis area. You can read more about the project on the STLMQG Cares page.

We wanted to use high quality, beautiful fabrics and finish them in a way that would make the covers last.


The envelope backs are double layer on each side and the pillow covers are finished with French seams.


Members of our guild gave the first round of pillows away on Valentine’s Day and another round a little later.



Check out more great finishes!

Crazy Mom Quilts

Thank Goodness It’s Finished Friday

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.

IMG_1449 IMG_1450

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!

The laundry basket project

When one has demonstrated some sewing talent, there are sometimes requests for help with unexpected projects.

A friend has a frame that sets on some wheels and holds a bag, which she uses to cart her laundry from her house to her line.  The old bag had started to rip along one of the corners, so she asked me if I could help her construct a new one.

I used a home dec weight fabric, hoping that it would last longer than the previous laundry cart bag, which was made with a lighter weight fabric.  I also doubled the thickness where the bag attaches to the frame.

The previous bag was permanently sewn to the frame, but I wanted to make this one removable in case she wanted to take it off and wash it.  I used long strips of 1.5 inch velcro.  Since I didn’t presently have a load of wet laundry to see if the velcro would hold, I used a small child instead.  It seems to work.

The velcro is simply attached to the outside of the bag, and the upper sections fold over the frame to secure.

And my friend has her laundry cart back in action.

FINISHING something new

I’m so happy to have progressed all the way through trying something new to actually finishing something new.

The result of my first ever attempt at embroidery, the hoop I made for the Bee a {Modern} Swapper swap was sent off in the mail early this week.  It took me most of the month to actually finish it, but much of that was simply because I was having a stare-down with the partially completed hoop, not progressing only because I hadn’t done it before.  Once I actually achieved some forward momentum, it actually went pretty smoothly with just a few snafus that resulted in me cutting out my stitches and starting again.

The first part went pretty well because it was essentially quilting at the base, and I’ve done that before.  I traced the inside of my hoop and drew a hexagon.  I divided it so that I was left with six triangles, what I’m calling a split hexagon.

I used osnaburg for the base because it has a nice, natural color and a slightly nubby texture that I thought would work great with the bright colors I used for the triangles.

I matched a similarly colored embroidery floss with each of the triangles and this is where my project sat for a couple week.  I was paralyzed by what I didn’t know how to do next.  I got a tremendous amount of help from the embroidery picture tutorials at Rocksea when I finally started hand stitching.

I started out with a very basic running stitch around each of the triangles.  Above each triangle, I added a lazy daisy with 6 petals.  I wanted to use some French knots in the center and this is where things went awry.  My French knots were all weird and messy looking and coming out cleanly at all.  Frustrating.  I debated whether just to make it work, but eventually, cut them all out, reviewed the French knot tutorial, and tried again.

Much better!

Next up: leaves.  I decided to try a raised fishbone stitch, which resulted in a cute, fat little leaf on each side of my flowers.

To finish off the design, I drew some freehand swirls with my disappearing ink pen on each side of my flowers and used a back stitch to go over them in the color of the adjacent triangle.

Here, you can see all the stitches that I used for this project.

I finished the back with a piece of cardboard covered with batting and fabric.

Hope my partner likes it; I really put a lot of effort into this one!

Two pillows in two days

Look at me go!  This is the second pillow cover I’ve finished in as many days.  And this project wasn’t even on The List.  (Perhaps that is not such a good thing and I really should be tackling the item that are on The List.)  Now the question is, can I be satisfied with two pillow covers, or now that I’ve begun will I have to continue and make two more for the remaining pillows that are “too match-y” against the couch.

For this one, I used a pile of half square triangles to make a chevron pattern in that green-blue-red color scheme of my living room (that I’m not really in love with, as I mentioned earlier).

The back has a line of the same fabrics to give it a little extra interest.

I like this one much better than the first.  And even better news: I even like that first one a little more now that it has a friend.  Perhaps I shouldn’t have gone with such a dark background the first time ’round and I’m happier now that it’s countered by this lighter color choice.

Oh, and in case you’re interested, here’s a zoomed out photo so you can see that rug that dictates my color choices in this room.  That rug I don’t love, yet don’t yet hate enough to bother to replace it and repaint the room.

I’m likely just overthinking the whole thing, as I’ve been known to do.  My 4-year-old loves both the new pillow covers and is beyond excited for brand new pillows.  She wanted to take them both to quiet time with her.

Thank Goodness it’s Finished Friday (on Saturday)

I finished this yesterday and took the photos and everything.  I intended to write this post last night, but I got into my bed with both girls to read stories and then, I just didn’t feel motivated to get out again.  This is what I get for staying up past midnight the night before that.  Perhaps I need to think about some more regular sleep habits?  Am I the only who does this?

Anyway, when we bought our living room furniture four years ago, it came with these 4 pillows made of the same fabric as the couch.  I always intended to make covers for them, but then never got around to it.

So, yesterday, I pulled out this warm colors dresden that I had made some time ago, which held a place on The List (the to do list) for several weeks, but then I removed it from The List because I just didn’t know what I wanted to do with it.

Well, turns out, it wanted to become a pillow.

While I like the design of this pillow, I’m not really sure I love the color scheme.  However, I made it to match the colors in my living room, which come from a rug we have that is sort of a wine red, navy, green, and natural.   The real issue, I think, is I need to redo my entire living room: repaint, and a new rug that I love, but I don’t think my husband would be okay with that right now!  Ha!

I do love the dresden itself, though!

(Anybody want to come and repaint my living room?  Then I’ll make a new pillow to match!)

Edit:  I made this pillow a buddy, and now I actually like it a little more.  Just needed some “balance,” I guess?

Purple penguin mug rug

My cousin requested I make a mug rug for her friend’s wedding shower.  The friend likes purple and penguins, and she showed me a picture she had pinned of something she liked.

I didn’t have the picture available, so I just (penguin) winged it.  This is what I came up with.

I practiced some free motion loops on the penguin side of the mug rug and outlined the shapes on the pinwheel side.

The back is more of the penguin fabric (aren’t those baby penguins darling?) and the binding is a purple from Riley Blake.

This was sent of by Priority mail earlier this week, so it should already be at its new home in time for the shower this weekend!

I’m linking up with Thank Goodness It’s Finished Friday, hosted by Blossom Heart Quilts this week.

But do you know what’s not finished?  The Montana tutorial for the Road Trip Quilt Along.  I modified the block a little to eliminate some weird quilt math that resulted from sizing up the block from 9 inches to 12 inches, so it’s taken me longer than expected.  I hope to have it posted by the end of the day!


Ruffled curtain tie backs tutorial

I mentioned in my works in progress post that I did not make any progress on making curtain tie backs, as requested by a friend.  Well, now I have.

But seriously.  They’re tie backs.  For curtains.  They have ruffles.  It’s not really very interesting.  Functional, sure.  But interesting?  Notsomuch.  However, I thought maybe you have curtains (perhaps you made them?) and you want to make some pretty ruffled tie backs to match.  Maybe you’re just not sure how to go about it.  Well, I can help.

Here ya go.

Alright.  First up: construct the top part.

Here’s what I did.

Fold the fabric along the length and then in half so there are 2 folded edges.  Then cut out the shape.  In this case, the patterns was 12 inches wide, so when the tie back is unfolded, the fabric is 24 inches long across the length.  The pattern tapers across the length from 4 inches at the fold on the short side to 2.5 inches.  The curve is very gradual near the fold and increases in steepness about halfway across the length.

When the fabric is unfolded, you’ll have a shape that looks like this.

Fold that in half lengthwise and iron along the fold to make a nice crease.  Carefully fold the edges in about 1/2 inch along the curve on each side and press.  Do the same with the two straight ends.  Fold the shape along the center crease.  Set this piece aside and make the ruffle.

For my ruffle, I wanted a piece that was twice the length of the top portion of the curtain tie backs, in this case, 48 inches.  Since I didn’t have enough fabric for a piece 48 inches long, I cut 2 shorter pieces, 24 inches long x 4 inches wide and connected them.  You could cut them wider than 4 inches if you wanted a larger ruffle.  I pressed the seam open and then zig-zag stitched along each side of the seam so that I would not have any unfinished edges.

Now, fold the lower edge up about 1/4 inch and press.  Fold it up once more to enclose the raw edge and press again.  Stitch close to the folded edge to complete the hem of the ruffle.

Do the same with the two short sides.  Fold inward twice to enclose the raw edge, then stitch close to the fold.  You now have a long piece of fabric with three finished edges.

Time to ruffle the ruffle.  Set the stitch length on your sewing machine to the longest setting.  Increase the thread tension as high as it will go.  Place your ruffle piece in your sewing machine and sew along the length, about 1/4 inch from the remaining raw edge.

Return your machine tension and stitch length to normal.  When you removed your ruffle piece from the machine, leave the thread trails about 6 inches long.  With one hand grasp the bobbin thread only and slide the fabric so it continues to gather the ruffle.  You can slide from the opposite side as well, if you need to.  Continue gathering the fabric until the ruffle piece is the length of the top portion of your curtain tie back.

Place the ruffle between the two layers of the top portion of the tie back, tucked inside about 1/2 inch (it works well to line the raw edge of the ruffle up with the raw edge of the top portion that was folded in and pressed).  Pin all the layers together, catching the top layer, the ruffle and the lower layer with your pins.

I used a lot of pins, placing one every 2 inches or less.  I wanted to make sure the layers didn’t shift as I was sewing them together.

Beginning along one short side near the fold, sew very close to the edge to close the opening.  When your needle gets close to the lower edge, stop with your needle down in the fabric, lift the presser foot, and turn the tie back to sew along the length of the curve to enclose the ruffle, again stopping with your needle down when it arrives near the final open edge.  Lift the presser foot again, turn the fabric, then sew the final open edge closed.

Time to finish this off!  I was making these for a friend and she bought these little plastic rings to attach to the tie back.  If you don’t have them and don’t want to go buy them, you could use a small loop of fabric, or a piece of strong string, or a little loop of thin elastic.

I attached them by setting my zig zag stitch to a wide width and no length and going back and forth several times.  Do the same thing on the other side.

Now do the same thing and make another one.


And look: no unfinished edges.  All looks very professional, yes?  You can do it!

So, was this useful?  This project was a special request from a friend, and I honestly do not even know if people are using tie backs in their decor.  This is what happens when you don’t have cable and no longer get to watch HGTV!

Festival of Half Square Triangles: winter table runner

Today, at noon, is the final day to enter a project in the Festival of Half Square Triangles at Canoe Ridge Creations.  And here it is, nearly 10am and I am writing this little post about a project I just finished last night very early this morning, so that I can play, too.

Yes, there are some great prizes up for grabs, but with well over 100 entries already, I realize my chances of actually winning any of them are slim.  However, I still wanted to finish this up and link up over there because these sorts of “link parties” are really great for the community aspect of them; it’s tough to get that in the digital world.

I’m really glad that this festival is happening because it provided the motivation to finish a half square triangle project that I started (and had hoped to finish) way back in January.  I thought I was being all sneaky and clever posting a sneak peek of my completed half square triangles.  They looked lovely, and I thought I would unveil the final project shortly after that.  Um … yeah, that didn’t happen.

Earlier this week, the link party for the HST festival opened up and I didn’t think I would be able to finish this project in time.  I had something to strive for, though, and some time shortly after midnight this morning, I completed the binding of my winter table runner.  Hooray!!

I wanted this to be an obvious “winter” decor item without being holiday themed so I chose to use purple, navy, ice blue, gray and white.  I designed it so that the HSTs of the same color (purple) would form the background for some snowflake appliqués.

That background purple, which I also used in the binding, is great because it has some tone on tone variation so, in person, it really adds some great texture and dimension to the project.  It’s Kona dimensions purple.  In this next photo, you can also see a little bit of the sparkle in the snowflakes.  This white, which I used for the snowflakes and also the outer white border, is Michael Miller Fairy Frost glitz zirconium.

I knew that straight line quilting would be the way to go with this project, but when I was invited to a sew/play date (which I mentioned but never posted about) with Kim, Amy, and Katie, I sought their input and they agreed that some echo quilting following the lines of the chevrons would be lovely.

The back is just pieced with some of the leftover and a few extra half square triangles.

I’m really happy with how this project turned out, and it looks great on my dining table.  Too bad it’s not really appropriate decor for April!  Ha!  At least it will be ready to go when December rolls around!


April showers bring May flowers

I recently helped host a baby sprinkle (like a baby shower, but smaller in scale) for my friend Laura.  We didn’t go all out with a theme, per se, but my co-hostess and I tossed around the idea of “April showers bring May flowers.”  The shower was in April; Laura is expecting a little girl in May … makes sense, right?

Anyway, I put together a couple of do it yourself decorations to represent the theme.  The first was a raindrop garland, following the tutorial at Made.

It was beyond easy to make, and came together pretty quickly.  I took the various shades of blue out of a couple multi packs of felt sheets and stacked two together at a time.  I drew raindrops of various sizes on the top felt sheet and then cut them out.  After that, I just made a pile of mixed raindrops next to my sewing machine and grabbed them in a mostly random manner as I stuck them through my machine.

It is a little delicate since the thread between each raindrop is just polyester sewing machine thread.  This garland would have been stronger if I had sewn the raindrops together top to bottom, so felt was always touching felt without any open space between.  But, I wanted the raindrops to hang down in the same direction and not end up with upside down raindrops.  Or, I could have attached each hanging down raindrop to a stronger piece of ribbon or string that extended along the length of the garland.  Next time, perhaps, but you can keep that in mind if you make one.

So that covers the “showers” part of the theme.  You can see the “flowers” part of theme in  the raindrop garland pictures.  This was also a pretty simple project, and my 3-year-old even helped with part of it!

I think I saw this idea in Disney Family Fun magazine (could have been Martha Stewart), but for the life of me, I can’t find it now to confirm that, nor could I locate this project online.  Anyway.  I bought the flower shaped paper punch specifically for this project, and I could definitely see myself making this project again.  It was easy, fun, and turned out really great!

You’ll need:
A styrofoam wreath form
3 yards (depending on the size of your wreath) of wide ribbon
a length of ribbon for hanging
flower shaped paper punch
various colors of scrapbook paper or lightweight cardstock
pins (I used the jewel head kind with the pretty colors!)
scissors (to cut ribbon)

I started out by punching out a pile of paper flower shapes because I wanted all my materials ready to go.  If you prefer you could probably punch them out as you go to avoid having any extra flowers lying about.

I had … (ahem) … “help” with this step.

Next, prepare your wreath form by wrapping it in ribbon.  I started out by securing one end  of ribbon to the back of the wreath with 3 pins and then wrapping around them to hold it in place.  I wrapped it pretty snuggly, and just let the ribbon form little gathers as I went around.  When I had covered the entire wreath with ribbon, I simply secured the loose end to the back of the wreath with a few more pins.

Now, start pinning on your flowers.  Just stick a pin through the center of the paper flower and into the styrofoam wreath.  I started out using single flowers and then I realized that my flower punch was designed so that if I staggered two paper flower on top of one another, I had a perfect double flower.  So I took them all out and started again.  You could cover the entire wreath if you were so inclined, but I “artfully” (ha ha) left some of the ribbon exposed.

Then I made another one (but somehow failed to take a picture of it).  One adorned the door to greet guests as they entered the party.  The other decorated the mantle with the raindrop garland.  They were a great backdrop for Laura opening her surprises for her baby girl!