Christmas finishes

A couple of special Christmas present finishes today:

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First up, this adorable gnome pillow! The pattern is by Kristy at Quiet Play (maven of all things paper piecing). I actually first spotted it last week when Amanda at What the Bobbin? posted a test block she’d done for Kristy. I told Amanda I was in the market for just such a pattern and the next thing I knew Kristy sent it to me! Quilt friends! Gotta love ’em.

The gnome pattern isn’t available yet but you can find many other adorable paper-piecing patterns in her shop.

I used this great Anna Maria Horner print on the back.

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A couple of little procedural tidbits you might find useful:

  • I implemented a couple of straight-line quilting tips Rachel at Stitched in Color posted last week:
    • start by quilting a loose grid and then gradually fill it in 
    • increase the stitch length to 3-4

She had other fantastic tips but those are the 2 that were new to me and that I specifically tested on this pillow. Now, obviously, a pillow is rather easier to quilt than a large quilt. But nonetheless I think my quilting results were improved and I’ll definitely be trying these tips again on a larger quilt soon.

  • I’ve been using 2 1/4 inch binding (rather than 2 1/2) when I do small projects like this and I think it’s rather nicer. It’s a small difference but I like it.
  • Purely hypothetically, a “friend” told me that if she (hypothetically) bled on this pillow it came out with a little scrub by a cold, damp cloth sprayed with Shout spray n’ wash. Purely hypothetically because I of course would never bleed on one of my projects. Ahem.

It should come as a surprise to no one that I also made another Noodle-head divided basket. I know. I love these!

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I switched it up a little this time by using different fabrics for the front panel and pocket (last time they were constructed from the same fabric) and by using different fabrics on either side of the divider. You can see my previous version here.

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I used mostly Anna Maria Horner fabrics because the recipient is a bit of a fan.

Once again, I lined the pocket.

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I don’t know why I get so much joy out of that little detail.

I won’t be spending much time on the computer for the next couple of weeks, as I’m sure you guys won’t be either. I hope you have a very blessed holiday season and I can’t wait to sew with you again next year! In particular, I am very excited for you guys to quilt-a-long with me!

Here’s a recap of the schedule:

  • November /December – fabric requirements & selection
  • January 6 – cutting
  • January 13 – assembling the HSTs and hourglass unit
  • January 20 – assembling the strips
  • January 27 – piecing the X
  • February 3 – adding the top and bottom borders
  • February 10 – quilting & finishing
  • February 24 – final link party celebration (with at least one giveaway, possibly more!)

See you next year!

(Linking up with Crazy Mom and, appropriately, Kristy at Quiet Play for her Paper Piecing Party).

Pushme, Pullme blog hop

The talented Michelle from Factotum of Arts designed a super cool quilt block that I volunteered to test for her.

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I had been looking for a great block that could read masculine enough for a set of pillows for a bachelor friend of mine. (Can’t say more just in case he reads this. Highly unlikely since this is a quilting blog, but I don’t want to ruin Christmas.)

This pattern was fun, fast and easy. The block finishes 15 inches so a quilt top would come together really fast. I love how dynamic the arrows are. Until quilting I mostly saw the inward dark arrows but now after quilting the lighter outward arrows seem to take center stage.

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After becoming obsessed with sketch stitching for appliqué I decided to try sketch quilting. Do you like it? I love it for these pillows but I’m undecided on whether it’d be a good idea for a full quilt. It’d be awfully time consuming! I was surprised by how long this took. It basically multiplied my quilting time by 4.

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I used this amazing paint by number print from Lush Uptown on the back. Couldn’t bear to cut it up for a quilt, even though in general I enjoy the effect deconstructed large scale prints can have in quilts. But now I have some good scraps from making these pillows so I’m sure they’ll pop up again. I’m pretty sure there is a paint by number of a woodland scene I did as a child that is exactly this percentage done!

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As a side note, this is the first time I’ve used binding on a pillow and I LOVE it. I made all the pillows in my house but none of them are pieced or quilted… and none have binding. Looks like I’ve got some work to do.

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I reluctantly admit that this block would be really cool in all solids. 😉 I can’t wait to check out what the other blog hoppers came up with! Be sure to visit them and see:

Ashley @ Wasn’t Quilt in a Day
Kristel @ Work-in-Progress Girl
Mara @ Secretly Stitching

Oh, one more thing. Thank you guys so much for your kind support of my first real quilt design. I can’t tell you how much more fun quilting has become since I found you guys to share it with. Watch for a 2014 quilt-a-long announcement soon…!!

Linking up with Fresh Sewing Day at Lily’s Quilts!