Musings from the mind of a modern day Sue.

Posts tagged ‘pillow’

Emma’s Pillow

Learning a new craft is challenging.  Teaching can also be challenging, trying to explain basic sewing principles in easy to understand terms.  My granddaughter, Emma, has been a willing learner, but she exhibits frustration when she doesn’t do something right.  When that happens, she needs a break and I allow for it.

Today’s project was a small charm square pillow with a hand stitched initial.  Emma has a keen sense of color.  She spent quite a bit of time selecting fabrics from my stash, selecting fabrics that appealed to her and looked nice next to each other.  Today’s lesson involved learning how to use rulers and a rotary cutter, including handling the cutter safely.  We handled the rotary cutter together, knowing that she needs close supervision until she is more skilled.


sewing the pillow together

I also allowed Emma to practice her previously learned skills.  She wound a bobbin, threaded the sewing machine, and stitched quarter-inch seams.  She also learned a new skill: how to use a seam ripper.  Interestingly, she realized during the sewing that she had veered out of the seamline.  She stopped and immediately reached for the seam ripper to tear out part of the seam.  No hesitation on her part to unsew and resew.  That may be the perfectionist coming out in her.

Emma completed the pillow project over the course of the day by taking breaks to do other things.  At one point, I thought that she had stitched enough for the day, putting the project aside and shutting down the sewing machine.  Later, I found Emma back in the sewing room hand stitching her initial onto the pillow top.  It is exciting to see her developing an interest in handiwork.


Emma’s Pillow

She’s already asking what our next project will be.  I’m ready to teach her how to cut out a paper pattern and stitch together a piece of clothing.  I made my first pair of pants in 4-H when I was 9 years old.  My plan is a pair of flannel pajama pants.  Emma is also learning to knit, from her other Grandma.  Someday, she will realize how fortunate she is to have learned these skills as a child, since many of our young people are not learning them.  If you’re a sewist, quilter, knitter, or embroider, pass that skill onto a younger person.  We owe it to the next generation.

Until next time…happy stitching!


Stitching Pillows

I’ve been stitching together some pillows. Pillows make great small projects for trying out a quilt block, using up scraps, or just the satisfaction of completing a project. I’ve made three pillow projects in the last couple of weeks to give as gifts.

My purple string blocks, back a couple of posts, were made into an 18-inch pillow cover as a wedding gift for my nephew. I like to make the pillows with openings in the back, so that the cover can be removed and cleaned. Here is the finished pillow.

Purple String Pillow

Purple String Pillow

I also made a 16-inch pillow cover from string blocks using woodland fabrics. The fabrics are leftover strips from other projects that I save in small totes. I just sort out colors that fit with my theme and make the string blocks. This pillow top is also for a wedding gift for a co-worker. Unfortunately, I have a habit of finishing gifts at the last-minute and forget to snap pictures of the finished project before gifting. Here is the finished top before adding the back.

Woodland String pillow top

Woodland String pillow top

Over the last two days, I completed a third pillow. This one is a wedding gift for another co-worker. Her favorite color is aqua, which is a limited color in my fabric stash. Being frugal, I decided to use some fabric scraps, adding in a few other shades of blue. I picked up a yard of fabric for the backing at Wal-mart. This time, I didn’t make string blocks. The scraps included several 3-1/2 inch and 5-inch blocks cut up from other projects following the Scraptherapy process for using up your stash by Joan Ford. I also found an online tutorial on how to make a flange pillow edging. Although the tutorial suggested inserting a zipper in the back, I chose to make my usual cover with an opening.

Aqua Flange Pillow

Aqua Flange Pillow

Here is a look at the back.

Flange pillow back

Flange pillow back

As you can see, there is an opening across the entire back of the pillow. The edges have a 1-inch double fold hem and the two pieces overlap each other about seven inches. The pillow form can easily be removed and the pillow top laundered.

It feels great to finish these projects, since they have put other quilt projects on hold. I’ll put these pillows into gift bags with a little tissue paper and get back to piecing a challenge quilt that is due soon.


Christmas Projects

Oh how I wish that I had more time for sewing and quilting. At this time of year, I begin to feel overwhelmed by the projects I planned to make and the time left to complete them. Blogging has taken a back seat to my sewing machine. Besides Christmas projects, I have two bridal gifts to complete and the regular guild projects to which I have committed myself. Besides all that, I accomplished no sewing during the work week because of other commitments that sprang up.

I was able to finish a string pieced pillow for my niece last week-end. She is getting married in December and her bridal shower is on  Black Friday. She loves the color purple and feathers. I pulled a great fabric from my stash for the backing that has purple feathers all over it. I pulled out all my leftover strips, sorting out the purple ones. Using 5-inch muslin squares, I stitched and flipped to cover the muslin square, mixing up the dark, medium and light strips. The blocks were trimmed to 4-1/2 inches and sixteen of them were stitched together to make a pillow front. I prepared a backing with a zipper and popped a pillow form inside. Love how this turned out so much, that I have abandoned another pillow project  I had started for a co-worker and plan to make another one of these for her. She just go married last week-end.

String pieced Pillow

String pieced pillow

I continue to work on Christmas projects, with so many to complete some will likely not be finished. Namely, my Advent Calendars have so much left to complete that I do not sense that they will be ready by Saturday. I finished a couple more of the wool ornaments the week before last, as well as, one today. I plan to stitch together the quilt trees on Friday, when my sisters and I get together for a sewing day. The mitten and pear ornaments are my favorite thus far. The snowflake turned out better than I thought that it would, after the wrong placement of colors. The vintage pearl buttons add a nice touch.


Wool Mitten Ornament


Wool Pear Ornament


Wool Snowflake Ornament

I am still working on making vintage aprons that will be gifts for co-workers. Today, I spent time cutting out fabric for three more of them. But, rather than talk about them, I really need to get back to the sewing room and do some stitching. Every minute counts when time is short.

Happy Stitching!

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