school daze

My big boy’s first full day of “school” is today. I’m a wreck. According to the lady at daycare, whom I just called for reassurance, he’s doing fine. Still a little shy, but calmly working on his art project for the day.

We did a few hour test run on Friday and I had to watch him cry when I left. The most horrible 5 minutes of my life, thank you very much. But he was happily eating his snack with the other kids when I returned to pick him up. It actually took us 30 minutes to leave. He saw me come in, waved, and turned back to finish his snack. No grand reunion. No running into my arms. No drama whatsoever. Just a little wave, then back to the cookies and crackers.

Thankfully, I will rarely have to handle the drop off. Poor B, he’s got that job. I get to be the rescuer.

Anyway, Liam only needs a few supplies to keep at school: diapers, wipes, sippy cup, extra change of clothes (just in case), and a blanket and pillow for naptime. Gasp! I sent my sweet love monkey to school without a pillow on Friday. The horror. Fortunately Children’s Services was not called in. This time.

Three guesses what I did this weekend.

Using fabric scraps left over from Liam’s quilt and an adorable orange fat quarter from Walmart, I whipped up this 14″ square pillow in about 5 hours. I’m slow, normal people would likely have finished something this simple in 3.

liam's pillow

The one piece envelope pillowcase is removable and made similarly to this.

Liam's pillow  Liam's pillow

Basically, I made a 32″x15″ rectagle quilt then folded it and sewed the side seams. The process was as follows. First layer the quilt sandwich batting, pieced top face up, and quilt back face down. Sew the 15″ seams and turn the quilt right sides out, so that the 15″ edges are finished. Next do your quilting. I did simple straight lines at 1/2″ spacing. I did a single line of straight stretch stitch 1/2″ from the finished edges and regular straight stitch for the rest. I really like the heavy look of the straight stretch, but it seemed like a crazy waste of thread and time (took at least twice as long as the regular).

Liam's pillow  Liam's pillow

I also took the opportunity to play with the alphabet stitches on my Curvy.

Liam's pillow

Hope the cuteness of the pillow makes up for my negligence last week. Cheers!

belated project quilting pillow

So, there’s this cool quilt blog contest going on, it’s Project Quilting at Kim’s Crafty Apple. The gist is that every other week a new challenge is posted. You have one week to complete a project and post photos of the finished work. Judges and the general public then vote for their favorite.

I tried to enter for Challenge 1, but it took me three weeks to complete. So, obviously, I missed the deadline. I’m pleased with the finished pillow though and really enjoyed using the challenge constraints to kick-start some creative thinking.

project quilting season 1 challenge 1

The project requirements were to use 50 3″x5″ rectangles and a maximum of two 1/2-yard cuts of fabric to make the entire quilt.

The rectangles were all cut from stash scraps, two of 24 fabrics and two singles, and the quilt back 1/2-yard was some stash muslin. I bought the white background fabric at Walmart.

project quilting season 1 challenge 1

The pillow top pattern was inspired by the Joseph’s Coat Quilt Along at Don’t look now! Seriously, how amazing is that quilt? Even I know that I could never tackle a full-sized quilt right now, so I made a single block. Actually, I guess that’s two blocks with two extra connecting pieces,but all of the pieces are directly sewn to one 18″x18″ square of fabric. My rings are also smaller than those in the tutorial, I set my compass to a 4″ radius. When was the last time you used a compass?

project quilting season 1 challenge 1

Rather than sewing the applique by hand, I machine zigzagged 1/8″ from the edge, to allow for fraying. This technique was chosen out of fear. Fear that the points wouldn’t meet and fear that hand work would “take too long”. The rag edge definitely hides the mismatched points and gives a softer look to the finished top.

The front was quilted with the hand-quilting stitch on my sewing machine. Of course, I didn’t have my manual handy and totally guessed at settings. Used the wrong foot for most and struggled upping and upping the tensions and making a general mess of the back.  When I finally changed to a normal foot and reset the tension, the stitching was great. Finally found the manual, long after completing the pillow top and it turns out that I should have used transparent thread in the needle to make it really look hand quilting. Live and learn.

project quilting season 1 challenge 1

The back used the tiny scraps leftover from the oval pattern pieces and 1-1/2″x5″ strips. The strips were quilted in the ditch and the scraps were stitched down with random lines of quilting in normal straight stitch.

project quilting season 1 challenge 1

The seam line between the stripes and scraps was emphasized with a narrow machine stem stitch. I love the look and probably would have appliqued with it had I found it sooner.

project quilting season 1 challenge 1

The back is in two pieces, so the pillow form is removable. I suspect a white throw pillow will need a few washes… Um, please ignore the nasty, chipped polish.

project quilting season 1 project 1

Finally, the binding is double fold using most of the remaining rectangles, halved into 2-1/2″ squares and sewed into a long strip. I originally meant to round the corners of the pillow, but forgot about that idea until after I had already turned the first corner. No going back at that point. This was my first mitered binding and I even hand sewed the back, which is really surprising.

This is the first crafty thing I’ve finished in a while. Hopefully there will be more FOs appearing on the blog soon…