I know it’s Throwback Thursday, but I don’t post on Thursdays, so Throwback Tuesday it is.
I made this pillow for my uncle who loves the Beatles. I don’t remember when I made it; I actually don’t remember making it at all, but I know I did because I still use those fabrics. My aunt has it on display at their mountain house and my mom took a picture last time they were up there and sent it to me, so I decided to post about it.
Cute, right? As I mentioned, I have no memory of this, so I don’t know what I based the design off of. I obviously did a lot of fussy cutting. You may recognize the fabric from these coasters, and I also made a Christmas ornament from the fabric at some point, but I don’t know if I posted about that.
Hi habibis! It’s still technically winter but it’s finally starting to feel just a bit spring-like, isn’t it? I’m so ready!
A few of my friends are having babies or had babies, so I’ve been making some baby gifts/baby-themed gifts. Here are a few of them:
Here are mom and dad mug rugs – for a pair of new parents-to-be. I hand embroidered “Mom” and “Dad” in stem stitch. Then I pieced the tops and backs from scraps. The mom one is machine quilted with a freehand heart and then a wavy box surrounding everything. I used bright green thread.
The dad one is machine quilted with concentric rectangles. I filled in the remaining space with other geometric shapes using dark blue thread.
Here’s an uncle bookmark for an academic and bibliophile. Again, “uncle” is hand embroidered in stem stitch and then I machine quilted rectangles around the center rectangle. The blue book print is from the same line as this bookmark and mug rug. The back is the same print.
A grandpa pillow for a baseball lover: I saw a tutorial on sew mama sew handmade holidays for a pennant pillow and loved the idea. (I didn’t actually follow the tutorial.) I hand embroidered “Grandpa” on the light blue fabric and then added a darker blue border to get the size I wanted.
I chose baseball fabric for the back because this grandpa is a huge baseball afficianado. I added the blue to the back side, too. I sewed them right sides together, stuffed it with loose batting, and handstitched it closed.
Happy Tuesday habibis! It’s present time!
I could probably write a post a day for the month of January showcasing the different Christmas presents I made this year. Instead I’ve combined them by theme. Today’s theme is pillows. I have four to show you.
I mentioned a while ago that my Aunt D, who also sews and quilts some, decided she didn’t want to keep a stash and gifted her fabric to me. It was a big Macy’s box full of fabric. I decided (it might have been my mother’s suggestion – she’s so smart) to make Aunt D a Christmas present using some of her scraps. My mom definitely consulted when it came to fabric choices and Aunt D’s color preferences. I knew I was thinking some kind of lattice work design. Aunt D had a pansy fabric that I love, which would look pretty as the center of each block. (My favorite flower is the poppy, but I find pansies incredibly appealing and pleasant to look at – maybe it’s the combination of purple and yellow in one flower.) My mom suggested yellow, and of course that would perfectly complement the yellow in the pansies. And what else but green to go with it? Aunt D also had a lovely green on white ivy print. It actually reminds me of the mountain house my grandparents had when I was a kid – one bedroom was entirely decorated with a green on white ivy print and it was so airy. So I picked the pansies and the ivy and pulled a pale yellow out of my stash – it’s the backing print from this yellow and orange quilt I made my other grandmother. I made a windowpane/latticework pattern – pansies in the center, then yellow, then the ivy.
Aunt D also gave me a nice forest green – not that I’m lacking those, after making R and M’s wedding quilt, but I used hers because it’s richer than the hues in my forest green prints, and also it’s from her stash. I used that to make the back, with a strip of pansies on the envelope closure to make it pretty. The closure doesn’t overlap as much as I’d like – I guess I miscalculated – but otherwise I’m 100% happy with the pillow, and Aunt D was delighted to recognize some of her fabrics in her present. I’m putting the rest of her stash to good use, too – some of those fabrics will feature in future posts.
The other three pillows are for my mom’s family – my grandma, my Aunt M (my mom’s sister, not my aunt M my dad’s sister), and my cousin S, M’s daughter. I’ve made stuff for my grandma before – in fact, I’m sure I made her a green and pink star quilt years ago, but I haven’t seen it in years, so who knows. S reminded me that I made her pillows a few years ago but I have only the vaguest memory of what those look like. I’m pretty sure I haven’t ever made anything for Aunt M. I decided it was high time I made them all something. I thought matching/coordinated pillows would be cute. I talked to S about color choices. She likes light blue and Aunt M likes yellow. I had already decided to use gold to tie all the pillows together, since I had so much gold fabric leftover from R and M’s quilt, and to do my grandma’s pillow in gold and forest green. It would match her couch, and green was my grandpa’s favorite color so now it’s more special for her.
I wanted my grandma’s to be a checkerboard pattern but I cut wrong and didn’t have enough of that gold. So I added another gold print and made this modified design. The back is forest green with gold on the envelope closure.
For S I decided to do diagonal stripes in gold and light blue. I actually sewed them into a big block of vertical stripes, then cut a diamond the size of the pillow out and turned it on its side to get the diagonal. I used the corners of the big block to make the back, with extra blue for a border and the envelope closure.
For Aunt M I wanted to do something with half square triangles and make it kind of like the gold emanating from one point. While I was thinking of the design I was reminded of the line from Romeo and Juliet: “It is the east, and Juliet is the sun.” I decided to name this pillow “and Juliet is the sun.” It’s like the sun rising. I didn’t make a tag or anything, or even tell Aunt M the name of the pillow. (Half the time I don’t even name my quilts, much less a pillow.) However, that is the pillow’s name. I pulled lots of gold prints to make the HSTs and I used extra HST blocks and extra gold fabric for the back.
Here’s the three of them together:
That’s four presents down…and a bunch to go. Plus everything I’m working on now. It’s funny how I used to sometimes start a project just so I had something to post – because I used to only work on one quilt at a time and they’re usually presents. Guess I don’t have that problem anymore. Suddenly it feels like I’m working on everything!
Today I’m going to show you the birthday present I made for my aunt M. (We celebrated her birthday at Thanksgiving.)
You may remember the quilt I made for my family using my grandpa’s tshirts and sweatshirts after he died. You can see it here. I had all of them, and in the pile I also had a sweatshirt that either my mom or Aunt M had given to my grandma for the last Christmas before she died. It still had the tags on it. It said “grandma’s little dears” with reindeer on it. I’ve saved it for several years because there never seemed to be an appropriate project until now. Aunt M is going to be a grandma for the first time. I knew she’d love a grandma pillow made from something that belonged to her mother.
Here’s a close up of the image on the sweatshirt:
I was using an 18″ pillow form, so I turned the sweatshirt inside out and traced an 18.5″-wide column from the neck to the bottom, centered around the “little dears.” I did the same thing for the back.
I sewed them together, right sides together, along the top edge, because I wanted the deer to be centered on the pillow and they weren’t centered on the sweatshirt. I needed more space at the top.
Then I needed to sew the sides together. I wanted to do an envelope closure so I overlapped the ends:
Here’s the finished pillow.
The envelope closure is a little droopy – I think the elastic waistband of the sweatshirt pulls.
Aunt M loved the pillow. It’s so cute, isn’t it?
I decided to make an American flag pillow for Z’s grandpa. Z and his grandfather share a deep love of military and American history; they watch military TV shows and documentaries together, and Z’s father and his grandfather took him to see the USS Intrepid and submarines and other museums when he was growing up. Z has many happy memories of such experiences with his grandfather. (I’ll call him Mr. J for the purposes of this post – that’s shorter.) I thought Mr. J would appreciate a nice flag pillow, something patriotic and something comfortable for propping up his legs or putting behind his back. (Mr. J is almost 95 and he’s in excellent shape for his age, but he still has some aches and pains.)
I found this website with the dimensions for an American flag. (I thought all flags had to have those dimensions, but then I read that those dimensions are only for offiical/military flags and otherwise the dimensions can be more like 3/5 or 5/8, and I don’t think it matters for a pillow, but I wanted it to be the right dimensions.) I used the dimensions to calculate how wide and how long to make the stripes and the blue section. I had bought a 14″ by 28″ pillow form, so I decided to aim for a 13″ flag with a border. That made the math easy – each stripe was 1″ wide (so I cut them 1.5″ wide). If the stripes were 1″ wide, then they needed to be 24 or 25″ long. I pulled out all my red and white fabrics and cut the stripes from them.
The measurements for the blue section needed to be approximately 7″ by 10″, not counting seam allowance. I chose this print featuring the American eagle and the flag. I had wanted to use the print for Z’s quilt last year and misplaced it, so I was excited to find it again. (I think I found it right after I finished Z’s quilt last year.)
So here’s the completed flag:
Then, I needed to make the border for the flag. I had bought two military fabrics, one a US Army print with tanks on it on a black background, and one a US Air Force print with planes on it on a sky blue background. I don’t think I bought them for this specifically, but I do think I had bought them with the idea that I might use them for something for Z or Mr. J. I showed them to Z and asked him which to use, and he said the Air Force fabric.
It was an excellent choice, because the sky blue color is really pretty and it offsets the colors in the flag nicely. The sky blue is appropriate for a flag, too. I used the rest of the fabric to make the back of the pillow. I sewed it closed with matching sky blue thread because that’s easier than making flaps, and I figured Mr. J wouldn’t need to take it off the pillow anyway.
Here’s the finished flag pillow:
I am so pleased with how it came out. I was going to save it for Christmas – I’m being very proactive with making Christmas presents this year – but Z said to just give it to him now; he might as well enjoy it. We visited Z’s family this weekend (which was so lovely) and I brought it for him. Mr. J was completely delighted. He said it’s the perfect side to rest his book on while he’s reading.
My grandmother just turned 84! We celebrated her birthday at Easter and I decided to make her a pillow out of the following piece:
In February my quilt guild had their “members teaching members” meeting – they have it every year, but last year it was snowed out. This year I signed up for a class making roses out of silk ribbons. The lady teaching it does embellished quilts (and I learned that super embellished quilts are called “encrusted”) and she had designed a little sampler for everyone with flowers and a bumble bee.
I didn’t finish the sampler at the guild meeting; I completed it later. (I don’t have in-progress pictures from the meeting; I only took pictures when I was at home, so I can’t show you the beginning stages.) The lady who taught it provided all of the fabrics and ribbons we needed and even the needles and the green embroidery thread – how amazing is that? I really enjoyed the session. I was apprehensive at first because I don’t really do embroidery and I was worried, but I was able to handle everything she taught us. We each drew the line to be the stems of the flowers and embroidered it in green embroidery floss. She gave us a heavier thread to make a kind of five point star, which served as the basis as each rose. The silk ribbon gets wound under and over each point, around and around, until it makes a full rose. I learned that it’s hard to thread the needle with the silk ribbon and how to knot it, but I’m not sure I could repeat it for you here. I think I could do it again…
The other kind of flower she taught us to do is this blue one. It’s made with fake silk fabric. We cut the fabric into six little circles and then folded them into quarters. Then we took thread and sewed along the open edges of each little piece so they were all sewed in a row. We pulled it tight to make the circle with petals. When I got home I sewed a piece of yellow fabric into the center to cover the rough edges and be the center of the flower. I then sewed the flower down to the sampler.
The last piece was the bumble bee. It’s made with silk ribbon again. The lady also included these little pieces of gauzy kind of ribbon for the wings. She had very specific ideas about how they should be sewn like this – I would have made more wing-looking things, but this is cute too.
Note that in the above picture you can see the five-point star that will form the base of the yellow rose.
I decided to finish the pillow using pieces from the Chinese fabrics that my friend N gave me. I used the pajama pants for the back. I had trouble with the envelope closure and I had to rip it out, re-pin, and re-sew it at least twice.
My grandmother really liked the pillow and she told me that everyone who sees the pillow compliments it.