Create experiences that leave you in awe, for these will be the highlights of your life. ~Ryan Blair

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Extreme Scappy Pillow

Ever heard of CRUMB QUILTS?  These quilts use those smaller fabric scraps and take a very long time to complete. I even added some plain fabric blocks, because I needed a few more scrappy blocks, but could just not get myself to make any more. To see how I made this one; and where I found the idea about this project, you can check it out here.


After I made my first scrappy quilt (top); as shown above, I never considered making another project using tiny scraps. But, here it is.....


Having sorted through my smaller fabric pieces; and cut them into a variety of usable sizes. I then had a really nice supply of squares and strings; however, I still had the dilemma of what to do with those oddly shaped pieces that didn't fit those requirements.

That was when I figured, I should make an extremely scrappy pillow. I found a suitable size (approx. 13" x 18") in my fabric stash to use for the backing fabric; and hoped to cover it with those very oddly shaped scraps.

Making it more challenging, this piece was a rectangular shape; however, it was the size we wanted for the pillow. Even though, its size was not as formidable as a quilt; I still wanted to quit several times.

After stitching enough pieces together, I finally got the surface covered. Originally, I had planned to make another layer for the bottom of the pillow, as well; as I still had plenty of scrappy pieces left. But, changed my mind, as that was already very tedious.

It was around that time, that my machine figured it didn't want to sew anymore; and took a turn for the worst. Now, I don't remember at what stage this occurred; however, the needle jammed hard into the machine and it was a real struggle to get it out. And it was not making happy sounds, either. So, I decided to hurry the process and finish the back side of the pillow with a piece of fabric.

To hold the stuffing, I also made a pillowcase-type liner. The final step, was to hand-stitch the opening closed.

The reason I call it my "Extreme Scrappy Pillow" is because the stuffing consists of fabric scraps that are cut up pretty small. And the liner kept all those teeny-tiny pieces from falling out during the making of this project.

It turned out like this:



PS:  If one wants to sew and doesn't have a project on the go; why not fill in those times piecing together scraps; and when you have enough for a project, it should go together quite quickly.

Thrifty and creative methods can win the day!

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

How-to Make a Grid Layout for Squares

Do you have lots of cut FABRIC SQUARES...  that would look great in quilt projects!! But need some motivation to get them there?


It was after completing six separate color theme blocks; that I got to thinking.. wouldn't a grid work better for arranging these blocks? And reduce the shuffling of the pieces, if spacing was inadequate, as the layout process proceeded.

So... here is a way to save time and effort when planning the squares layout. In a later post, I will share more on the sewing process and the finished product.



Since I was using a total of 81 squares to make these pieced sections, the instructions build a grid 9 squares wide by 9 squares high. These are 3-1/2" squares; so my grid blocks are 3-1/2" square. (You may of course, enlarge or reduce the grid dimensions.)

So... here it is! 
This is a very portable mini design wall, that can be used anyplace you want to sew. 
Hope you find this helpful...


(Plans are for using 3-1/2" squares)

     Fabric: 1 yard piece (1 m)  (I used flannelette.)
     A marker, pen, or pencil (your choice)
     Rotary tools: mat, ruler, and cutter

A.) Preparing the Fabric
  1. First, you will need a piece of fabric. (Flannelette, felt, fleece, batting, fleece-backed tablecloth; whatever you have available to use.)
  2. I had a piece of beige flannelette in my stash. So this is what I used; and it will finally have a new purpose, as it was something I had bought for a workshop; and hadn't used since.
  3. This fabric piece should be at least 32" square if you are making the 81-block grid using 3-1/2" blocks. A one yard (1 meter) size works well, as it will provide a little extra on all sides. (The color is your choice.)
  4. Press it well to get out any wrinkles. Then lay it on your cutting mat to square up the edges. It does not have to be a perfect square, it will just look better with trimmed edges.
  5. Then folded in half, selvage edges together; give this folded edge a press to create a crease line on the fold. Open it up and fold it the opposite way and make another crease line on the second fold. (This is an easy way to mark the center lines on the piece of fabric.)  

B.) Marking the Grid Lines
  1. With a marking pencil or pen, draw both vertical lines and horizontal lines to create this 3-1/2" square grid on the fabric. There will be ten lines drawn in both directions to create this 81-block grid. Lines do not need to be really dark, as you are working closeup when arranging the fabric squares.
  2. Beginning from the center of the fabric; measure 1-3/4" from the crease line (shown as a red line below); to draw the first line. This line can be drawn either to the right or to the left of the center crease mark, and will be your guideline to draw the remaining nine lines. (Black lines shown below indicate where three of these lines would be drawn.)
  3. Draw each line spaced at 3-1/2" apart to make nine block spaces, along this direction. Draw as much of the line as your ruler permits; and continue across the fabric. Then, rotate your fabric so you can complete these lines to extend from about 1" from each fabric edge.
  4. Then turn the fabric, so you can draw lines in the opposite direction. Begin again as before, by measuring 1-3/4" from the crease line and drawing the first line. Continue until you have drawn enough lines to make nine blocks in this new direction.



C.) Using the Grid Layout
  1. Clip the grid fabric to something solid, like a piece of wood or cardboard; and place it right next to your sewing machine. This provides a mini design wall that is portable and easily reached where ever you may be sewing, whether at home or somewhere else.
  2. Easily place your fabric squares as you plan your layout; and then, change any you wish to relocate. No pieces get crowded out as you assemble the layout. 
  3. One side of the fabric has the grid lines and the other is plain. Another great feature for classes or workshops. 
  4. Sometimes, I like to use straight pins to fasten the blocks to the fabric, for these reasons:  (a.) If the board gets bumped or a gust of wind comes along, from an open window or fan; it doesn't disturb the pieces already in place. (b.) When planning the layout, any pinned blocks indicate I like them where they are; and any not pinned are still changeable. I find this helps when trying to figure out a pattern. (c.) If another project takes priority, this can be folded and put away for later retrieval. 



Spacing the squares evenly on an unmarked background... Now is easily accomplished!!

Plan your next project on a grid to facilitate a quicker layout arrangement. And, if you use a different size, then draw the grid to those measurements.

Be square.... in your own unique quilting style!!

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Butterfly Path Project

It's here...

Continuing with my quest… to use more of my stash fabrics, I attempt new ways to create interesting strip-pieced applique. Being passionate about machine fused applique, I continue to incorporate this idea into my own designs. So here is my third design: BUTTERFLY PATH to show you how easy it can be to use ONLY stash fabrics. Will you be able to accomplish this? I think you can… 

After selecting a group of fabrics for the borders, I needed a brown for the path. Once realizing that my chosen piece did not have enough yardage; I elected to use a variety of browns, instead.

And this is how using stash fabrics works: selecting and re-selecting until all fabric requirements are met.


Summertime… a season that usually passes by too quickly; and thus, quilters love to add their favorite elements from nature’s splendor into their work.

This project represents that beauty; so allow your own stash fabrics to recreate this colorful design. Bring back the remembrance of those warm and sunny days; even when the weather is cold outside. Giving you the perfect setting, for dreaming about those delightful places where butterflies do play.


Create your own butterfly path using pieced-fabric appliques and interesting pieced blocks for the garden setting. Add bright colors to remind you of summer; and quilt it as you desire.



Since I was on a quest to use fabrics already owned; I found myself wondering what to use for the backing fabric. Why not use leftover pieces from the border fabrics? OK

After measuring the pieces, none of them totaled enough yardage on their own; however, if they were pieced together, this would work. This is a great way to use leftover  pieces.  


My experiment was to see if joining both batting and backing layers, in this manner; would aide the sandwiching process. 

1) Use a quarter-inch seam allowance to join the fabrics.
2) Press all seams open. (I think this keeps them nice and flat.)
3) And so they don't misbehave, stitch along these seams (like stitch-in-the-ditch) sewing through both batting and backing layers, before adding the quilt top layer.

I found this kept my seams nice and straight on the pieced backing.
I also, used less fusible spray in this process.
And, nothing puckered, as can happen when doing the sandwiching.
Gives those smaller pieces in the fabric stash an important job -- holding everything together.
And, a great habit to develop on future projects, to reduce the fabric stash.


Need a peaceful and lovely quilt for a special corner in your home? Why not create a colorful path for butterflies to play, and allow you time to reflect on the summer's past adventures. 

For more on this quilt, and the pattern, visit my Craftsy store to see it; along with several other lovely fabric-pieced designs

Bring that stash to life... with a project perfectly suited to your own fabrics.

Monday, September 1, 2014

Is There Coffee?

The second FREE project in this PIECED-STRING SERIES, is now available at my website. I am not providing a tutorial, as you can follow the instructions in the PDF pattern. Or if you wish, check out the BLUE MOON tutorial from last month, to see how easy these mini projects really are to make.

  • Provide quick gifts for someone special.
  • Are easy to make and completed in only a few hours.
  • Use up fabric scraps and so are not costly to make.
  • And when free, provide no excuse; so go sew one today!

How it began... 
I enjoy finding interesting objects and turning them into appliques. So, when I was looking through my leftover applique pieces, for this project; I found several ready-prepared cups. After making my TEA PARTY quilt; I had thought to one day use those extra cups in another project.

Suspended Coffee

Therefore, with coffee on my mind, I thought for more inspiration, why not do an online search. It was there that I discovered the term: 'suspended coffees'. And that was a perfect backdrop for this project. So this quilt is entitled: Is There Coffee?

Then, I added the letters: 'S-H-A-R-E' to represent what we could do with only a small bit of kindness; and it would give more meaning to my two simple cups.

This mini project is to pay tribute to the many individuals that share their kindness towards others, enabling the world to be a better place for those that need it, when it really matters.

So... if you like this mini quilt project and want to share it, please share this post, so others can learn about 'suspended coffees', as well. And, also receive the link to this cute, mini project.

Spread kindness, everyday...