Category Archives: Quilting and Sewing

Silk Tie Quilt

I made this quilt for my sister in law.  It’s a gift for her Dad, who turns 60 this year.

Each square is a swatch of silk cloth used for neckties.  She sent me her collection of swatches and requested a simple quilt with a black background.

I used Kona black for the sashing, and cut the squares at 4 inches, the sashing at 2.5 inches.  This means the finished blocks are 3.5 inches square and the sashing is 2 inches wide.  There are 80 different swatches in all, so I did 10 rows of 8 blocks.  The entire quilt finishes at 47 inches wide by 57 inches long.

It’s really a unique quilt because each square is a different pattern.  I like how bold and vibrant it looks.  The interesting thing about it was using cotton and silk together in the same quilt.  Because I had to press all the seams on a silk setting, I felt like it was difficult to get my cotton pressed and set as well as I like to.  Working with the silk was also trickier than I anticipated.  I’ve sewn with silk before, but not with woven silk patterns.  There is so much weaving in these swatches that they were much more elastic than I thought they would be.  Overall, I felt like I was able to piece it all together without too much trouble and with minimal stretching.

Quilting it was also a challenge.  I didn’t want to quilt on the silk because it would ruin the quilt, but I also felt like I should do something to stabilize the squares.  They were cut with pinking shears originally, but the weave in the patterns made them easy to fray.   I ended up opting to sew about 1/4 inch on each side of the seams.   The backing is black, but this overexposed shot shows the quilting pattern I used.

The puckering would wash up beautifully if this was a washable quilt.  That’s one of the biggest drawbacks of  this piece.  The fact that it must be dry cleaned to preserve the silk means that the cotton will never soften up and take shape like it should.  The other drawback to this quilt is that the black cotton is a magnet for lint.  I’ve never sewn with a solid black cotton before, and just didn’t really think of it until it was covered with lint.

That said, it’s an eye-catching quilt.  It was a good opportunity to break out of my comfort zone and try to make what someone else envisions.  The black sashing combined with the deep rich tones in the silk was a color combination that was also new to me.   My son says he likes it better than any of the quilts I’ve previously made.  I don’t blame him.  It’s very strong and masculine.  I’m pleased with the final product and I really hope she likes it, too.  It’s now on its way to a birthday celebration in Washington.


Parfait Pincushions

This quick and easy project was fun to make with my mom, sister and sister-in-law a few weeks ago.  We sat at one table and stitched while the guys sat at my dining room table and played a game.

The pattern comes from this issue of Quilts and More.  I purchased it at my local grocery store because it is full of projects I want to make.  I’m guessing you might still be able to find one at a Barnes & Noble.  If not, it would be easy to draw your own pattern.

You need a large circle of felt, about 8 inches in diameter, and two pieces for the “toppings.”

With two strands of embroidery floss, blanket stitch the first, larger topping to the center of your circle.

Repeat with the second, smaller topping.

Add a red or pink button for your cherry on top.

Your circle should look like this.

Turn the circle over, wrong side up.  Thread a needle with 36 inches of sewing thread.  Knot the ends of the thread together and begin a running stitch around the perimeter of the circle, about 1/4 inch in from the edge.

Gather the circle.

Stuff with filling.

Tighten thread until the hole is less than 1 inch in diameter and carefully knot your thread.

Cut a circle of felt to cover the hole.

Whip stitch into place.

You’re done.  All you need is a parfait glass.  We found ours at WalMart.  This pincushion is designed to sit on the top of the dish.

This allows you to store buttons or other notions in the glass beneath the pincushion.

It was so easy to make that I experimented with other colors, too.

My girls quickly saw the potential of these creations and whisked them away to the toyroom for use with their little kitchen.

I’ve seen some of the cute felt food that people are making for children to play with but I had no idea how much fun it might be to make it!  This project left me wanting to stock the playroom with sweet little bits of food.  Whether it’s used as a toy or a pincushion, this was a fun project.

Hopeful Homemaker

Shared at DIY Day

Wild Thing/Verna Quilt

I have a new favorite quilt.  It’s finished, and I am giddy.

I decided to quilt it myself, on my little sewing machine.  I’m trying to make my hobby more affordable and I’m also trying to learn new things.  Inspired by this quilt, I went for straight lines, spaced 1/2 inch apart.

I’m SO pleased with the results.  I will be using this technique again.  Especially since I discovered my handy dandy quilt tool that came with my machine, which helped me keep the lines straight but not too straight.

Between the little lines and the happy Verna prints, this quilt makes me smile when I look at it.

It took me about 7 hours to quilt this in its entirety.  Because I did most of the work in snatches of 10 minutes, it didn’t bother me.  I have no idea how much it would cost to have someone quilt like this, but I feel like my time was well spent because I learned a lot and generally enjoyed the process.

I liked the white so much that I went with a plain white back, and I love the way the quilting looks on it as well.

In short, I am happy, happy, happy with this quilt!

I opted not to sew rick rack into the seam when I pieced the quilt, and went back and forth over adding it at the end between the two borders.  I’m glad that I did.  I like the extra pop of white.  I chose to sew down each side of the jumbo rick rack so that it lays flat.

Hooray!  I love my new quilt!


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