Nerd Cushions – Volume Five – The ones I’m almost certain I’m keeping

inspirational_quotes_cushion_pillow_text_2Ahh… the last of my text bundle.  It’s bittersweet.  I’ve had such fun playing with these, and my friends’ responses have been so uplifting.

These are the ones I’m having a very hard time conceptually parting with.  I think I likes these because they don’t have an “up” side.  Not that I have anything against directional cushions.

reel_time_cushion_fabric_piping_pillow_2I love the messy decoupage look of the news clippings and inspirational quotes fabric.  It’s always nice to keep a reminder of what you’re worth handy at all times.  That said, I still do not currently own a couch, and these will be packed away until I do.
The Reel Time fabric has a wonderful combination of fonts, sizes, and a few interesting prints thrown in.  There’s a lot going on here without it being overwhelming, and I love that.

a_la_mode_cushion_text_piping_pillowThis fashion themed fabric has the same going on.  The interplay of the different lettering is so lovely.

And the fourth is from my original collection, and really speaks to the historian in me.  And also the letter writer.  I know that it’s gone terribly out of fashion, but I still love writing and receiving hand written letters and notes.  There’s nothing quite like knowing that someone cares enough about you to take the time to sit down and put something together for you.  Plus, I have to love keeping good traditions alive.

nerd-cushion-postalIn other news, I’m celebrating never having had so much stock on hand that I’m discounting it all for the weekend.  Enjoy 20% off all purchases over $20 by using the code MAY2016 at the checkout.  No exclusions!  Offer valid until Monday, May 23rd.

Until later, happy stitching!  Hoping you all have a lovely weekend.  It’s shaping up to be a nice one out here in the north woods.  Maybe I’ll put some time in to finally figuring out the camera on this bloody new phone.  I really enjoy point and click for this sort of work.



Nerd Cushions – Volume Four – The funky bunch

spooky_newspaper_cushion_pillow_text_pipingI absolutely adore these newspaper prints.  There was a time that I absolutely adored the recipe print by Sweetwater, but I’ve made a couple of projects out of it, and I’m just a wee bit over it.  It’s pretty nifty though if what one the sales associates at Quiltique told me is true (it was one of my first visits there and I didn’t know anyone’s names): that each box contains a real recipe that won an award at a state fair.  It’s still pretty vague, but a fun little tidbit.  And perhaps I’ll dig out my own projects and try out a couple of them at some time.

newspaper_text_cushion_pillow_pipingI have no idea what the newsprint fabrics are, or what the reprint is, but I feel like I got an especially good cut of the one with the graphics.

I don’t have anything at all new to say about the art of cushion making today, so I hope the itty bitty post doesn’t disappoint.

These are going up in the shop today, because everyone wants texty pillows, right?   I’m still offering 10% off to my readers.  Just enter the code 10READER at the checkout.


Nerd Cushions – Volume Three – The ones with the pastel piping

creativity_pillow_cusion_inspiration_2I’ve been neglecting my blog terribly.  I seem to always have a whole of posts to make at one time, and then nothing worthwhile for weeks.  I’ve been a busy little bee.  I recently expanded the selection in my Etsy store.  I’ve added in some buttons, which are so fun to have around, and are currently arranged nicely on my shelving unit in front of all my fabrics, along with some garment and bag patterns.  This is all largely because I’m finding it terribly depressing to work on quilts that I have to wait so long to finish (Babs, my Innova longarm, still sits neglected in storage).  I’ve been wanting to give making a few other things a try for at least a couple of years – my personal pattern collection started circa 2013 – and loved the idea of sharing my favorite bits and pieces with others.  I’ve just always been held back by this belief that I’m just rubbish at sewing anything other than quilts.  We shall see.

feedlot_pillow_cushion_piping_country_2But, you’re here for the cushion covers, so on to the cushion covers we go.

As tedious as I found making the piping to start with, I’m enjoying it more and more now.  Yes, the piping is still slightly tedious at every stage, but it’s so worth it when I flip those covers open and see what I’ve made.  Plus, there are no limits with home made piping – you can make it any width, in any fabric, that works for you.  I wish I had space to set up a good tutorial, because if I can learn make passable piped cushions in such a short amount of time, everyone can, and there are some wonderful resources out there, but I’m such a fan of having access to as many walkthroughs as possible, then picking and choosing which bits I think will best work for me.  I love that there’s no “right” way of doing things when it comes to creating.

love_letter_romantic_pillow_cushion_3I made an all pastel solids quilt a couple of years ago, and I had a lot of left over fabric from when I made the backing, so I decided I should put some of it to use.  I chose these prints to go with them because they were a little softer than most of the others I had yet to cut, and doesn’t the romantic notes cushion require a soft, romantic border?  And, I accept that not everyone loves bold, bright colors in their living rooms.

This set is going in to the shop as soon as I get back to entering my new selections in.  It’s been terribly difficult to work out a price for them, because they do take a good while to make, and my wrist will only stand doing three a day, as it clearly dislikes forcing the fabric right up to the foot, but it’s the only way to get a nice finish on the pillows.  It’s always interesting to me that there are people who will spend more on a mass produced item from a mid range shop than they will on a hand made one off, but everyone’s entitled to their preference.

I don’t know what the romantic and creative fabrics are, but the farming themed one is by Sweetwater for Moda.

And since you’ve read all the way to the end and obliged me greatly, I’ll let you know (or remind you, whichever applies) that I’m offering a shop discount for all my readers.  Just enter the code 10READER at the check out.

Happy creating,


Come What May – Jaybird Quilts – My Joel Dewberry Obsession – Part 3

jaybird_quilts_come_what_may_joel_dewberry_aviary_block_aCome what may indeed!  If you’ve visited my blog before you’ll remember how excited I was to get cutting in to some of my Atrium stash.  And isn’t the fabric just delicious?  I’ve always loved Come What May, designed by Jaybird Quilts, but have struggled to find the right fabric for it.  I’ve been planning on making it for about three years, and I think the universe has been against me on this one.  I have two copies of the pattern, but can only ever find one at any given time, and occasionally they both go walkabout, so I’ve a mind to tape this one to my table.

jaybird_quilts_come_what_may_joel_dewberry_aviary_block_bHere I was thinking I’d get this relatively simple quilt top done over a weekend or two, and it’s just stretched on and on, and I’m still to sew the blocks together.  There were really only two problems here, but they were time consuming ones.  Firstly, I decided that two of my fabric choices didn’t work, but I didn’t decide this until after the I’d sewn all my strips together.  So, that all had to be unpicked, and the offending fabrics were replaced.  The second, and much more frustrating, problem was that I sewed blocks A and C the wrong way around.  If you’ll notice, they’re the same block, but with a different cross jaybird_quilts_come_what_may_joel_dewberry_aviary_block_cfabric placed at alternate ends of the block.  This, I didn’t notice until I had everything together and was admiring my handiwork, about to put my blocks together.  That was another two nights of unpicking and restitching.  My poor fabric has been so abused.  I’ll count myself lucky if it holds together while I quilt it, and even more fortunate if the quilt lasts a couple of years.

I decided I was going to make a king sized quilt.  The pattern only goes up to queen, but with the addition of an extra row on one edge, and either the top or bottom, it makes a very jaybird_quilts_come_what_may_joel_dewberry_aviary_block_dimpressively sized quilt.  Unfortunately, it makes a quilt so impressively sized that it no longer fits on to my wide backing.  I used to piece backings for everything, but I can’t justify having to cut a six inch slice down 100+ inches of my bolt just to widen this out.
So, now we’ve got extra blocks on one side, and a bed runner, which will make a very convenient gift (just as long as I don’t mention how it came about).

It’s back to work for me.  I’m trying to finish up a batch of cushions that are mostly half way done, so hopefully I can knock those out today and get back to finishing this.

Happy stitching!



Nerd Cushions – Volume Two – The ones I made for Tiff

nerd-cushion-she-who-sewsI love how someone you’ve known for years can still surprise you.  I showed Tiff the entire bundle of fabrics I mentioned in my last post, assuming that the sewing themed prints might be deemed a little naff*, but I was completely off on that one.  She obvious thought they were just as darling as I do.  I was a little sad to part with them, but there’s some really fantastic fabric that’s still in play, and how many cushions does one couch need anyway?

Tiff was looking for something to compliment her living room, which is neutral aside from a largely nerd-cushion-sewing-terms
black and white print, featuring a little red and yellow.  This collection really hit the spot, tying in the black and white theme, and bringing in a little of the red, with the navy functioning almost as another neutral.

The second round of cushions was much easier to put together than the first.  I had more confidence pushing the zipper foot right to the edge of the piping And making it much tighter.  There was also much less meticulous cutting of these fabrics, because they were close to being nerd-cushion-carolyn-friedlanderstraight, and having the grain line in the right place gives the pillows a much nicer shape.

I’ve one more on commission from her, but I’m still pondering the best way of making exactly what she wants.  I hope these give her apartment the personal feel that she was after.

It’s back to the grindstone for me.  I’m currently adding a lot of new fabric to the shop.  Don’t forget that I offer a discount to anyone who’s read to the end of one of my posts.  Enter the code 10READER at the checkout.

nerd-cushion-alison-glass-text.*Apparently naff is a British term not commonly used in America.  It’s mostly used as a replacement expletive, but in this case means something along the lines of “tacky”, “uncool”, and “unfashionable”.



Nerd Cushions – Volume One – The Test

nerd-cushion-postalI was recently having a chat with my friend Tiff – who I went to high school with back in Australia and now lives in D.C. – about how she needed to find some personal decor.  A few photos later, we struck upon the idea of these “nerd cushions,” so dubbed by our Facebook chorus.  The idea was perfect: modern, monochrome, with a pop of color.  The real question was, could I actually make these?  I don’t think I’ve used piping since high school, and I’d never made my own before.  It was time for a test batch.

This is the point where I admit that I don’t know what all these fabrics are.  They come from a bundle that I purchased from Pink Castle fabrics last year and are not exactly the same as the bundle they currently have up for reference on their website.

nerd-cushion-graph-grid-paperThe immediate answer was no, or at least, not immediately.  I keep a straight stitch plate on my machine for piecing, and with the move, I have no idea where my regular plate was.  One four hour drive later, and that problem was remedied.  If you’ve never tried a straight stitch plate, I highly recommend them.  Mine’s worked really well to eliminate the problem of the hungry feed dogs sucking my fabric down in to the machine.

After my long drive, I set about cutting the fabric for my test cushions.  This involved much more meticulous cutting than I’d envisioned for this project, because so few designs are printed straight.  I’m not going to call out any one fabric in particular, but some brands were worse offenders than others.  I’ve never had to kickassiduously cut fabric for cushions, so I wasn’t entirely sure how these would turn out.

geek-cushion-equationI decided it would be a great idea to make all the bias tape I could need for the next several years – or so it seemed – and I started with about nine yards of fabric, one in every color I felt worked well, and cut to cutting, and piecing, and piecing, and finally rolling.  Then, of course, the fifteen yards of cording I’d purchased weren’t nearly enough, so I had to get selective about which piping to make.
Putting the piping together was time consuming, but relatively easy.  Basting it to the cushions was an interesting exercise.  Because my piping wasn’t a perfectly consistent width like commercial piping is, I had to draw the seam line on, before pinning.  Getting around the corners was fiddly, but ultimately I ended up with a much nicer shape than I’d envisioned.

geek-cushion-periodic-tableThis was a great exercise in dusting off some old skills, and I’m so happy that Tiff motivated me to do it.  I can’t recommend meticulously cutting a single piece of fabric for a cushion cover.  These are all sixteen inch covers, and all I have on hand are eighteen inch inserts, so they’re all a little over-stuffed.  The period table cushion, which was made with the wonkiest fabric, continued to look a little bit strange despite all efforts to manipulate the insert.

Slight learning curves aside, I’m really pleased with the way these turned out.  I’ve decided to keep making these until I can stand it no longer.  I’d love to put some nice ones up for sale in the shop.  Speaking of which, there’s still a ten percent discount available to anyone who feigns interest my blog post long enough to get to the end of it.  Just enter the code 10READER at the checkout.

Back to the grind stone for me, but I’m currently working on my Atrium quilt, and it’s nice to do something for myself at least.




Tula Pink Acacia Pillowcases

Yes, there are more pillow cases!  I couldn’t leave these pretty raccoons sitting in a box, could I?  And don’t worry, I didn’t use them all.  If you’re looking for some, as of writing, I have some available in my store.

I went in a bit of a different direction with these, and made them reversible.  The front features a cuff made from the Raccoons from Tula Pink‘s Acacia line.  On the other side, I’ve used a coordinating Kona solid, and added one of the other prints from Acacia as a flange.

These were significantly more time consuming to make than my other pillowcases, simply because of the cuts of fabric I had on hand.  These work really well with full WOF cuts, but I only had horizontal half yards of the Raccoons, so those are two pieces, and fat quarters of the coords, which makes the flange four pieces each.

The concept probably needs a tiny pit of tweaking, but so far, I’m really liking these.  For now I am completely burned out on these, so I’ll be hanging up my pillowcase making for a while.

Perhaps I should get back to focusing on my quilts.

Don’t forget that I’m offering a 10% off coupon to anyone who reads through to the end of one of my articles.  Simply visit my store, and use the code 10READER at the checkout.  Yes, I will be mentioning this at the end of every post between now the July 2nd expiry of the coupon, or until such a time as I forget about it.

Bye for now!