A Finished Quillow and Some Quillow-Making Tips

Social-distancing gifting! #1 Son receives his quillow

I first discovered quillows through an experienced quilting friend. I was fascinated when I saw her reach inside a patchwork cushion and pull out a quilt! How cool is that!

Phoebe Moon gives a good definition of a quillow at the start of her tutorial:

quillow is a quilt with a reversible pocket strategically sewn on the quilt so it can be folded up to fit inside the pocket, making a pillow.

A little bit of transatlantic translation is required at this point. In the UK when we hear ‘pillow’ we think specifically of the soft, generally rectangular, pad we lay our heads on at night. We use the word ‘cushion’ to describe the supportive/decorative additions we add to our sofas and chairs. Cushions are generally square, ranging from 14″-20″ in size and I think I’m right in saying these would be defined as ‘throw pillows’ in the USA. A ‘cushion’ in the US describes the padded seat of a sofa or chair.

So, here in the UK think, ‘a quillow is a quilt that can be turned into a cushion’. Hope that helps? I’ll probably tie myself in knots writing the rest of this post as I mix up the wording right, left and centre! 😀

Read moreA Finished Quillow and Some Quillow-Making Tips

Patchwork Mug Rugs – a quick tutorial

In preparation for the Two Ways to Build a Log Cabin workshop I thought I’d have a go at a third Log Cabin technique: Wonky Log Cabin blocks.

Guided by Jackie White’s instructions in her chapter of the book ‘I love Log Cabins‘ I set to; diving into my boxes of fabric strips (I know! More scrap fabrics!). The boxes were stuffed so full that taking the lids off was like activating a Jack-In-The-Box 😀

It took about twelve strips of fabrics ranging from 1″ to 3″ wide to make each of the blocks. Here they are before I trimmed them……

….. and after I trimmed them to 6¼” square…

I used the no-binding method to make the blocks into mug rugs:

First layer a quilt sandwich:

  • Place the batting on a flat surface. (I used two pieces of cotton batting so the mug rugs would give a bit of protection to table tops, you could of course use an insulating batting).
  • Onto the batting lay the backing fabric, right side facing up (I found some cotton flannel to use as backing).
  • Then lay the patchwork block on top of the backing, right side facing down.
  • Smooth the fabrics flat and use a few basting pins to stop the layers shifting as you sew.

Next stitch the layers together:

  • Using good quality thread stitch a seam ¼” inside the edge of the patchwork block.
  • Leave a gap in the seam about 2½” wide. Strengthen the seam either side of the gap with backing stitches.
Sorry it’s a bit hard to see.. The seam is stitched on the light blue fabric and the threads show the gap in the seam.
  • Cut away the excess backing and wadding fabrics up to the edge of the patchwork block. Tip: I leave about ¼” of excess fabric alongside the gap in the seam – this makes it easier to tuck the fabrics in when it comes to stitching the gap closed. Cut across the corners being careful not to snip the stitching.

  • Use the gap in the seam to turn the Mug Rug layers inside out. Push out the corners with a blunt tool.

Finishing the Mug Rug:

  • Close the gap in the seam by hand stitching or by machine.
  • Roll the edges of the Mug Rug with your fingers to flatten them and then pin.
  • Stitch a line of quilting stitches about ¼” – ½” from the edge of the Mug Rug to keep the layers in place.
  • Add further quilting as desired.

I had time to test out a Mug Rug before packing it and the other four along with my class notes and demonstration materials ready for the workshop tomorrow. 🙂

Linking with Susan for Midweek Makers and Kelly for Needle and Thread Thursday.

Allison

Choosing and stitching a walking foot quilting design

At last Saturday’s Beginners Course we reached the quilting stage of constructing our quilts. I demonstrated a few ideas for quilting using a walking foot eg. in-the-ditch, echoing, wavy lines… I’d had a think about how to quilt my version of the Dashing Stars quilt. In-the-ditch would work but I favoured stitching a quilting design over the patchwork to add ‘movement’, helping to take the eye roaming around the patchwork design. I considered a diagonal hatch across the quilt and considered curves, maybe echoing arcs or a swirl. Eventually I came up with stitching a large zig-zag down the centre of the quilt and then echoing the shape to either side.

Dashing Stars quilting diagram by Allison Reid
Quilting diagram. The thick black line represents the first zig-zag, the thinner green lines the lines of echo stitching and the pink dotted lines the chalk lines used to mark where the next quilting line should pivot.

Read moreChoosing and stitching a walking foot quilting design

Trip Around the World Block – Quick Tip

The collection of Scrappy Trip Around the World Blocks on my design wall continues to grow. I now have eight, just about keeping up with the schedule of the Scrappy Trip Along organised by Angie aka Gnome Angel.

Trip Around the World Blocks (eight) on design wall by Allison Reid

To recap: The blocks are made using the strip tube method shown by Bonnie Hunter in this tutorial.

I’ve found the tutorial easy to follow. My only sticking point coming when deciding which of the seams to unpick in each of the tube segments. I have now found a sure fire way of opening the tube segments so the fabric squares form the desired diagonal pattern.

Trip Around the World Block by Allison Reid

All of my scrappy strip sets have a dark pink strip at the top and a gold strip at the bottom. These two are sewn together to form the tube. My intention is for the dark pink squares to run across the centre diagonal of all of the Trip Around the World blocks.

Trip Around the World Block strip set by Allison Reid

 

Trip Around the World Block by Allison Reid
Six strips sewn into a tube ready to be cut into segments.

Segment 1: I always unpick the seam between the dark pink and the gold squares.

Trip Around the World Block first seam by Allison Reid

Trip Around the World Block second seam by Allison Reid

I then look to the bottom two squares of this open strip and note the fabrics – in this case the beige and the gold squares.

Trip Around the World Block pointer to second seam by Allison Reid

I then take the second tube segment and unpick the seam between the beige and the gold squares.

Trip Around the World Block third seam by Allison Reid

I lay the open second segment next to the first, look at the bottom two squares of the second segment (the blue and beige squares). I then know to unpick the seam between the blue and the beige squares of the third tube segment.Trip Around the World Block fourth seam by Allison Reid

And so I continue, always looking at the bottom two squares of the most recently opened tube segment to let me know which seam I need to open in the next tube segment.

Trip Around the World Block final seam by Allison Reid

Trip Around the World Block segments opened by Allison Reid

Works a treat for me! No more time wasted trying to figure out how to proceed 😀

Hope this might be of help to you. Of course, you may fix on another visual clue to aid you in sequencing the strips of a tube block like this. Do share if you found this method helpful or if you use a different way to figure out this little puzzle.

Linking with Lorna for Let’s Bee Social and Jennifer for Wednesday Wait Loss.

Allison