Author Archives: sarah


The issue 5 call for entries to the Mini Quilt Gallery of Curated Quilts closes today and I've finished my (well, our) submission just in time.

I'll start with that "our" part. This color palette is not my typical palette. I purchased the Kona solids Shadow, Yarrow, Metal, Sunny, Moss, and Windsor just to participate in the challenge and they sat there, waiting for inspiration to strike. I had an idea, but unfortunately I'd seen that another maker made a nearly identical piece. On June 10th my son walked into my sewing room and I said, "I need a brilliant idea. I need a brilliant quilting idea." He responded, "arrange them lightest to darkest for me," and got to work.

His initial idea was to color block with six large rectangles. Then I filled him in on the theme of Connections/Improv. We discussed what improv meant and settled a plan. I would cut the fabric into quadrilaterals with scissors and he would arrange them on the design wall. I cut a few of each color, and as he filled the space he instructed me to cut particular colors to fill in the gaps he had.

I did all the piecing. I enjoyed the puzzle of putting together his design. It includes straight seams, smooth curves, and a set-in seam. We had to add a couple pieces in the top right to keep the project large enough for the challenge.

Then I went back to G to discuss quilting. I knew I wanted pretty dense quilting (but not matchstick) and I had four matching 50 wt Aurifil colors to use: Yellow #2135, Dove #2600, Medium Grey #1158, and Medium Delft Blue #2783. If I'd had all six colors I would have been inclined to quilt tone on tone in each section. I'm so glad I didn't. I asked G what area of the quilt he liked the most and wanted to emphasize. He liked the lower left, so I made that the focal point of my quilting. My quilting was done by walking foot and random color changes. I really like the effect.

I love that this challenge allowed me to connect with my son. It was the perfect size project for us to work on together. It finished at 10" x 10", with a faced binding. Thanks for the inspiration, Curated Quilts! Congratulations to all the other makers who have submitted their mini quilts. 121 so far!

You may have seen my i Mini that I created for the Minimalism challenge in issue 3 of CQ. (Fun fact, it's currently hanging in the San Mateo County Fair.)

G has made 5 of his own quilts. Check them out:

I've linked up to Needle and Thread Thursday and TGIFF.


I'm throwing down the gauntlet for June! This month I need to finally finish my son's bed quilt. It's been over a year since he finished a twin sized quilt for his sister and he's still waiting for me to finish his quilt. It's been in progress for... a long time. Fabric was cut for the project almost three years ago. Eek! The quilt top was finished pretty promptly, but it languished at the quilt top stage. (Why did I not send this one out for long arm quilting!? Actually, I know why. I was married to my plan for thread color and quilting motif. I should have been more flexible.) It's been basted for a while and quilting has begun. But free motion quilting a twin sized quilt on my domestic machine is a little daunting.

It was also my December 2017 OMG to finish it. I started the quilting with Aurifil 50wt Marrakesh Variegated #3817.

Wish me luck!

I'm linking up to June OMG on Elm Street Quilts.


The fabrics featured in this post were given to me by Island Batik.

Last month I created Emerald Swallowtail, a baby quilt designed with inspiration from a vintage quilt design. The creation of that quilt resulted in 30 leftover HSTs from the offcuts of my snowball corners. Step 4 of this tutorial shows how I like to sew a second line of stitching before cutting off extra triangles. I prefer to have leftover HSTs instead of just a pile of loose triangles that I'd have to sew bias edges together later to use. I have a bin where I keep orphan bits and blocks that these usually go into. I've used them previously to make mini quilts and small bags. My emerald HSTs didn't even make it into the bin though. I kept them out to use for this months Playful Pillow!

I decided I wanted to make something with the same limited palette as Emerald Swallowtail. I had used all of the green for the quilt (Bubble Hole in Leaf), but I did have yardage left of my neutral (Almond). Designing without a pattern I used a Planned Improv technique to limit myself to the HSTs and Almond yardage for the pillow. I designed on a grid, and decided that triangles could only touch on a point, not on a side. Here's the final plan.

My HSTs were trimmed to 2" x 2". Once they were pieced with filler pieces cut from the background yardage I had a 14" x 14" (unfinished) panel. I added borders to each side, intending to trim down after quilting.

I opted for Hobbs polyester Thermore batting. It is ultra-thin (1/16" loft) and I figured it would be nice for the pillow cover to not get crinkly in the wash. Here's a peak of the Thermore batting layered over my quilt top.

I added a backing layer of fabric for my quilt top before adding some walking foot quilting. I opted to echo each group of triangles approximately 1/8" off the perimeter using 50wt Aurifil #2110, Light Lemon. I'm happy with the look of this. Another option would be to add filler quilting in the background, or to add quilting inside and outside of these echo lines.

My finished pillow cover is 15" x 15".

And here it is with a 16" Poly-fil pillow form. This is the first pillow cover I've made, and I opted for a snug fit. I'm curious how the look would change with a down pillow form.

My back panels have an approximately 7" overlap (more than I think I needed). The back is unquilted fabric, with a hemmed edge. Here's what it looked like while I was in the middle of wrestling the pillow form into the cover. ;-)

How do you like to finish you pillow covers?


Thank you for visiting to see my Island Batik Playful Pillow!

Check out some of the other Playful Pillows created by Island Batik Ambassadors this month:

Connie's Scrappy Batik Pillow

Jessica's Frequency Pillow

Mania's Tuffet

Dione's Fairy Owl Pillow

Karen's Rainbow Trout

Laura's Cactus Pillows


I've linked up to TGIFF, Finish It Friday, and Needle & Thread Thursday.