Posts Tagged With: pillow

Tutorial Tuesday: Parlor Pillow / Crazy Quilting

Tutorial Tuesdays header

“Crazy” comes in many forms (note I didn’t say faces!) but one of the prettiest forms is that of Crazy Quilting.  I’m beginning a list of reasons why I love it.  Feel free to add to the list in the comments.

  1. It is SO Victorian
  2. It uses scrap fabric
  3. It shows a great variety in the embroidery stitching
  4. It is easy to hide your mistakes (with embellishments)
  5. It has no wrong way for the fabric grain
  6. It can be made to any size
  7. Your turn…



The basics are that you sew a piece to the base fabric and then just keep adding it on and on and on. But when I looked for a tutorial that actually showed it happening, I drew a blank.  Had the technique been fully explained?  Was it just too simple to post? I found the perfect set of instructions here.

Cindy's quilt for cover

Ok, so I cheated a little.  That is really our own pattern from the Mother’s Medallion line.  We used crazy quilting first in the corners of the center of the Mother’s Medallion quilt (You can get the E-book pattern HERE.)


and then it led to the Parlor Pillow.

for printing

Note the center of the larger one has an interchangeable hexagon.  The pattern includes a Trading Hearts plan for swapping embellishments and fabric. The REAL key to this is the Tips and Tricks that are included.  Don’t tell my sister I’m posting them here.

Tips & Tricks for Crazy Quilting:
Sew RST with a ¼” seam and then press toward outside edge.
Make sure your pieces are long enough to cover the last raw edge. You can trim to fit after it is sewn.
Do not start or sew completely to the ends of your fabric piece. (Makes it easier to trim and less likely to have gaps.)
Do not back-stitch beginnings or endings of seams.
Join smaller pieces together before adding to the base piece (especially for long seams).
For interest, sew pieces on to create diagonal lines or angles.
For corners, stitch the longest seam and use a press mark as a guide to cut off excess, then top-stitch the second edge. Cover with embellishment.
An occasional raw edge is fine, it can be covered with embellishment.
Use color placement to balance textures. (Audition a piece before sewing.)


Once your fabric is in place, it is time to really go crazy with the “extras”.  I found lots of info on the symbolism of the shapes found on crazy quilts.  A great site gave some of the following list.

  • owls were a symbol of wisdom
  • eagles resembled courage and a military career for a family member
  • lions represented royalty and nobility
photo 7

This is from a quilt, a gift from the Yale family, used courtesy of Norma Young.

  • butterflies symbolized the soul
  • frogs were a “sin”
  • a pansy, in the language of flowers, meant “think of me”
photo 21

This quilt, a gift from the Yale family, is used courtesy of Norma Young.

  • dogs were loyalty
  • peacocks, incorruptibility
  • spider webs were a symbol of luck
photo 1

Used courtesy of Norma Young.

  • clasped hands meant good bye or farewell
  • fans…the list is too long
photo 31

This quilt, a gift from the Yale family, is used courtesy of Norma Young.

A complete history is given on the caron collection. Make it your next read while you’re sorting scraps to begin a crazy quilted “something”.

photo 3

Used courtesy of Norma Young.


Used courtesy of Norma Young.

Categories: Mother's Medallion, Patterns and Projects, Tutorial Tuesdays | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

Warm Winter Wishes

CO Sister id tagOne of the things I enjoy most about Colorado winters is “warmth”.  Or maybe I should say the need to stay warm.  I love that it gets truly cold in the winter (unlike Sister’s home in Florida, regardless of her claim that she wears “sweaters”).  One of the best things my DH has done for me was to put in a fireplace and antique mantel.fireNot really this one, but you’ve seen mine on the Starry Night Stockings photo.  I LOVE a fire going.  It adds light and warmth and just says: HOME.  The next best thing to a full fire is a candle.  candlewindow1600At this time of year they come out all over my house. Some are scented, some are not. Some are real, some are not.  I even put one on my sofa.  OK, so it is really the pillow wrap from the Seasons At My Window collection. Once I get the pillow wraps going I use them each month. Add a little warmth to your favorite chair with this one:

web-dec-wrapThen let the warmth continue into January with the “time sensitive” wrap of an hourglass:

web-jan-wrapFinally, for February, you can warm up with a cup of tea:


As you can see, I plan to stay warm all winter long.  I’m settling in for a long winter’s nap.  With Pa in his kerchief and I in my cap. Oh, wait, that’s back to Christmas.

So, wherever you are, snuggle in next to your kind of fire with a little hand work and enjoy the winter.


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On the first day of …

CO Sister id tag



Since the count down has begun, so has the count up until the 12 Days of Christmas  PATTERNS.

Let’s begin before I start mixing the metaphors or carols or whatever!  This first day we are excited to bring you the Starry Night Quilt Pattern in our newest format: PDF. (Complete with colorful diagrams and links to quilting resources.)SN quilt photo printable In celebration of the Night of Nights this brings color and warmth to any room or wall.  The first room I’m decorating this year is the bedroom.  Along with the quilt, I’ll use the pillowcase (a free PS Pattern available at the end of this post.) from the same collection.

SN pillow case for pdf and blog sm

I’ll be set for vision of sugarplums and all that.


Maybe I’ll add some garland to the curtain rod. (email for our full Post Card collection list)


Ok, so I’m getting carried away with more than one idea per day.  This will count as three days and hope that makes the time go by quickly until family comes, cooking begins, snow falls.  Check back in a couple days to see if I got anything checked off the Holiday To Do list.

PS patterns-SN pillow case instructions new

Categories: Patterns and Projects, PS Projects | Tags: , , | 1 Comment

Change is good!

CO Sister id tag

     Change is good.  Change your hair color, your living room furniture, the needle in your machine…or even the center of your pillow.  I heard my sister say “Let’s do hexagons.”  I thought great, but plain.  She said, “Let’s do one a month.”  I thought great, but I’m not ready to make 12 crazy quilt pillows.  Sooooo…we decided to change the hexagon center of the crazy quilt pillow.

   In the antique shop I came across a vintage paper wrapper of pins with a beautiful lady on it.  I ran it through my scanner and had exactly what I needed for the changeable center of the pillow.  I ironed freezer paper to muslin (waxy side to fabric) and put it through the ink jet printer.  It resulted in a slightly faded version of the original.  But exactly what I was looking for.

Parlor Pillow sm for web

   We had used ribbons in the corners of the pillow hexagon center.  So I put ribbons on the corners of the same size hexagon and, using a pillowcase finish, I was able to tie the beautiful lady hexagon on the center of the large square pillow. Now I can change the center hexagon out as often as I want and my sister will think it is a new pillow each time.

You can get your pattern right here. Change is good.

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Mother’s Medallion pillow: from wrinkled ribbon to pretty posy

FL Sister id tagWhen we began to plan the Mother’s Medallion quilt and the Colorado sister said she wanted to try some ribbon embroidery or some Italian embroidery in the middle medallion, I thought it was a fabulous idea. Especially since it was not going to be me that would be attempting that impressive work of art. (She was truly anticipating the challenge of this new technique.)

So, she read and asked questions and watched others and picked up tips and made the center medallion of her quilt with a BEAUTIFUL bouquet of flowers and stems. (I know you can’t see it very well – it’s a teaser for the time when we unveil the entire quilt.)

Cindy's Medallion - center

I was impressed – once again. At the same time I was really, really glad that I had chosen a lesser challenge. But, being a good sister, she gently encouraged me to venture out – to stretch and grow and expand my stitching horizons.

And so it was, that when we began to plan the monthly (or so) individual projects that would introduce the Medallion quilt one row at a time, somehow the task of doing a pillowcase with a dimensional/ribbon flower bouquet fell into my side of the chart. Now, Cindy began to embroider when she was very young so my version is not even in the same category as what she did on the quilt. It certainly isn’t technically ribbon embroidery in the Helen Gibb kind of way – or the Italian way. It’s more of a Sister version that can be summed up with this little poem:

gather, ruch, fold, or pleat

bead, embroider, be messy, be neat

big stitch, little stitch, go straight, make a curl

bunch it or stretch it, make up your own rule

Here’s my pictorial check list version of the Posy making process:

1 begin here

gather stash of ribbon, fabric, thread and fibers

2 position line art

position the line art on the partially completed pillowcase

3 grograin stitches

Try various stitches on various ribbon – thin grosgrain stitched in a zig-zag line

8 ruched wide grograin ribbon

or thick grosgrain stitched in a zig-zag

7 folded wide grograin

add a really thick ribbon, folded and stitched on the fold, gather slightly

4 knotted ribbon

thin, fine ribbon – knotted and stitched with pearl cotton

4 stitched satin ribbon 1

or stain ribbon stitched with embroidery thread

4 stitched satin ribbon

then pull up the stitching thread to “ruch” the ribbon and twist it a bit

5 pleated double ribbon

put a thin satin ribbon on top of a thicker ribbon, stitch it with a pleating stitch

9 audition placement

Audition the stems. Look at it from lots of angles.

12 hexagon flower

Add dimensional flowers, like this hexagon option

13 square flower

Or this origami-like folded flower

14 a failed effort or a new creation

(I started to call this a failure because it looked so little like the directions but then I decided that I must have invented something VERY special.)

15 ribbon flowers

Figure out that the same steps can produce a stem or a flower; just lay one straight and twist the other.

16 audition fibers and small flowers

Add a wired ribbon bow and sew up the sides in French seams… TaDa!

We are pleased with the end result and invite you to stop by our STORE and get the pattern.

1 Pillowcase Posy sm for web

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Miles Apart – INDEED!!!

FL Sister id tagOne day this week I called to chat with my sister and congratulations were in order – she and her rancher were celebrating 36 years of marriage! I know! It’s truly wonderful. Their strong committment to each other has brought blessing to everyone around them. Let there be dancing in the fountain! And balloons! (She’s going to think I’ve made plenty enough ruckus and been plenty sentimental for one day, so I’ll move forward.)

The geographic distance between us really struck me that day.

NA map

They were on their way to a celebration dinner together — in a snow storm. I, on the other hand, was looking for Kleenex because of pollen induced sneezing.

magnolia cropped

That’s a magnolia you seen blooming in a nearby tree.

And then today while I turned on the air conditioner, her drive to town with her bride-to-be daughter looked like this:

April drive in CO

I’m sure you understand, then, why I’m so glad that our stitching together today will keep us connected despite the miles.  Right now, we’re working on the soon to be released Mother’s Parlor Pillow, a crazy quilting project for our Mother’s Medallion collection.

parlor pillow process sm

It’s in a hexagon shape and we’re doing it monochromatically. It’s got an interchangeable ribbon-tied center and we hope you’ll love it! Right now, Sister2 is doing the photography and I’m doing the graphics for the pattern. (I know, I need to stop “talking” to you and get those diagrams drawn and I’ve probably revealed waaay too many Sister Secrets already.)

SO, across the miles, I say Happy Anniversary, Sister. To celebrate I’m sending you this daffodil like the ones we carried in your wedding.


Hope you’ll see one peeking through the “April Showers” you have in your part of the map.

Categories: Patterns and Projects, Sister isn't answering her phone, so I'm telling you ... | Tags: , | Leave a comment

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