Second Pieced Demo Pillow Cover

Finished Pillow Cover Top (Starburst arrangement)

Finished Pillow Cover Top (Starburst arrangement)

Here is the second pieced pillow cover as a demo for the gals interested in having a go at some sewing in ten days time. I had finished the 16 half-square-triangle blocks yesterday, I assembled them into a 4 x 4 array this afternoon. Added batting, stitched in the ditch around the “star” elements to quilt the cover top. Found a fabric for the back, cut batting – my original cut was 16″ – I needed 16 1/2″! so I had to cut a second piece of both batting and fabric. Quilted the cushion back along diagonal lines in both directions.

This time I applied an invisible zipper (I’m actually thinking about taking the first pillow apart and inserting an invisible zipper into that one – I bought a second one for that purpose this afternoon).

Back of Finished Pillow Cover

Back of Finished Pillow Cover

I’m about to sit down and write instructions for making a 16″ pillow cover from 10″ fabric blocks (layer cake size).

  • Step 1: Mark both diagonals
  • Step 2: Stitch 1/4″ on each side of both diagonal lines
  • Step 3: Cut along diagonal lines, then again on both the center vertical and horizontal lines which yields eight 4 1/2″ half-square triangles – perfect for this size pillow cover.
Mark Diagonals, sew 1/4" from line on each side

Mark Diagonals, sew 1/4″ from line on each side

Here’s a tip for making a pillow cover – don’t sew the corners square. I happen to own this Dritz Pillow Cover Template (I’ve had it for years!). As you can see, it rounds off the corners removing about 1/4″ – 3/8″ from the corner. This rounded corner looks square when the cover is stuffed with a pillow. You don’t get those pointy “ears” on the corners. I trimmed my corners on both the yellow pillow cover yesterday and the one I just finished.

Corner Shaping Template

Corner Shaping Template

I applied my zipper along the curved edge just fine, when finished the zipper edge looks square as do the other three sides.

Another Pair of Socks


Comfort Sockenwolle with Cashmere

Finished last evening. Slow going on these ones. I’d started them just before going to Toronto to have something to work on while I was there. Didn’t spend much time knitting. Resumed working on the first sock when I got back home, but the cold laid me low and I didn’t do much knitting for a number of days. Finally got going seriously about ten days ago, knit my usual 2-3 hours in the evening, finished the first sock and then the second. These socks are sized to fit a man wearing a size 9-10 shoe. I have a couple of recipients in mind.

I loved working with the Comfort Sockenwolle (Sock Yarn) with cashmere – lovely and soft and fine enough to work up with an even tension. The “denim” stripes (next to the darkish brown) invited a denim yarn for cuffs, heels and toes. They’re lively, but not so outlandish that a conservative man wouldn’t wear them.

My needles are empty at the moment but I’ll start the next pair this evening.

Grey-Yellow IV

The grey-yellow quilt is finally quilted and bound. Before I left for Toronto, I’d assembled the quilt sandwich, pinned the layers, intending to get back to work on it as soon as I got home. Didn’t happen. We had a couple of severe snowstorms, I came home with a dreadful cold that triggered my asthma, so I spent the better part of 10 days doing little other than coughing.

Finally, last Monday morning, I managed to go to the pool for my regular water aerobic class (I coughed quite a bit, but managed to breathe well enough to stay for the hour). Afterward, when I got home, I looked at the quilt and decided it was time to get back to work on it.


Quilt Top

I fused and appliquéd the circle detail in position, and quilted the immediate surrounding block but didn’t get much further till the end of the week when I managed to get the rest of the central blocks quilted. Sunday, I quilted the border. This morning, I added the binding and label.


Quilt Back


I still had a bunch of half-square triangles left over. I decided to use them for a pillow cover. Last week one of the other sewers in our Friday afternoon knitting/sewing group and I offered to assist those gals interested in making a pillow cover with piecing some half-square triangles into a 4 x 4 block. Five indicated some interest so Debbie and I are planning a sewing Friday in my sewing studio to make zippered, pieced pillow covers.


Pillow Top

I started by gathering together all my leftover blocks – I had 13 constructed which I laid out in a 4 x 4 array – I made another four blocks being careful to use the appropriate grey fabrics so I could build some symmetry into my layout. I used my darkest grey in the corners, distributed the other two shades evenly, then sewed the blocks together. I added batting, and quilted along the diagonals to build some stability into the top. Next I cut a 16″ square piece of batik which I also backed with batting and stitched on the diagonal.


Pillow Back

I trimmed the corners of both the top and back, slightly rounding them off, to create the illusion of ‘”squareness” when a 16″ pillow would be stuffed inside the cover. Finally, I added a zipper (a regular zipper, not an invisible one) to one end, unzipping it before sewing the two sides and the opposite bottom end.

Our instructions to the women were to purchase just two contrasting fabric from which to construct their pillow top. Here, I’ve used several yellows and three different greys. So, I decided, my next pillow cover had to be constructed from just two fabrics. I dug through my stash and came up with a somewhat dark blue/turquoise batik but I had nothing light to complement it, so back to the fabric store to buy 1/4 m. of a light batik.

I cut each of my two 10″ width-of-fabric pieces into four 10″ squares – paired light and dark blocks, marked the diagonals, placed right sides together and stitched 1/4″ on both sides of the diagonal lines. Then I cut along the diagonals and both the horizontal and vertical mid-lines to get eight 4 1/2″ half-square triangles from just two 10″ blocks! All I need for one pillow top is four 10″ blocks (two of each fabric). I’ve got those done and laid out ready to stitch, which I’ll do tomorrow.

I have already cut fabric for the pillow cover back, and batting squares for both top and back. I still could use an 18″ invisible zipper (I like using zippers that are longer than I need so I can ignore the slide when sewing them in place, trimming them after I’ve completed the side seams). It’s not that I don’t have tons of #3 zipper tape (and slides) from which to make an appropriate length zipper, but if I use an invisible one, you’ll barely see it when I’m finished. Besides, both Debbie and I think the gals will be pleased with themselves for having actually sewn in an invisible zipper which is not difficult to do.

So more tomorrow after I finish my second demonstration pillow.

White Out!


White Out

We’re in the middle of a full blown blizzard – heavy blowing snow, so heavy that all I see from my windows is white. This weather is expected to last into tomorrow morning – there are actually two storms which have converged and are moving slowly across the region. I’m SO glad I made it home from Toronto last night because had I not managed to catch a flight yesterday in that narrow window of storm in Toronto (preventing take-off) and storm in Halifax (preventing landing) I’d be stuck in Toronto until at least Wednesday!

So this is a day to lay low and read, make soup, do laundry, and sew or knit or watch movies. Doesn’t matter what, just to snuggle up warmly and be a vegetable. Fingers crossed power will stay on.

Socks – Pair #???

Opal: Moments If Love

Finally a yarn with a detailed pattern. Much more enjoyable to work with.  Ran into an interesting problem – I finished the first sock, matched up the start for the second, but 15 or so rows in, the pattern was suddenly different. That will happen if there’s a yarn break when it’s being balled – there’s a knot and the pattern picks up further along. In this case, there was no knot – just about eight rows of pattern quite different than the rest and then the pattern picked up again. So needless to say, the pattern in the two socks doesn’t align. I guess they’re for someone who’s daring enough to wear unmatched/matched socks.

Grey-Yellow III


Just finished the top borders only to see in the photo that I’ve switched out two blocks and have then in the wrong place. So gotta carefully unstitch that area, and reposition those two blocks – not today. Maybe tomorrow.

Top Finished

Top Finished

Other than that, I’m pleased with the finished top. The grey-black gradation has worked; the yellow doesn’t shift the way I was visualizing it but it’s still effective, more or less. I certainly can live with that. I’m pleased with the points integrated into the border – that worked out nicely.

So now to come up with something for the back. I have a lot of yellow/grey blocks left over – I’m going to have to play with them on the floor to see what I can come up with.

Here’s where the blocks are reversed so the greys are in the wrong place:

OK, I couldn’t stay away from the sewing – I fixed the blocks:

Then I went on to the back – remaining blocks – a spiral:

I’ll fill in around it with the backing fabric – this large 8 x 6 block will get positioned offset toward one of the quadrants.