A while back, Kerry from Kid Giddy asked if I wanted to sew along with her Ugly Christmas Sweater Sew Along, and of course I said yes. I have been wanting to make her “Ugly Sweater” block since it came out last year, so this was the perfect excuse to get it (and a deadline) on my to-do list. Plus, quick little finishes are really nice this time of year. I don’t think my sweater is very ugly, but that’s ok!
The block finishes at 6″ square, so my initial thought was to shrink it down to a 3″ square and make an ornament. I love making functional items, and you know how I love to sew teeny tiny ridiculously small things! But then when I sorted through my stash and decided upon the Tula Pink Prince Charming print as the sweater body, I decided the scale would look better with the 6″ size. Now we are going to have a festive mug rug/coaster, which I plan to have out for all of sweater season, which is nice and long here in Maine!
I love the subtle Cotton + Steel Mustang twinkle trim on the sweater, and the Kona Wasabi arms round it out nicely.
Hindsight, I should have made the shoulder bits with the greeny-yellow part of the Tula print instead of the blue, since they kind of disappear into the background, but c’est la vie. My husband says he likes it this way, so all is well.
I plan to do some simple diagonal crosshatch quilting with the walking foot on my Bernina 560, but haven’t yet decided whether to use Aurifil 50wt Medium Delft Blue-2783 or Lemon-2115. I’m leaning toward the lemony yellow, I think. Which would you use?
I’ll be sure to share this block in action once I quilt it up and plop some delicious treats or a warm mug of something sweet on top! I borrowed some of the tiny glittery ornaments from the tiny tree my son cut for our kitchen island for my block photo shoot and now there’s glitter EVERYwhere! I hope your holiday season has been glittery and bright so far, too!
Today I’m excited to be a part of the Oakshott Lipari blog hop, your final stop for those of you who have been following along. So many fabulous projects have been made with the fat eighths bundle of the new Lipari line, so I encourage you to also check out the others along the hop, linked at the bottom of this post. Many thanks to Lynne and Michael at Oakshott for including me in the hop!
This was my first time working with Oakshott fabrics, and they are so luxurious! They are a woven fabric and feel almost silky to the touch. They feel more substantial than other shot cottons I’ve used, and the Lipari line looks iridescent since the warp is black and the weft is a bright jewel tone. These fabrics come to life when you see them in person–photos truly don’t do them justice. The Lipari line was inspired by volcanoes and the description from Oakshott says it best: “Lipari perfectly captures the primordial beauty of the Aeolian islands. Its luminous colours mirror cobalt seas, lush greenery, pink bougainvillea and shimmering sun; a beauty shot through with dark, fine-grained volcanic rock and black sand.” As soon as I read this description, I knew my quilt had to be a reflection of this volcanic inspiration. Thus, my Vesuvius quilt was born.
I made my Vesuvius quilt with 60 degree triangles, to elicit the sharp peaks of the mountainous volcanoes. I pulled in some Ruby Red – Toledo for the molten focal triangle, and let the Lipari steal the show. I used my Sizzix die cutting machine to speed up the cutting process. I really wanted to photograph this quilt next to a volcano, but I had to settle for some blueberry barrens and a Maine coast beach.
I quilted Vesuvius with 50 wt Aurifil thread 1246-Grey, which blended wonderfully with the Lipari Pollara (grey) I used as a background color. I used the walking foot on my domestic Bernina 560 to quilt straight lines 1″ apart, switching up directions in various sections of the quilt to provide movement and added interest. I LOVE how it turned out!
The Lipari Porticello (dark green) backing shows the quilting wonderfully, although it’s tough to get the full effect through photos!
I was torn on what color to use as the binding, but decided that Lipari Gallina (purple) frames it nicely.
This quilt finishes at 36″x43″ so would make a wonderful wall hanging or sophisticated baby quilt. You could also add borders to make it larger.
Here’s how to make your very own Vesuvius quilt! (Note that Oakshott Lipari fabric is 54″ wide. Typical quilting cotton is approximately 42″ wide, so plan accordingly)
A fat eighths bundle of Oakshott Lipari
1/8 yard of Oakshott Ruby Red Toledo
3/4 yard additional Lipari Pollara (grey)-negative space
1 1/4 yards Lipari Porticello (dark green)-backing
1/3 yard Lipari Gallina (purple)-binding
42″ x 50″ piece of batting
Sizzix die cutting machine
Sizzix XL Triangle, Equilateral 4 3/4″ x 5 1/2″ unfinished die
Rotary cutter, cutting mat with 60 degree lines, and ruler
Thread (I used Aurifil 50wt 1246-Grey for both piecing and quilting)
Sewing machine with a walking foot (I use a Bernina 560)
Small thread snip scissors
Using your method of choice (see below for instructions for each method), cut the following number of triangles from each fabric:
88 grey (Lipari Pollaro)
9 red (Ruby Red Toledo)
From fat eighth Lipari bundle:
Using a Sizzix die cutting machine
I used my Sizzix Fabi and BigZ Triangle, Equilateral 4 3/4″ x 5 1/2″ unfinished die to speed up the cutting process.
When using your sizzix, cut 5″ x width of fat eighth strips of fabric of each color, fold them over the die blade in the Sizzix cutting sandwich (bottom cutting pad, die with the blade face up, fabric, top cutting pad), and cut 9 triangles at a time. Note that the Oakshott fat eighths are 10″ x 27″, which are larger than a typical quilting cotton 9″ x 21″ fat eighth.
After passing each strip of fabric through the Fabi die cutting machine, you can reposition the remaining fabric and cut triangles from the “scraps”.
If you don’t have a Sizzix, read on to find out how to cut 60 degree triangles with your rotary cutter, using the lines on your cutting mat.
Using a rotary cutter and the lines on your cutting mat
First, cut strips 4 3/4″ by width of fabric. *Note: You can leave the fabric strip folded in half or doubled up if you’re using the width of fat eighth strips, allowing you to cut two triangles at a time!
Find the 30 degree line on your cutting mat. Yes, we are making 60 degree triangles by cutting along the 30 degree line (You have a 90 degree square to begin, trim off 30 degrees, then you’re left with 60 degrees!)
Align the bottom of your fabric strip along the 1-inch line. I use the 1-inch line so that you can see where the 30 degree line extends above and below the fabric. Place the edge of your ruler along the 30 degree line.
Using your rotary cutter, cut your fabric on the ruler angle.
Flip your fabric strip over, then align the bottom edge with the 1-inch line on your mat, so that the bottom point of your cut is on the 30 degree line.
Again, place the edge of your ruler along the 30 degree line. Using your rotary cutter, cut your fabric on the ruler angle. You now have your 60 degree triangle, or two (2) if you kept your fabric strip folded in half. Cut as many as you need.
Piecing the Quilt Top
Once your pieces are cut, lay them out as shown. A piece of batting wrapped around a large wall board works well, but I have been often known to use my design floor to help with layout, too! (SizingNote: if you want a larger quilt, you could add a row of grey (Lipari Pollara) triangles to the right and left sides before sewing the rows together to maintain the outer triangle points when adding borders. Then, trim square and add rectangular borders to the desired size.)
Be sure to keep the grain of fabric running top to bottom (the woven texture of the Oakshott Lipari makes this easy to do since the grain is clearly visible when the fabric is held up to the light). Once your pieces are laid out as desired, it’s time to sew them together! Chain piecing helps the process go quickly and smoothly. Here’s how to set it up.
Label each horizontal row. I began with 1 on the top and ended with 11 on the bottom and used pins to label the first piece in each row (Note that I labeled each row after stacking, so the pins aren’t visible in these photos).
Carefully stack the triangles from each row, with the far left piece on top, and keeping the triangles facing the proper direction (this will help you keep them straight while piecing). For example, for row one, you will have the labeled first triangle piece from the far left on top, and carefully pick up each triangle across the row, adding it to the bottom of the stack.
Once you have your row stacked, use a clover clip or similar device to hold the stack together.
Gather all of your rows in this manner.
Lay them out in order, making a clear mental note of what row is located where. You could label a sticker on the table next to each stack to help, although simply keeping them in chronological order works well for me. Let’s sew! (Note that a table next to you works better than having the stacks this close to the sewing machine. As you add pieces, your strips will drag your stacks around if you keep them here as shown!)
To speed up the process, we will be chain piecing (sewing without stopping) the first piece to the second piece from every row. Note: Be sure to keep the pin labeling each row in the first block at all times!!
Once you have all of your first pieces sewn to your second pieces, trim the threads to separate, and press. All these bias edges means this is a great time to practice pressing, and NOT ironing. Press: up, down, up. Great!
Alternate which side you press your seam for each row. I pressed odd rows (1, 3, 5, etc.) to the left and even rows (2, 4, 6, etc.) to the right. Pressing open also works well!
Next, add the next triangle to each row, chain sewing again. You’ll be sewing the third triangle (which is now on top of each stack) to each row. Double check the number pin on the sewn row before adding the next triangle, since you want to be sure to keep your gorgeous layout intact.
Continue chain piecing, trimming, pressing, and chain piecing again until all of your rows are assembled. As you add each triangle, stack those corners and everything will be right in line!
Sew all of the rows together, pressing seams up toward the grey triangles. I like to pin about 1/8″ after each point where the triangle points will be matching up, and aim to sew *right* through the center of the seam-cross to make sure you don’t cut off any points when sewing the rows together.
Quilting & Finishing
Once your quilt top is pieced, baste as desired. I decided to quilt my quilt before squaring it up because of all of the bias edges. I used 505 basting spray and spray basted for the first time! I used Christa Watson’s design wall spray basting tutorial and can see why people love it.
I decided to quilt my quilt with straight lines 1″ apart using the walking foot on my Bernina 560. I used a hera marker and a long quilting ruler to mark lines 1/2″ from some seams, and then 1″ apart from there. I sectioned the quilting in a few different sections, using straight lines 1″ apart but changing directions in each section. Lines intersect in the Ruby Red triangle, “exploding” out to the sides (like a volcanic eruption!?). The quilting lines don’t intersect anywhere else in the quilt. I really love the finished effect.
After quilting, it’s time to square up the quilt. Using a long, straight edge, trim 1/4″ away from the outer points so that you don’t lose any points when you sew on the binding. Use at least two sets of points to make sure your ruler is straight before cutting.
Square up your quilt, trimming off the excess, then bind!
Viola! Enjoy your Vesuvius Quilt, and please use #vesuviusquilt and tag me @nightquilter if you decide to make one.
Many thanks, again, to Oakshott for providing the fabrics for this project, and for including me in the hop. Make sure to check out the rest of the amazing Lipari projects:
*BREAKING NEWS* Volcanic action alert
For those of you who follow me on Instagram, you may have seen the heart-wrenching fate of this quilt, that I so unknowingly aptly named “Vesuvius”: my nearly-four year old son cut into it in three places (along with a trail of destruction that included my Machinger quilting gloves cut into pieces and cuts into a big chunk of fusible fleece). With the great outpouring of support, commiseration, and suggestions offered by the fantastic community on IG, I’ve decided to make the cuts an added design element, another chapter in the story of the quilt, and sew either black or red patches over the cuts, making them into “fault lines”.
For now, though, I will put the quilt aside until I can dive into the repair with chuckles and reminiscence instead of lingering tears and frustration. I know that my son did not cut into my quilt maliciously, but it still is a difficult experience. I have made it known that if he ever wants to cut fabric again, he can tell me and I will help him make a quilt. We’ll see where it goes. For now, my Vesuvius Quilt (aka Max’s Fault Lines) is smoking and being buried by ash for a bit. It will rise again some day in the future.
A month or so ago, I selected a blogger bundle for my local quilt shop Fiddlehead Artisan Supply, and called it Autumn Dusk. The colors made me think of the calm at dusk, and I thought it would be a perfect palette for a pillow. Our couch doesn’t have a single handmade pillow, and that needed to change. In thinking about pattern ideas, I came across my Kaleidoscope die from Sizzix and decided to play. Do you have ANY idea how many different patterns you can make with the Kaleidoscope pattern!? It boggles my mind. Peek at the results from a quick “kaleidoscope quilt” google search HERE to give you an idea of the potential.
Trust me when I say the most difficult part is deciding on fabrics and fabric placement.
This tutorial will include cutting instructions for the same arrangement of nine (9) blocks made from six (6) fat quarters of fabric as I used, as well as assembly and finishing instructions for an envelope-backed 18″ square pillow. If you want to make an identical pillow, you can buy the Autumn Dusk bundle from Fiddlehead HERE, or enter to win a bundle by commenting on yesterday’s post HERE. I have included some affiliate links in this post so that if you click through, I will get a small commission. I only share products I love and use.
If you are creating your own kaleidoscope version, print out this printable provided by Debby at Quilter by Design and start playing with color combinations. Note that you can emphasize a windmill shape, a star shape, or a circular movement depending on where you position your colors and values of fabric. Once your design and fabric choices have been made, it’s time to cut!
For this pillow, cut the following (refer to the photo above for fabric numbers):
For quick and easy cutting with your Sizzix fabi, cut fabric strips 4″ wide for the wedges and 2 5/8″ wide for the corners.
Then you can accordion-fold the fabric over the die and cut 16 of each at a time, since the die has 2 corner and 2 wedge blades and you can layer fabric 8 layers thick. That’s 32 pieces cut per pass, if you plan your fabric cutting wisely! (Note that the image above is to demonstrate the accordion-fold, not the uber efficient cutting!)
Once your pieces are all cut, lay them out in your desired pattern. Tip: Take a photo with your phone or camera once you’ve decided on a layout. Having this photo handy during piecing will make getting everything in the proper place the first time so much easier!
Now let’s sew the blocks together!
First, sew the corners onto the appropriate wedge blocks.
The notches cut by the Sizzix make accurate piecing easy. Center the corner piece right sides together with the bottom edge of the wedge piece as shown in the inset photo above. Then use the little corners sticking out from the bottom edges of the wedge as a sewing guide. Set seams and press open.
You will then have this.
Next, pair each cornered wedge with a background wedge. Be sure to sew along the same side edge for each pair, and begin sewing from the corner edge and not the center point. Set seams, press open. **Note that assembling this block is a perfect time to practice pressing and NOT ironing. Even a little wiggle might stretch sections enough to result in a ripple when the final block is assembled. Press: up, down, up. NOT ironing. Got it!**
Double check your arrangement with the photo you took before sewing pairs together.
You will now have two halves. Aligning the notched corners and pinning just after the center seam match, sew the halves together. Set seams and press open.
Ta-da! You have a kaleidoscope block. Make 9 total.
Feel free to chain piece these blocks, but have your layout photo handy. Lay out your pieces and confirm arrangement before sewing each step.
Arrange your blocks as desired. Double check that all fabrics are in the proper place.
Then sew the blocks in each row together. Finally, sew the three rows together to complete the pillow top.
I love how the notches cut by the Sizzix help with every step of the piecing process–from piecing to matching points in the final assembly. When joining your rows, you can use the seam line as a guide to make sure you don’t lose any points.
Once your kaleidoscope pillow top is complete, baste it to a 20″x20″ piece of batting (or fuse to fusible fleece), find some coordinating thread and quilt as desired. I used Aurifil 50wt 2560-Iris since it was a nice gentle purple and matched my light colors while providing great contrast with the dark background.
Once your pillow top is quilted, square it up with a rotary cutter, being sure to leave a 1/4″ seam allowance from the outermost points.
Next, we’ll make the pillow’s back panels. Cut two (2) pieces of 13 1/2″x19″ background fabric (my finished pillow top actually measured closer to 19″ than 18 1/2″ square. Adjust accordingly based on the measurement of your pillow) and two (2) pieces of 12 3/4″x19″ batting.
Layer the backing panels wrong sides facing the batting, and lining up three edges. The backing fabric should extend about 3/4″ on one side.
Fold the extended edge in 1/4″. Press with a hot iron.
Fold over again, flush with the edge of the batting (approx 1/2″) and press. Pin or clip in place.
Pin along the edges of the backing fabric and batting to help keep them together if you want to, although I found that they stuck together just fine without any pins. Alternately, you could fuse on fusible fleece instead of batting, although this is a great project for using up batting scraps. With the backing fabric right side facing up, top stitch 1/4″ from the folded edge. Sew again 1/8″ from the first stitches. Repeat for the other panel.
Now it’s time to sew the pillow front to the back panels. Lay the quilted pillow top right side facing up, and place the back panels right sides facing down, with the raw edges aligning with the raw edges of the pillow top and the sewn hem edges toward the center of the pillow.
There should be about 6″ of overlap.
Pin securely and sew around the entire edge of the pillow. Be sure to reinforce where the envelope edges meet, sewing back and forth multiple times, since they will receive the bulk of the wear and tear as the pillow form is put in and taken out.
Clip the corners, and turn right side out through the envelope opening, carefully pushing out corners with a blunt chopstick. Insert an 18″ pillow form, or one of your old couch cushions, and enjoy!
Max quickly discovered that there were ponies on the pillow, so he had to run and get his best friend, aptly named Pony.
This pillow apparently now belongs to Pony, since, well… ponies!
I grab a needle and thread once the kids are in bed