QUILLOW 2016: WEAVE IN WEAVE OUT

As a Pinterest junkie, I found this neat method to create a square patchwork quilt — or in my case, a quillow. The method — weave long strips of fabric in and out of other long strips of fabric. I bought a few yards of Christmas fabric at 80 cents a yard, knowing it would be the backing for the weave method. So, where in the world do I start? I read the tutorial and understood the method, but I didn’t want my strips to have raw edges. Hmmmmmmmm.

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I initially cut strips of random fabric 4 inches wide, folded it in half with the right sides together, sewed a straight stitch to create a tube, and pulled the fabric through the tube. During the process, I realized the tubes were way too narrow and a ton of them would be needed for the project. This girl didn’t have time or patience to deal with a million small tubes. Nope. No way. I really didn’t want to start over, but I had not invested too much time into the first draft.

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During the second draft, I cut the strips 6 inches wide, creating a wider tube. Yes, this will work much much better. With my leftover and remnant fabric stash, I created a ton of tubes and sewed the majority of the tubes across the top of the Christmas backing. I simply sewed one open end to the top raw edge of the backing — a better explanation. So far so good as the tubes dangled freely. I sewed the remaining tubes to the side of the backing — again, just one open end of the tube.

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When I have more time, I will create more tubes to complete the side rows and fill out shorter tubes. My remnant stash doesn’t include a ton of long pieces so I had to sew small fabric pieces together to create a longer strip. During the first few days on the project, I didn’t want to waste all my free time creating and sewing tubes. I wanted to weave! Weave in. Weave out. I wanted to create some magic. The process is a little time consuming, but I love the end look — so far.

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Weave in. Weave out. That’s the basic premise of the method. Using the long strips dangling from the side of the backing, I carefully weaved in and weaved out the side strips with the top strips. After making sure the squares were lined up, smoothed out, and tightly woven, I pinned everything in place and sewed the partial woven areas. Once the sewing portion was complete, I laid the project onto the floor in front of the TV and started weaving again.

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I am nowhere close to being complete with the quillow, but after a few days, I had a good start. Because this is the first time I’m using the weave method I wanted to use the odds and ends of leftover fabric. If I feel ambitious to try the method again, I will probably find coordinating fabric. Half of me would like to try the method again using prettier material, but the other half of me says, “This is a ton of work. Just be happy you tried the method in the first place.”

QUILLOW 2016: SCRAPS FROM BECKY

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I have a pretty great sister. During a recent trip to my sister’s dairy farm, she and I worked on various sewing projects. She completed the top part of a quilt for one of her kids, and I sewed matching infinity scarves for her and daughter.

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Anyway, Becky had a tote full of leftover fabric from various projects and offered them to me. She’s pretty great, isn’t she? I spent an afternoon digging through the tote, pulling out pretty fabric, and thinking the new stash of scraps would be perfect for a quillow or two.

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Upon my return home, I eagerly completed two quillows. Although I had a few minor issues, the quillows turned out nicely and I still have a healthy stash of leftover fabrics for two or three more quillows. Thanks so much, Becky! And thanks for all the kitten photos.

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Online Quilting Class

INTRODUCING WINTER HOPE

For the past few months, I’ve been working on a new web site — winterhope14.wordpress.com. Over the holidays, I made a ton of quillows for various family members and some of my friends have been curious about these projects. Sometimes pictures paint a better description than my awkward words of quilty and pillow. I created the site for friends and family who are interested in buying one of my quillows.

Honestly, this is not a business venture. Even if I sell three or four quillows in a week or month, the sales won’t pay our bills. I’ll make a small profit — I won’t lie — but I won’t be rolling in bed with hundred dollar bills anytime soon (plus that’s just gross). Because I’m not a professional quilter, my quillows are reasonably priced due to minor errors and imperfections.

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I’m still perfecting the art of creating quillows, which hasn’t been easy with two curious cats and my very limited amount of patience. Even with careful cutting, sometimes my square patches don’t line up perfectly, which make me pout in disappointment. Sometimes the pillow pocket is not perfectly centered. Because of these imperfections, the listed prices are very reasonable.

I create quillows because I love sewing — it relaxes me — and I love giving something specially made to someone. Any kind of fabric with pink or purple colors, pretty flowers, or cute butterflies made my two nieces happy. In fact, my niece Tova helped me pick out a new stash of fabric during one trip to the fabric store. Me: “Hey, Tova! Is this fabric cute?” Tova: “Yes! I love it! Buy it!”

I must’ve been a tween when I received my first and only quillow when they were uber popular. What’s a quillow, you ask? Part quilt and part pillow, of course! When the quilt isn’t folded and tucked into the built-in pillow pocket, it’s a lovely blanket. I sadly had to toss my quillow when one of my cats had some behavior issues and targeted my beautiful blue quillow.

I don’t plan to have a huge inventory of quillows listed on the web site — winterhope14.wordpress.com — because I have no desire to crank out dozens of quillows at one time. For now, I should have about four or five quillows available for sale and maybe more based on increased interest. As much as I love sewing, I don’t want to spend my entire day or week sitting in front of my sewing machine.

I was a little hesitant about sharing the new site with family and friends because this venture is something new and the product is not perfect. But with a few friends interested, I really needed a platform to share quillow pictures and details. And a quick shout-out to my sister who has not received her quillow — don’t worry, I’m working on it.

QUICK QUILLOW INTERMISSION

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I have to take a quillow break. As much as I love folding and tucking the blanket into a pillow, I have been making some major mistakes with a couple of quillows and quickly becoming frustrated at my lack of progress. So I need a break.

My living room has been dotted with piles of fleece and flannel during December, and I’m grateful for Charlie’s patience with my sewing messiness. The break has given me a chance to organize my fabrics and keep my living room clean for about a day.

Plus, my refashion piles keep growing and I’ve been itching to work on some clothes. Not to mention, I want to spend more time with the embroidery feature on my sewing machine so I can monogram everything within my reach. 😉

MY QUILLOW COLLECTION

I pretty much spent the month of December creating quillows (quilt + pillow) like a mad woman. When I figured out how to make quillows about over a year ago, I thought all my nephews and nieces should have one from their favorite aunt (me).

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MY WONDER WOMAN QUILLOW!

With focus and determination, I decided my sisters and I should have matching quillows. However, my overachieving ambition and a broken sewing machine got the better of me and my quillow pieces collected dust (not really because they were stored in totes).

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EMERSON’S QUILLOW — PART GREEN BAY PACKERS AND PART SKULLS.

Anyway, I started working on my quillow collection when my sister generously loaned her sewing machine to me and my amazing husband bought me a brand spanking new sewing machine. Luckily, I had several separate pieces completed and needed to piece everything together.

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FOR MY SISTER, BECKY.

At this point, all my nephews and nieces have a quillow from their favorite aunt (Gavin refused to confirm this rumor) despite being a teeny bit past a birthday or some celebration deadline (a huge shout out to Ethan and Cole for being super cool about it).

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QUILLOW FOR MY NEPHEW, ELLIOTT.

By the end of December, I completed five quillows and had them all ready for Christmas gifts. I’m pretty proud of myself since at least three of the quillows were promised for completion sometime in 2014. Oopsy. Again, in my defense, my sewing machine broke down in early 2014.

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MY DECEMBER QUILLOW COLLECTION

But then again, my laziness prevented me from borrowing my sister or my mom’s sewing machine. At least I can start with the new year with a clean slate — no overdue quillows to worry about. Until I start making new promises.

THE GIVING SEASON

After the holidays, I will probably publish a few picture posts of some of the gifts I made for friends and relatives. With my sewing skills improving with each project, I feel confident about giving some sewing projects as gifts this year. I love the idea of creating useful and fun gifts — quillows, scarves, etc. Since the beginning of November, I have been sewing like a mad woman to complete the presents in time for the holidays. But I am having fun and I hope the recipients truly like the gifts. The following pictures are sneak peeks of the gifts …

GIFT COMPLETE: COLOR BLOCK INFINITY SCARF MADE FROM TWO OLD T-SHIRTS

GIFT COMPLETE: COLOR BLOCK INFINITY SCARF MADE FROM TWO OLD T-SHIRTS

I have a ton more old shirts and T-shirts that will eventually be turned into infinity scarves or fabric flowers. Since I have yet to find a cute use for the fabric flowers already in my stash, I’m thinking my friends will receive infinity scarves for Christmas. Surprise!

GIFT IN-PROGRESS: A QUILLOW

GIFT IN-PROGRESS: A QUILLOW

The soccer quillow was actually a birthday gift for my nephew, Gavin. I simply used long strips of fabric for the front quilty part of the quillow and soccer fleece for the backing (fleece is warm and soft). Red fleece (not pictured) was used to make the pocket of the quillow.

GIFT IN-PROGRESS: LITTLE DOG INFINITY SCARF

GIFT IN-PROGRESS: LITTLE DOG INFINITY SCARF

As soon as I spotted the bolt of fabric, it immediately was thrown into my cart because I knew exactly what I wanted to do with it and who I was going going to receive a gift made from the fabric. Luckily, the remaining fabric on the bolt (a little over a yard) was on clearance. Yay!

GIFT IN-PROGRESS: 1 BABY BLANKET

GIFT IN-PROGRESS: 1 BABY BLANKET

Two factors had kept me from making a simply fleece baby blanket: I was waiting for a massive sale on sports fleece and I didn’t really want to buy the St. Louis Cardinals fleece online. Finally, I found the Cardinals fleece on sale at a fabric store in Iowa. Baby Nolan’s mom adores the Twins and dad loves the Cardinals.

JUST ONE OF MANY MANY MANY QUILLOWS I'M MAKING FOR FAMILY

GIFT COMPLETE: THE LITTLE MONKEY QUILLOW

I’m happy I completed the little monkey quillow for one of my nephews, but I need to spend some more time on my sewing machine to finish the other eight to 10 quillows already in progress. I just need to organize my projects and find some motivation amidst the many changes in the next few months. Wish me luck!

MY FIRST QUILLOW!

I must’ve been a tween when I received my first and only quillow when they were uber popular. What’s a quillow, you ask? Part quilt and part pillow, of course! When the quilt isn’t folded and tucked into the built-in pillow pocket, it’s a lovely blanket. I sadly had to toss my quillow when one of my cats had some behavior issues and targeted my beautiful blue quillow.

MY FIRST QUILLOW

I must’ve been a tween when I received my first and only quillow when they were uber popular. What’s a quillow, you ask? Part quilt and part pillow, of course! When the quilt isn’t folded and tucked into the built-in pillow pocket, it’s a lovely blanket. I absolutely loved my blue quillow and kept it for years until I sadly had to toss my quillow when one of my cats had some behavior issues and targeted it.

For the quilted side, I used the jelly-roll strip method without using strips from a jelly roll. Instead, I used my longest pieces of fabric from my scrap stash and cut them all to be 6 inches high – I didn’t tinker with the length. The fast and easy method is simply sewing the end strips together. Once that was completed, I had one very long strip of fabric.

THE QUILTED SIDE

For the quilted side, I used the jelly-roll strip method without using strips from a jelly roll. Confused? Instead of using a store-bought jelly roll, I used my longest pieces of fabric from my scrap stash and cut them all to be 6 inches high – I didn’t tinker with the length. The fast and easy method is simply sewing the end strips together. Once that was completed, I had one very long strip of fabric.

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MY STRIPS OF FABRIC + CLARA

Next, I found the two end pieces of the super long strip of fabric and started to sew the pieces together lengthwise. I’m not sure which part was more tedious, sewing the short ends together or sewing two super long pieces together. The process was super easy, using the simple straight stitch, but it was also boring. I recommend listening to your favorite tunes during this process.

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THE FABRIC I CHOSE TO CUT INTO STRIPS

Once I reached the end, I cut the end loop and I had two sewn rows of fabric strips. Then I repeated the process, find the end pieces, start sewing lengthwise, and cut the loop at the end. I repeated this process until I reached the desired width of my quilt, which resulted in a little more than a dozen rows of strip fabric. With about a dozen breaks and numerous distractions, I completed it over the course of two days.

THE FLEECE AND QUILT

THE FLEECE AND QUILTY SIDE

For the backing, I chose a cute fleece because of the softness and warmth. Not to mention, I wanted the quillow project to be quick, fun, and easy. After enlisting Charlie’s help and watching an online video for tips, I attached a fleece square in the bottom middle of the fleece backing – this creates the pocket of the quillow. I attached the pocket using a zig-zag stitch. And for some reason, sewing the pocket wasn’t as easy as I thought it would be.

MY SWEET SWEET CLARA

MY SWEET SWEET CLARA

CLARA: “Oh, are you trying to work here? But look at how cute I am. Adore me, please.” Because I didn’t use pre-sorted jelly-roll strips, I ran the risk of having two strip pieces of the same fabric being sewn together lengthwise. I ran into the two-strips one-piece issue twice, but fortunately, the pieces were near the edges, which I just cut off to match the width of the fleece. I’m a perfectionist up until a fixable extent.

MY ORANGE FURBALL, RILEY

MY ORANGE FURBALL, RILEY

I’m pretty pleased with the result of my first quillow! Other than touching it up some areas, it’s basically done and I’m pretty proud of myself for actually completing a major sewing project. Maybe one day, I’ll splurge for an actual jelly roll of pretty fabric instead of scavenging my scrap pile. One day. Maybe. Anyway, I’m pretty happy and proud of myself for completing this project! Yay!