Monday, January 19, 2015

first finish of the year

2015 is going to be the year of finishing UFOs (unfinished objects) and WIPs (works in progress) here at elsie's girl! Since I am great at starting new projects, but not so great at finishing them, I've got quite a (literal) pile-up of projects in various stages of completion taking up space in the sewing room.

Riding the wave of post-Christmas holiday cheer I decided to tackle these two Christmas pillows first and finished them last week. The unquilted pillow tops had been stuck in the UFO pile since December 2012.

My quilt guild (Crystal Lake MQG) is hosting a 2015 UFO Challenge with prize drawings for completed projects throughout the year, and I've registered six UFOs so far. I could register sooo many more, but I'm really trying to be realistic about what I can actually finish before October and not fail miserably at this challenge!  These two pillows are my first UFO Challenge finish, so I'm off to a good start :)

But back to the pillows. The first one was made from a Jaybird Quilts pattern "Candy Dish" and measures 20" square.  The pattern actually makes a 16" square pillow, but it was easy enough to add extra rows and columns to make the 20" covering. All the blocks were cut from leftover fabric from the "It's the Hap-Happiest Season of All" quilt made in 2011 (the back of that very quilt is seen in this photo!)

It is simply straight line quilted with a pale robin's egg blue thread, and as I write this I see that I missed a row of quilting on the right edges of the two red blocks in the center of the photo. Oh well, finished is better than perfect, right?!

My second pillow was patterned after this sweet one from Amy at Nana Company. She designs and makes the loveliest projects :) Mine measures 16" x 26" and is also made with scraps from the same 2011 Christmas quilt.

I added straight line quilting in the same pale blue thread here within the colored fabric blocks, while hand embroidery of the lyrics from my favorite Christmas song fills in the white strips.

It's been a long time since I did this embroidery so I'm not sure what specific DMC floss color I used, but I believe it's only one or two strands in a stem stitch. I can only manage two embroidery stitches - stem and french knot - and those are the only stitches you see here! I seem to remember using more strands of floss for a bit and then taking it out because the stitching was too bulky. So don't be afraid to rip out and start over if you don't like the results. Embroidery is slow work for me, but I'm so glad I stuck with it long enough to finish these lyrics - to me they are the best part of the pillow!

Both pillows have zipper backings. The square one is made from a couple of flannel pieces I had saved from the 2011 Christmas quilt (the front seen here) and has a standard 18" centered zipper insertion.

Because I had a larger piece of this backing fabric, I was able to add a hidden 14" standard zipper very near one of the short ends. I always use this tutorial from House on Hill Road for hidden zipper pillow backings.

One of the requirements of the guild UFO challenge is that when you finish a project it must be shown at the next guild meeting to be eligible for the prize drawings. So I'll be taking these to our February meeting and then packing them away until Thanksgiving weekend much later this year. Chances are excellent that I'll forget all about these pillows until then, and it will truly be like Christmas when we decorate again in late November and I rediscover them!

One UFO down, five to go!

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