3 inch block pincushion

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Hey.  You miss me right?  I know.  I never come around anymore, and when I do, I am just trying to get you to make stuff.  But, don’t you want to make things that you can get done in just one day?  No, I mean for real.  In one day.  I tell you what.  If you don’t trust me, I understand.  I have been there with the ‘(insert project here) in a day!!!’ books, pamphlets, and classes.  I am telling you, it’s lies, all lies.  I always end up with little bits cut out of yardage, and a half-baked tea cozy…or whatever.  But this here is legit, y’all.  You can bank this one on me.

Still reading?  Whoa.  I usually lose people by this point. Quick!  Before you come to your senses, I want you to grab or make a block that measures 3 1/2 inches square. (This block will finish at 3 inches, which explains how I came up with the genius title.)  This could be a churn dash, a log cabin, a split rail, improv, or even a paper-pieced pterodactyl.

And so it begins.

Supplies needed:

  • 1- 3 1/2 inch block of spectacular beauty
  • fabric scraps for the border cut into four rectangles. A ten inch square scrap would be plenty. 2 rectangles will be 1 3/4″ x 3 1/2″, and two rectangles will be 1 3/4″ x 6″. *note: if you are using a directional, read or follow pattern to the end before cutting, so you don’t get mad at me for ruining your day. (Seriously! Only one day!)
  • batting scrap measuring 6 1/2″ square
  • a 6″ scrap of fabric for the back or bottom of the pincushion
  • a 6″ piece of light weight, or woven interfacing, such as Pellon Shape Flex 101 (SF101)
  • Stuffing/filling:  Buy the ten pound bag, then only use a hand full…it’s the law.
  • a small plastic grid ruler, pencil, thread, needle, and if you sew like me…a seam ripper is always good to have around.  Don’t ask me why.

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These are the fabrics that I chose for the job.  I have already cut pieces to start.

Okay, so this next picture shows the grey border rectangles already sewn to the 3 1/2 inch block, because I thought that I got a picture of the process, but like a dufus, I didn’t; however, you can easily imagine that you take the two smaller rectangles, and using a scant 1/4 inch seam allowance, sew one to each side of the 3 1/2 inch center block.  Then take the two remaining larger rectangles and sew one to the other two sides so that it looks like this:

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Place the block on top of your piece of batting making sure to center it.  You do not need the backing piece yet.  (by the way, I have also used flannel or thermal fleece for batting on these.) At this point, you can put a decorative hand quilt stitch around the edge of the block using pearl cotton, DMC floss, or similar.  It isn’t necessary, it’s just to make it look pretty, y’all.

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Whether you decide to do that decorative quilt stitch or not, be sure to put a baste stitch around the perimeter of the pincushion top, 1/8″ from the edge, so that it looks like this:

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Trim the excess batting from the edge of the block so that it measures 6″ square.  Set aside.

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Now we are going to prepare the back, or bottom, of the pincushion by stabilizing it with the lightweight or woven interfacing.  Both the backing piece of fabric and the interfacing should be cut to 6″ square.

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You will attach it, following the product instructions, to the wrong side of the fabric.  Make sure that the rough side of the interfacing is facing the fabric.  If you get this wrong, it will adhere right to your iron. I have never made this mistake, but a distant cousin on my mom’s side of the family has a friend who said that it was the dumbest thing she has ever done.

Now we get to sew the two pieces together like a miniature pillow.  Placing the two pieces, right sides together, you will stitch around the perimeter of the square, using a 1/4″ seam allowance, leaving a 2″ area unstitched, so that you can turn it right side out later.  In this picture, I marked the sewing lines on mine, purely for you to see your sewing lines easier, but you don’t need to mark yours.

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Okay, don’t turn it inside out yet.  I know you want to, but we are going to gusset the corners first.  Super easy. Pinch one corner like this:

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Then make it lay flat, so that the seams line up, and the corner is flat.  Make sure the other three corners are tucked out of the way when you mark your sewing line, 1/2 inch from where the corner stitches meet. (not the tip of the outer seam allowance). To help you see where I am measuring from, I made the line in this photo black, so that you can see the 1/2 inch.  Take a pencil to draw your sewing line, following the edge of the ruler.

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Sew the corner, sewing right on the line that you drew, using a shorter stitch length.  Make sure you back stitch at the beginning and end.  Repeat this procedure for the other three corners.  Trim the corner tips off, about 1/4″ on the outside of the stitches that you just made:

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Your pincushion should now look like a styrofoam clamshell for fast food hamburgers. 😀

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Turn this right side out.

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stuff it full of fiber fill, wool, or your pincushion filler of choice.

Stitch the opening closed. By. Hand. Duct tape is only okay if you are over deadline, or if you know you will never, ever, do this again anyway.

Please tag me (‘buttoncounter’ on social media) in your pictures if you make one (Instagram, blog, Flickr, etc.)  I would LOVE to see your version. Please remember that it is a lot of work to make a tutorial, with taking photos, uploading, typing up explainations, editing, then putting your soul out there on social media for people to critique, especially if that tutorial is free.  So, please be an awesome human, and do me a solid by mentioning me and this post if you happen to use it.  I thank you tons and tons.  Have a great and wonderful day!

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Charley Horse! Sweet Jesus, Charley Horse!

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Just a quick post to let you know that if I am found dead on my front lawn, it is because I didn’t make it back home from jogging.  No foul play, no underlying drama. I am simply in terrible shape. In the last five days, I have put in just under 14 miles, all of them about 15 minutes per mile.  I have been walking them at a very fast pace instead of jogging, so that I don’t hurt myself any more that I already am.  My goal is to put in at least 50 miles this month.

On the days that I cannot walk, I will ride stationary bike (hard) for 30 minutes per day.

Let’s see how this month plays out…

Let’s Do This.

This is the inside of my brain.

Do you know what happens when an organized person loses control of their domain?  Well, I can tell you, because I have experience in that field.  I am just the person to tell you exactly what happens.

First, chocolate is consumed by the bushel, as a coping mechanism.  I pop a Dove every time I misplace my scissors.  ‘Tis easier to pop a chocolate, than to succumb to the realization that I have lost the damn things five times today already.  Maybe I am losing them on purpose now…something to think about.  Pavlov, let me know what you think on the matter, will you old chap?  Anyway…yes. Chocolate.  A bag or three should do it.  Hang it from your doorway. Anything that will hit you in the head on the way out of the room, is never truly lost.  Do not do the same with scissors.

That pattern that you have been looking all over for?  You looked in every book you ever owned because you thought you used it as a bookmark.  You looked on top of each one of your piles of fabric, twice.  You looked in the Fridge, because, well, that is where you found your scissors.  I am willing to bet that you looked under your sewing machine, or your cat.   Maybe it is hanging on your design wall.  Nope. The last pattern that I lost, I lost my mind search of it. I spent a week searching.  When you spend a week searching, you may want to consider that the stupid thing only cost ten bucks in the first place.  You have now spent 25.5 hours looking for it.  March your butt over to your laptop and just buy another one!  PDF pattern!? What the heck…it was IN my computer!!!  Lol. Facepalm.

When my sewing space kicks me out of it, it is time to take back control. If I don’t, I eventually find my kids playing ‘king of the hill’ there…or ‘Hide and Seek’. Clearing off my TV stand today, I found a not-so-horrible mug, my fishing licence (which I had to replace!) a pile of triangles that I cannot remember what I was going to do with, a third tissue box, and weirdly, a remote, and much, much, more.  My cutting table is somewhat usable right now.  I have a fat-quarter sized spot to cut on, which means that my yardage staying in the laundry basket in the corner for a little while. My couch only has space for one butt now, due to the clutter, and if I keep losing my scissors, I may as well kiss that goodbye.  I am sure I saw my sewing machine here somewhere…and a mushroom. (a fake mushroom, but still.)

I always have a good excuse when it comes to this level of unclean.  The excuse always makes me feel better.  It makes me feel like I really am in control of this walk-in box of quilt debris. My excuse is that I was sick for the entire month of November, and never caught up with the aftermath.  I was well enough to buy fabric, apparently though.  It is like Moda, FreeSpirit, and the Container Store blew up in the littlest bedroom of our house.  I don’t have a problem.  I have a mess.  I have a terrible, terrible mess.

I solemnly swear to clear off one area tonight, and post a picture.  I will give myself until January 31st (of this year, sigh) to clean the whole sewing room.  Operation #cleanthesewingspace has officially begun.  Come play work with me!  I am going to do it with or without you though.  Seriously, this time.  Other challenge areas to follow.

Every sewing space has a table, or place of cutting.  Do me a favor.  Go clear off your cutting space.  Don’t swipe it on the floor either, because I am watching you.  Hang your rulers back on the wall, or side of your shelves, or on the side of your cutting table.  Put your cutters in a cute bucket, and hang that bucket high on the wall, so the kiddos (and husbands) don’t get them.  Take a picture and Instagram or Flickr that thing, so I can see.  Tag Buttoncounter. Seeing what you all do, will not only help me, but I imagine that others seeing your clean spot, will learn tips, tricks, or simply be encouraged to dig in as well.

Have fun y’all!

Vase Full of Dandelions

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I have this project.  It is a quilt.  It needs binding.  Still!

I have these kids.  They prevent me from binding this project.  Sometimes, it is so uncool that they do this.  They take away my precious quilting time, causing me to do terribly unfun things like laundry, dishes, and wiping up glitter.  I try to sneak into my sewing room, but as soon as they hear my iron turn on, or my machine start to hum, they go into action.  They tip a plant over.  They spill syrup all over everything and under.  They build a fort with my clean laundry, using toothpaste to draw the ”windows”.  They poop.  They poop.

But you know what?  Sometimes, it is so cool when they take me away.  When they run in to bring me “flowers” (weeds, complete with roots…but hey!  They are pulled weeds!).  When they color a picture for me.  When we go swimming.  When we play at the park. When we go to the movies.  When we read a book.  When we dance and shake our booty.

I have this project.  It is my son.  He needs to learn to ride his bike.  Still!

He is 8 years old, and cannot ride bike yet.  Do you know why?  Because I have been so distracted with  my quilting, binding, sewing (unsewing, then sewing again), that I get lost in time and space.  I lose touch with those things that are most important.  Those pooping weed-pickers.  I love them.  I don’t want all of my years to pass by and only have a bunch of quilts to show for it.  I want a whole vase of dandelions.  I want to read “Walter, the Farting Dog” for the thousandth time.  I want to watch “Wreck it Ralph” in the dollar theater with popcorn for three (even though we own the DVD).  I want to see Ender Dragon get defeated yet again in Minecraft.  I want to see an 8 year old boy ride his bike.

If I am half the planner that I think I am, or half the mom I wish I were, I should be able to accomplish both, with a little bit of effort, planning, and tenacity.   These two things I will do!

1.  I will bind that quilt.

2.  That boy will ride his bike.

What does all of this mean to you?  Hopefully a lot.  If anything, it should help you on your own little projects.  Here are my challenge for you this week:

1.  I want you to spend quality time with somebody you care about, doing something new and unexpected, fun, and different.  Post, Instagram, Flickr, or Blog about it.  Your family and friends love it when you brag on them anyway. Tag me!

2.  Get working on that one thing in your sewing room that you are stalling.  Tell me what it is.  How did you do? Go, have fun!…while I clean up this glue and toilet paper.

First Kiss

A persons first post is usually a little awkward.  It can be uncomfortable for the person reading it, and it can be a struggle for the person writing it.   There is usually a little bit about ones self, a promise to post again soon (in a few hours), and no pictures.  First posts are a lot like a persons first kiss.  You have no idea what to expect.  You have no idea if it will even be half-way decent.  Worse, you have to rely on others to tell you how you did.

All of my firsts have been horrible.  lol.  My first time riding a bike, I spent more time picking it up off of the ground than being on the seat.  My first attempt at college was … bad.  I had no role models to show me the ropes.  My first quilt…shaped like an hour glass instead of the preferred rectangular option.  Even my first marriage was everything except right.  But,  I now have a motorcycle licence.  I graduated from college with honors.  I have produced award-winning quilts, and teach others how to do the same.  Best of all, my second and final husband is the most amazing man to ever walk the earth.

You are reading my first post on this blog.  My hope, is that you will enjoy it enough to keep coming back often, to see what I am up to.  I have stories to tell, that will make you pee (a little), laughing.  I have projects (and blunders) to share with you.  I have ideas.  Tutorials! (????!).  I have two kids that try to burn the house down on a regular basis.  I can entertain you.  You are my audience.  You are my inspiration.  You are the reason for me doing this crazy thing in the first place.

I just know that you would love to read a blog about a person who goes through all of the same hills and valleys that you do, and lives to tell about it.  I do swear, but not like a sailor.  Damn, shit, hell…things like that, so you can expect a little color, but nothing to make you shake your head and sigh.  I write about the kids, as good moms do…but only the stuff they royally screw up.  I do that, because I know that you need me to tell you that sharpie art on the furniture,  destroyed make-up, and the red sock in the whites…all happens to me too.  My husband will stay out of the blog, for the most part, only because he is a professional, and I might embarrass him…more.  I have no cats or dogs.  I am not worthy enough for  any cat, and I care too much for dogs in general to submit them to my crazy life.

oh….this is me: backyard selfie

I took this picture in the backyard with a phone camera.  I put on make-up, and dressed in something other than pajamas, so that you could see what I wished I looked like on a regular bases.  So yeah, not the real me.  I had to take like, 50, before I got this one.  the other 50 really capture the dork that is me.

You are still reading, and probably already getting tired of doing so, so I will make this short, and thank you, dear reader, for getting this far.  Talk to you again, soon…but not in two hours.