And that’s enough cushions for now…

The cushion extravaganza of the last few months is over: all my cushion inserts now have a patched or appliquéd and quilted cover. Time for other things: wall hangings, lap and bed quilts. So to round off the last few months, in this post, two cushions, one made during the summer break in July and one finished today. 

The first cushion is based on a variation of Irish Chain, known to me as web. I made it up from left-over Jelly Roll strips, in light greens and rich deep pinks.

The pieced cushion basis. Made from left over Jelly roll strips

The pieced cushion basis. Made from left over Jelly roll strips

I decided to free-motion quilt the cushion, as I am still practising free-motion quilting on my newer sewing machine, which sews differently to my old one. So I marked a pattern of leaves on the green strips and flowers on the red squares; a big flower in the centre and smaller flowers in the other squares. I pin basted the top and then got down to the quilting.

Cobweb cushion pin basted

Cobweb cushion pin basted

I free-motion quilted the leaf shapes with green YLI quilting thread and the flowers with blue YLI thread, as some of the pink fabrics have small blue accents. In the photo below you can see a detail of the quilting: the green shapes with an imitation hand stitch and the blue shapes with a standard stitch.

Detail of the free motion quilting

Detail of the free motion quilting

The overall quilting pattern kept the quilting evenly spaced over the surface. In the photo’s below you can see the front and the back of the quilt sandwich. The back is eventually inside the cushion of course, so the little tied-off threads don’t show….

The quilted cushion top, ready to be made up into a cushion

The quilted cushion top, ready to be made up into a cushion

The back of the quilt sandwich, showing the quilting pattern

The back of the quilt sandwich, showing the quilting pattern

Once I had finished the quilting I made a double-fabric back with an invisible Velcro fastening from a green spotted backing fabric. I found a fabric label in my stash that had little spots on it, just like the backing fabric, so I thought that was fun to use. I called the cushion ‘ Cobweb’.

The back of the finished cushion

The back of the finished cushion

Then I added this cheery cushion to the collection on the daybed in my studio: one cushion insert to go!

The finished 'Cobweb' cushion

The finished ‘Cobweb’ cushion

The 'Cobweb' cushion on the daybed with two Ice Bears for company

The ‘Cobweb’ cushion on the daybed with two Ice Bears for company

The second cushion is completely different is style, and is based on the style of art of the First Nations of the Pacific North West. When I was in Victoria in BC in 2011 I bought a couple of patterns produced by Lily Pad Designs from BC at the Satin Moon Quilt Shop (if you are in Victoria, well worth a visit!). One of the patterns was a hummingbird. I enlarged the pattern to use it for a large appliqué cushion. Since 2011 I have managed to collect a few batik fabrics with Pacific North West designs on them, including one with hummingbirds and one with wolves, ravens, bears etc. This last fabric was in a yummy purple and deep gold, so I took that as the colour scheme for the cushion. I used a  deep purple batik as the background and a gold dotty dimple for the appliqué. The colours are difficult to capture with the camera: in reality the purple is a rich plum colour.

The appliqué hummingbird

The appliqué hummingbird

I did the appliqué by machine, with a small smooth zigzag in variegated YLI thread (Aspen Gold from Luana Rubin). Then I added a border of the Pacific North West batik.

A border is added to the appliqué panel

A border is added to the appliqué panel

I decided to echo-quilt the cushion top in a spiral that emerged from the hummingbird’s beak. I deliberately didn’t quilt the actual hummingbird (the gold parts) so that it would puff-out nicely from the top. I did the quilting in another YLI variegated thread: Plum form Luana Rubin, which is the most yummy combinations of plums, blues and purples. I quilted the lines 1/2 an inch apart.

The hummingbird thread basted an ready to machine quilt

The hummingbird thread basted an ready to machine quilt

A details of the echo quilting

A detail of the echo quilting

Once I had done all the echo quilting of the purple field around the hummingbird, I quilted a few lines inside the purple hollows of the body shape, primarily for stability. Then I quilted the borders in gold variegated thread (Aspen Gold again) in parallel lines, to echo the curving, sinuous lines around the bird. I like the contrast: the same technique, but a different result.

Deatil of the quilting round the head of the hummingbird

Detail of the quilting round the head of the hummingbird

Tying off all the threads from the contour quilting took ages, as the sinuous shapes all ended at different points as I reached the straight edges of the border. The result (and the number of tie-offs) is visible on the back of the quilt sandwich.

The back of the quilt sandwich showing the quilting pattern

The back of the quilt sandwich showing the quilting pattern

Then I made a pieced back for the cushion, using my remaining scraps of the gold and purple fabric and some gold and purple batiks.

The back of the hummingbird cushion

The back of the hummingbird cushion

I also used a bit of the Pacific North West hummingbird fabric (in a startling gold, orange and purple) to make the label for the cushion: I cut an oval with two birds in it, and appliquéd that to a plain oval that I could write on (the name of the cushion is Sah Sen, the native language name of the hummingbird), and then I appliquéd the label to the cushion back. Once again the back was made of a double layer of cloth to counter the weight of the quilted front (a process explained in the Blackford Beauty post) and completed with an invisible Velcro fastening.

The completed cushion

The completed cushion

The finished cushion has been added to the studio day bed, which now has a full complement of cushions and is very comfy for a nap or reading the latest issue of a quilting magazine!

The Ice Bears living it up

The Ice Bears living it up!

3 responses to “And that’s enough cushions for now…

  1. Wow! I’m inspired to do a cushion myself!! 🙂
    I have a quick question, I noticed that you have those pin grip covers , how do you like them? I just basted a quilt using over 400 pins and I’m thinking about buying a couple packets of these grip covers, but is it worth it to buy close to 600 pin covers?
    Thanks for sharing!!

    • Hi Ray,

      Yes, I really like the pin covers: they do mean that the pins get in the way a little bit more during quilting, but they make a huge difference to how sore your fingers get while you are pin basting! They also make the pins much easier to see, in the quilt and on the floor! I bought a value pack of covers and sat down one evening and attached them all whilst watching a movie. Done in no time, and I wouldn’t be without them now. I also use a Kwik Klip to fasten them with: another pin basting gadget that I can recommend.
      Cheers, Fiona.

      • Oh how neat!! Thanks for that info Fiona! I actually already have the kwik klip, which led me to discover the grip covers, but just hadn’t had enough of a motivation to try them. Until now! 🙂 I will buy a pack and try them out! You’ve convinced me!
        Thanks! 🙂

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