Thursday, October 17, 2013

Make Them Go Away

What started out as a discarded pile of unwanted strips and squares given to me by my best friend, I made into a pillow cover and small flag for her.  

September a year ago, she planned to make a surprise birthday gift for her husband.  A pillow for his gigantic, newly built and furnished man cave.  He and their boys love dragons, magic, and all things Harry Potter, so she sorted through her fabric bins and chose wizards, dragons, frogs, cats and stars.  Everything that reminded her of him.

She cut and sewed.  She arranged squares and rectangles.  She planned fabric placement.  She became frustrated.  So frustrated in fact, she scrapped (no pun intended) her plans for the surprise gift.  She bagged up all of the offending scraps and sent them on their way to Florida with the missive "make them go away".

I think I heard her say more than once "I'm done.  I'm done with sewing.  I can't do this."  

Her unwanted scraps arrived, along with a box of many more, where they were very much appreciated. These particular scraps, however, were set aside for just the right project.

We make what seems like an annual sojourn east and north out of our little corner of Florida up the coast to Virginia, Maryland, and Delaware where much of our family lives.  I knew I wanted to make (and take) my friend something that used her special scraps.  Even though she'd said "make them go away".  

This unfinished ROYGBIV circle of geese block is as far as I got.  Of course, I didn't start piecing and sewing until three days before we were supposed to leave.  Not a whole lot of time to complete a project, let alone pack and organize four people for a 3 week, 3000+ mile trip.  It's that old procrastinator gene that's encoded in my DNA.  

So now I have a half-finished gift.  What else could I do, because, a half-finished gift is still only half-finished, right?  

Oh! I know.  Make a smaller version!!!  A version so tiny it would require borders to reach the dimensions of a 6 x 8 inch mini flag.  And bonus, use even smaller scraps so that you get the wizard's hand and wand, or the dragon's snout, or the kittie's feet, or even a little itty-bitty mouse!!  This I could give her to tide her over until the bigger pillow cover was completed. 

Done.  Trip made.  Time spent with friends and family.  Birthdays celebrated.  Retirement celebrated.  Many good meals shared.  Many tears shed.  Summer science camp for kids completed.  Rental house maintenance projects completed.  Rental house plans formulated.  Many, many miles driven. 

This past week, I decided it was time to complete some of the many WIP sewing projects that have lingered.  

Because the pillow top itself is so busy, I quilted with simple straight lines that intersect on the diagonal.  After four double sets on each diagonal, I quilted the triangles that were formed with 1/4 inch straight lines.  I like the texture it adds, plus, it plays up the shape of the geese.

What I haven't mentioned is I used that thinner-than-a-strand-of-hair nylon thread.  Holy cow!  Not looking forward to using that again any time soon.  

Why nylon thread?  Two reasons really including the aforementioned fact that the top was so busy.  As much as I like seeing how thread adds to the texture and design of the quilt, the person who was receiving this is just the opposite.  She hates seeing the thread lines.  Everything she ever made for my family was stitched with nylon thread.


A trip to my LQS to pick up a spool of Coats & Clark Transparent Nylon thread.  The size says it's .004.  As I said, thinner than a strand of hair!  Yikes!!!

For the back, I used even more scraps (!!) and created a small improv pieced section.  So like me, and so not like the person who owns this pillow.  Do you see that little jack-o-lantern piece?  Not in her original scraps, but it is October after all.  Had to do it.

The back of the quilt sandwich, because I just can't leave it as batting only, is another one of those old pieces from stash that you question why it was ever bought in the first place.  No one ever sees the inside of the pillow, so use the ugly is my way of thinking.  

I do like the the quilting pattern from the bobbin thread.  When sewing with nylon thread, you have to use regular thread in the bobbin.   

For all of the heartache these scraps initially gave her, I think she'll be pleased with the end result.  I don't think she'll be saying "make them go away" now.

Something I've never done before, I'm linking up with Gemma @ Pretty Bobbins and Amanda Jean's Finish It Up Friday:


  1. Oh my goodness you did great with the scraps! Both pillow and mini flag are so wonderful. Love the circle of geese pattern. I did make one block so far. You are quite a friend too! I hope she loved the mini flag? Sounds as though you had a long but productive trip. Great to see family and friends! Really enjoyed reading your post.

  2. Your pillow looks awesome with the quilting!

  3. You did an amazing job on the pillow and flag!! Love everything about them!

  4. Great use of scraps! Nylon thread doesn't sound to fancy to me but it gives the texture as well which is good. Well done.

  5. Thanks for commenting on my blog. I like your work, especially the bright colours you use, everything is so bright and the colours shine!

    1. As much as I'd like to take credit for the bright colors, they were all from her stash. However, I do LOVE bright colors! Her fabric selection was fun to play with.

  6. Oh my goodness, that cushion is beautiful! Your friend sure did the right thing sending her scraps to you :) I love the texture of the quilting but I'm not sure that I'm brave enough for nylons thead lol thanks for linking up :)

  7. What a great job you have done with the cushion cover. I love all the fussy cut triangles. It has a nice story to go with it too.

  8. First of all, I have to say that I too have made that Circle of Geese block. In fact, I repeated it to end up with nine blocks that are in a wall hanging quilt in our guest room. I know how much work that one is! But, it does make a great little travel project when all you can take along is a Featherweight. As for quilting with nylon thread... I hadn't seen the Coats & Clark stuff until a student brought a spool along to the free motion quilting workshop I taught last Friday. Wow. It IS thin! I've never used any nylon thread that thin. I'm accustomed to using Sulky invisible and I like it. In fact, I'll be using it to FMQ the Project Linus quilt our quilting group made as a group project. It's fun to see what you can do with scraps, as I find scrap quilts the most eye-appealing. However, don't let anyone ever send any to me! I have plenty to work with, of my own creation.

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    1. Sorry Cindy, tried to upload my Mermaid pic and it took too long! Here is what I originally wrote. Thought my comment would be deleted completely...obviously I don't comment much on blogs ;P

      I check your blog every week hoping to find a new post...imagine my delight and surprise that it is all about my scraps and the beautiful things you made from them. I don't quite remember the backstory and that's probably because it was so traumatic I've made the memory go away!!!

      Thank you for this post, it is as lovely as the gifts you've made me ;)