I’ve already finished the first custom Whimzie Quiltz order of 2020!
but Wendy M. wanted a brown TARDIS pillow sham. At first I was like, “Brown? How will I make that work?”
But then I thought outside the Police Box… and chose scrappy fabrics in the same shade as the Tenth Doctor’s coat. It was perfect, especially after adding a navy blue accent (the same color as the lining of that famous trench.)
Hope she ❤️❤️ how it turned out as much as I do! (See what I did there? 😀 )
When you buy a house with a pool in Southern California, you know you’re going to get guests in the summer. But what I didn’t realize was how many family and friends would want to visit over the holidays, too! So I’ve been working on making our guest room more inviting for those who come to stay during December.
The idea started when I saw Andover/Makower’s Joyeux fabric line last year. The colorful trees seemed perfect for brightening up our small guest room during the winter. I paired it with Chong-a Hwang’s Prism rainbow stripe fabric and made a couple of square accent pillows. (The merry & bright pillow didn’t quite turn out the way I hoped, but I still like it.)
Ever heard of a bed scarf? I hadn’t either, until I started quilting. It’s basically a long, thin quilt meant to decorate the end of bed. You get all the color and pattern, without all the work! Still took me more than a year to get this piece done, though.
Making the scarf was especially exciting, because I finally figured out a way to do grid quilting on my long-arm quilting machine! Since I purchased my machine before computer-assisted versions were available, I have to make do without the digital help. Instead, I used masking tape marked in 2″ increments and a ruler – and it turned out great! I was able to quilt the whole scarf in less than an afternoon.
The trees were added after the quilting, which meant I needed to hide the embroidery and applique stitching with a second backing fabric, but that worked out really well, too. I love when I learn something new on a personal project that I can the offer to customers; I definitely think similar grid / applique work on future custom work is possible.
If you look closely at the Joyeux fabric, there are three kinds of trees. I replicated the multi-shade triangle trees on the bed scarf, but decided to do dot trees on the pillow shams (that leaves the star trees for another project!) Changing out the thread colors and fabrics for each dot wasn’t time consuming at all 😀
The shams also got a wide rainbow stripe border to pull everything together.
I ended up using all the rainbow stripe I had originally bought, so I recently purchased a couple additional yards for to make curtain valances. Like so many of my quilt-y projects, our guest room holiday decor will never really be finished. But all friends and family are welcome to enjoy the parts I have gotten done anytime… just let us know when you are on your way!
Welcome to another edition of Looking for a Good Home ~ my chance to show off some of the quilted items currently for sale in my Etsy shop. These posts are purely sales and marketing, without any custom quilt-y tidbits, so feel free to skip on by if you’re more interested in stories behind the quilts I create. If you do stick around, favorites and purchases are always appreciated ~ use the coupon code GOODHOME in store and save 10%!
The angels may have the phone box, but I’ve got several quilted Doctor Who items available at Whimzie Quiltz Etsy right now, all looking for a good home…
When you are a doctor, you get texts describing weird symptoms from family and friends. When you are a plumber, friends and family text you about overflowing toilets. You wouldn’t think this sort of thing would be an issue when you are quilter… yet, every so often, I get a text from my brother, often with a picture, asking, “Hey, do you think you can make something like this?”
Most recently, he asked if I could make a pillow sham celebrating the day and way they met for his and his wife’s anniversary –
Naturally, being the annoying little brother, he wanted just the appropriate embroidery on a simple sewn sham ( everyone thinks sewing and quilting are the same thing. 🙄 ) I said OK, but decided to use such an easy project as an opportunity to teach myself a new technique, the hidden zipper –
Not bad for my first zip-up pillow!
Like most siblings, we do snark on each other, so I’m ( mostly 😀 ) kidding about my brother and his requests being a pain. It’s actually means a lot to me that he appreciates my work enough to ask me to create things just for him and his family and I can’t wait to see what idea he comes up with next!
A long time ago,
in a sewing room not too far away…
I’ve been saving a custom quilt order to share for a week or so, just so I could time it to Star Wars Day. Enjoy my Star Wars Quilt Saga ~ in 6 episodes ~ and May the 4th be with you!
Star Wars Quilt Saga Episode I – The Fandom Menace
As a custom quilter, I’ve been asked to create a number of fandom-related quilts, including a Doctor Who quilt and several Star Trek quilts. But the last of the Big 3 sci-fi franchises, Star Wars, eluded me for years!
Then Tanya B. contacted me about a custom quilt for her husband’s upcoming 40th birthday. She wanted it to be a surprise, but ended up asking for his input and together they settled on a quilt commemorating his favorite Star Wars-universe character, the bounty hunter Boba Fett.
And, with that, I was finally going to create a long-desired Star Wars custom quilt!
Star Wars Quilt Saga Episode II – Attack of the Cloth
Tanya’s request was timely in another way, too. A couple years ago, Moda Fabrics introduced a line called “Grunge”. Grunge fabrics are blenders (fabrics that have two or more tones of the same color in them) with an overall design that looks, well, grungy ~ worn and lived-in.
Which was perfect for the beat-up, lived-in armor that Boba Fett wears! I used two shades of green, a red and accents of gray and yellow from the Grunge line for his over-sized helmet. The Grunge line also includes a version called “Seeing Stars” – the same worn, lived-in look with spiky stars added to the design. In a nod to outer space, I chose a black Seeing Stars for the background of the quilt top.
(There’s also a lot of scrappy green fabrics used in this particular quilt design. Fortunately, the annual San Diego Quilt Run happened right as I needed to supplement my stash of green fabrics ~ I think there’s at least 1 fabric from 10 different stores in there!)
Star Wars Quilt Saga Episode III – Revenge of the Stitch
Because so much of this quilt design was black or dark, I worried that a white or natural batting would beard (I so hate when those little fibers show through!) Instead, I chose a black batt for this Boba quilt. Although this was my first time using black batting, I was surprised by the softness and the ease of quilting it.
I’m sure I’ll use one again, but I’ll probably need some new eye glasses first 😀 There was some definite straining to see black thread on black fabric with a black batting ~ all the stitches blended in!
Star Wars Quilt Saga Episode IV – A New Hoped-For Design
Although Boba Fett won out as her husband’s favorite quilt design, Tanya really loved a Death Star option I provided early on. So, I decided to make that pattern, in a 24″ x 24″ floor pillow sham size, as her gift with purchase.
Star Wars Quilt Saga Episode V – The Quilted Pillow Strikes Back
Believe it or not, the Death Star pillow sham was the most difficult quilt I have ever made! The pieces were so small and there were so many of them. Making it has confirmed for me that miniature quilts will NEVER be my thing. Give me an over-sized lap quilt any day!
Star Wars Quilt Saga Episode VI – Return of the Quilt
Although it seems like I was aiming for May Fourth for delivery of this quilt, I was actually trying to meet a different deadline. Tayna’s husband is in the military and was being relocated overseas ~ I really wanted the quilt to be done and shipped in time to move with them. It was! I made it by less than a week. (Poor Tanya! I’m sure she loved trying to include a queen quilt in her already packed items at the last minute.)
The sci-fi geek in me was so ridiculously excited about this custom quilt order. But here’s the best part ~ my Star Wars quilt saga may continue! Tanya is already talking about having a quilt made for her son. (Hey, that’s the only thing this blog post is missing, a “Quilt, I am your father” joke!)
I love when an Etsy convo pops up because it usually means someone is interested in having a favorite t-shirt turned into a custom quilted t-shirt pillow (I have 2 of these Etsy listings, one for floor pillow shams and one for accent pillow shams.)
It’s always fun to see what t-shirts (and memories!) people want to preserve. In the past, I’ve had requests to make quilted pillow shams from sports team shirts, fandom shirts and summer camp shirts, but recently I got my first request to turn youth orchestra t-shirts into custom quilted pillow shams. Cue the music!
After a few messages back and forth, Rose W. ordered a pillow sham quintet (that’s <5> if you are musically-challenged like me) and mailed her shirts off.
When I opened the package, two of her shirts had Rockford Music Academy graphics on the front. Those ended up as this cute duet ~
The other 3 shirts featured the Rockford Symphony Youth Orchestra logo on the front, and, yes, I can hear you saying, “Can this quilter not count? There’s 5 RYSO pillow shams in this picture!”
When I turned over two of the shirts, there were logos on the back, too! And, well, I just couldn’t let them go to waste. Every t-shirt image deserves the chance to fulfill it’s destiny as a quilted pillow 😀 So, like going to a concert and having the orchestra decide to play two encores, Rose ended up getting 7 pillows for the price of 5!
I literally sold this pillow sham just on the idea alone! A longtime customer was looking for “any cute girl pillows” and I mentioned this idea I had been noodling around in my head for a while. The design wasn’t even finished, but she said “Oh that would be perfect”. We both ended up pretty happy with how it worked out!
If you think this would be the perfect cute little girl pillow sham for you, too, I’ve added a second one to my Whimzie Quiltz Etsy store — snap it up before Santa does!
When Carrie N. was throwing out ideas for a custom quilted pillow, she shared with me some of the eclectic activities she takes part in, including blacksmithing, science, farming, canoeing and reading.
I have to admit, I panicked a bit seeing that list! How do you tell a story as unique as her’s in fabric?
Fortunately, she also forwarded me a picture of a clock given to her as a child that she’s especially fond of. It showed a little girl in a big bonnet and flowery dress, reminiscent of Holly Hobby or Sunbonnet Sue.
Sunbonnet Sue, of course, has been a quilting staple since the early 20th century. The cute little girl in her oversized hat and poofy dress at first just looked adorable. Over time, though, quilters created various versions of Sue, showing her involved in a number of different activities.*
Ultimately, we came up with a pattern that included vintage Sunbonnet Sue participating in many of the modern day activities Carrie herself loves, creating a personalized “Sunbonnet Carrie” design. 🙂
I decided to play up the vintage modern feel by using 1930s reproduction fabrics in Carrie’s favorite blues and purples and added in some traditional yo-yos in the corners to represent her favorite flower, lilacs.
It took a very long time to figure out how to quilt this pillow sham. Some research showed that echo quilting around Sue was popular in the past, but I didn’t want to just repeat that. So I finally chose a contemporary geometric design and echoed it, to again emphasize that what was once vintage has now become modern.
In the end, we were both very pleased with this twist on traditional pillow. It’s definitely not your grandmother’s Sunbonnet Sue!
*Perhaps the most famous of the Sunbonnet Sue activity quilts was created by quilters in my hometown (shout out Lawrence!) in 1979. It’s called “The Sun Sets on Sunbonnet Sue” and shows the perky little girl perishing in a number of hilarious ways.
The title to this post is so fitting because by “soft rock” I literally mean how comfy and cuddly this oversized quilted guitar pillow sham is!
It’s a sweet gift for a customer’s musically-inclined sister, just to let her know how much she’s appreciated. (Check out the little “You’re My Rock” in the corner – that was the customer’s idea and it’s the perfect touch!)
I loved working with the oversized pillow form for this sham. It’s 14″ x 28″ which gives you lots of room to create long designs, like the guitar here or this flamingo pillow from a few months ago.
Jo Ann’s now carries this as a standard/in stock pillow form, so I’ve got a lot of other e-x-t-e-n-d-e-d ideas floating around that I hope to make soon.
And if you’ve always wanted a custom quilted cuddling pillow like this for yourself, give me a shoutout at deidre [at] whimziequiltz.com…
What would I do without British TV? I’d spend a lot fewer hours in front of the DVR, that’s for sure, but I also wouldn’t have nearly as much cool stuff in my Etsy store. These Sherlock inspired items were recently added…