Wednesday, 28 January 2015

Quilted Cushion Tutorial

I am currently making a 'Summer in the Park' quilt using  a 'Lexington' Jelly Roll.  It is all coming together nicely (and a blog for another time) but I had one block left over.  It didn't fit into the layout but I put it aside thinking I could make a cushion - and here it is.

The cushion size I used was 19" x 19"


  • Scraps to make a cushion top 
  • 2 x (17" x 20") pieces of backing fabric
  • 20" x 20" piece of batting (I used cotton as it is very light)

My leftover block - ready to be put to good use.

Join the block together and add a series of 2" borders until you have the correct size for your cushion.  In this case, I needed to add 2.

Borders added.  Now it's time to baste it to some wadding.  I used some very thin, 100% cotton batting.

I quilted it using a very simple shadowing pattern with my walking foot.

Top finished - now to add the back.

I cut 2 squares of fabric 17" x 20" (To allow for the expansion of the cushion).

Sew one hem along the 20" side of each fabric, leaving the other end as is.  This hem forms the centre pillow fold for the cushion.

Placing the fabric so the hems overlap.

With right sides together, lay the backing fabric over the cushion top.  Pin the raw edges together and make sure that the hems you have just created overlap in the middle of the cushion.  I have created a very large overlap to ensure that the cushion stays in place.
The finished, hemmed overlap

Cushion finished showing the overlap.

Turn the cushion inside out and press for a final, neat finish.

Happy Quilting,

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Sunday, 18 January 2015

Sewing is Contagious!

The second series of  The Great British Sewing Bee has just started screening in Australia this week.  The first series was a huge inspiration to get the sewing machine out of the cupboard and our resident teenager has been sewing ever since.  Not just every now and again sewing, but every Sunday our family room floor is covered with fabric and pattern pieces and our dining room table is turned into a little sewing centre as the gentle hum of the machine and the occasional sound of steam escaping from the iron, take  over from the usual drone of the television.  

Every Sunday, unless there's too much homework or a previously planned event, Andie (our resident teenager)  has sewn,  photographed and then social mediarised her creations for friends and family.  #sewingsunday has become a bit of  a weekly tradition.  

You can only imagine our excitement then when we heard that Hayley, our Perth based Fitzbirch niece, was getting a sewing machine for Christmas!  There's just something about people sewing that makes you want to look at patterns and head to the fabric shop and it seems that the more people you talk to, the more it happens and before you know it you've got a sewing epidemic on your hands.

Hayley's first project was a lovely polka dot skirt, but since then we seem to have developed a few more cases of sewing-itis.  Andie has been having holiday sewing bees with her friends and now Hayley and our sometime Fitzbirch model and opera singer, Lauren have decided that #sewingsunday is the perfect way to finish off the weekend...and we couldn't agree more!

Happy sewing


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Sunday, 11 January 2015

Loom Knit Figure 8 Stitch Scarf

When my parents come to visit, they more often than not bring with them something crafty as a gift and their last visit was no exception.  They had stopped by Bendigo Woollen Mills and spent some time in their bargain room, a place legendary in these parts, but sadly somewhere I've yet to visit, and picked up some feathery soft yarn in purest white.  I'm very thankful that they know me so well and these little gifts are very much appreciated.

It's been a little while since I've made anything on any of my knitting looms, crochet, sewing and weaving seem to have taken over, but in my mind, this yarn was just crying out for the loom.

I've tried a few stitches in the loom and was looking for something a little different when I came across Figure 8 stitch and there's a really good tutorial from Good Knit Kisses to help you along if you haven't come across it before.

I used the straight loom for my scarf and cast on 22 pegs.  I then continued with the Figure 8 stitch until the scarf measured 160cm and then cast off.  Lion Brand Yarn have  great tutorials on You Tube for casting on and  off on knitting looms.

This is quite a slow stitch to do, so it's not going to be the fastest loom knit project you've ever tried, by the result is really quite lovely and I particularly liked the softness this yarn gave to the pattern.  

Happy loom knitting 


P.S.  For more loom knitting patterns and ideas, try our Free Loom Knit Patterns page.

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Saturday, 3 January 2015

16 Pieces becomes 17 .. and then 18

Coral Garter/Cable Cowl (try saying that quickly a number of times)
A few weeks before my honeymoon, my daughter came around and told me all about a Pin she had found about mix-and-matching key wardrobe pieces.  It was called "One Suitcase - 16 pieces, 40 outfits"

"uh-huh"  I said, somewhat interested.

"It means that you only have to pack 16 basic wardrobe items for your trip to New Zealand" she said.

Now she had my full attention.  16 Pieces? That makes a vast change from the 116 that I usually pack.

We jumped online to have a look at the pin (you can find it here) and it made perfect sense.  
I scrounged through my wardrobe to locate the key pieces but was lacking item number 8 - 'one bright jumper'.  Odd I know for a knitter - but it was the truth.  

I decided that the bright jumper would be in one of my favourite colours at the moment - coral, and ended up with a gorgeous jumper from 'Just Add Sugar'.  I love everything about it.  The fit, the colour, the casualness.  I was well contented with this purchase.  It's the piece that will add interest to the other 'basic' and neutral pieces that I am taking. 

At the same time, a friend from work asked if I would be able to knit her a couple of winter headbands. She is going skiing in Japan and loves the idea of a headband instead of a beanie.  I had absolutely no problem with knitting her a couple.  She spent hours making our wedding invitations for us and the fact that she did them when she was also writing school reports was a tremendous effort.

The pattern she chose knitted up very quickly.  It got me thinking that I might knit one for myself in, yes, you guessed it, coral.

The only yarn I had though, was a baby cotton. Lovely though it is, it would certainly not be warm enough so I knitted with 3 yarns together to get a very thick, chunky looking headband.  I made sure that the cable design matched my new purchase - (I know it's a winter holiday but it's the little attention to detail that can make all the difference ;-).

The headband pattern is from Drops Studio and can be found here.  
Drops Studio headband - a very easy knit.

It is a very easy knit, so easy and effective.
The headband saved my ears from freezing
when we went jet boating

Cowl Pattern

This pattern uses the same central cable pattern as the headband but is simply a chunky garter stitch on the edges.  It matches my comfy jumper exactly.

Note:  I am using 3 balls of eco cotton as it is the only yarn I have in the colour I want.  This pattern is for yarn weight of super bulky or worsted (10 - 12ply).  Feel free to experiment.

Using 3 balls of eco baby cotton together, cast on 37 stitches.

Knit 3 rows of garter stitch.
Garter Stitch Cowl

Row 1: K10, P2, K6, P1, K6, P2, K10
Row 2: Slip 1, K11, P6, K1, P6, K12
Row 3: Slip 1, K9, P2, K6, P1, K6, P2, K10
Row 4: As Row 2
Row 5: As row 3
Row 6: As row 2
Row 7: As row 3
Row 8 As row 2
Row 9 Slip 1, K9, P2, C3F, P1, C3B, P2, K10
Row 10: As row 2

Rows 2 - 9 form the cable pattern of the cowl and once you start knitting, it comes together very quickly.

Knit until you have the desired length for your cowl.  In my case, 80cm.  Bind off, join together and weave in any loose threads.

There you have it, a matching sweater, cowl and headband (not that I would wear them all at once, but it does give some 'pop' to an otherwise basic travel wardrobe).

More cowl patterns from Fitzbirch Crafts

Happy Knitting,


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Drop Stitch Cowl

We were at a yarn market a couple of weeks ago and after speaking to some pretty fabulous yarn people all day long, I was struck with the...