Sunday, August 22, 2021

Reading Takes You Places and Pattern Update Release

First of all happy Full Sturgeon Moon, extra rare Blue Moon of the summer season (source Live Science). It's been gorgeous gazing at it the past few days. I thought it a fitting day for my newly updated and added-to suitcase quilt pattern! And, you guessed it, it's on sale this week.😊

Back in late July, I made this large reading cushion for Brady for his birthday which was July 30. Like me, he likes to read a book in bed before turning out his light. I always prop myself up with two pillows, so I figured this large cushion would be just the ticket for comfort while he reads. He also loves to listen on his phone to one of my favourite CDs by Suzanne Ciani, an artist I discovered on a New Age station out of Detroit, WJOI, when we lived here in the 80s. His phone can tuck into that actual pocket!

Some of you may recognize the block. It's one from my Oh, The Places You'll Go! quilt I made for Island Batik way back in January 2019. The pattern has been in my Etsy shop for almost as long. For the past two-plus weeks I have been updating the pattern, bringing it up to the level of my others, now that I know what is 'standard' in the pattern world, and also adding instructions to make the cushion and the appliqué blocks.

I got the suitcase idea from the graphic for that IB hop, thinking I had something unique in the quilting world, a suitcase block, and not just one, but two styles, and with fun pocket blocks! I recently learned that there is another suitcase block, similar to one of my two, that pre-dates mine by a few months, designed by my friend Lisa of Love to Color My World. It is available for free on Paintbrush Studio's website. I did not know of hers when I designed mine, so weird, but so cool!

My good friend Rose of somethingrosemade had let me know several months ago about another designer who was publishing a suitcase quilt, and in our conversation, I had mused that I'd wanted to turn one of my suitcase blocks into a reading cushion for Brady. I'm glad I finally took this from idea to finished product! I'm also glad that I have learned how to do appliquĂ© patterns now, and how to import the templates into my patterns. Thank you SO much to Kathleen of Kathleen McMusing who helped me with this again; she helped me several months ago with inserting the appliquĂ© for the flame in my Shine pattern. This time I made notes!

MacGyver got the 26" pillow form at IKEA while he was at B&B's in Alberta. He also got both sets of drawers for my sewing room, yay! One has been out of stock in Toronto so I can't wait for these final two pieces to get installed. Next? Countertops!
But I digress. Here is another shot of it, taken by Brianne. I love how crinkly it is.

Here it is without the form inside. I was a little ecstastic when I found the scrap of fabric for the wheels, and that I could fussycut it to resemble actual wheels!

I had just enough left, (and I mean just; I had to piece one of the rectangles!) of the flannel from the backing of his t-shirt quilt to make the envelope-style back.

For quilting, I did an all-over squarish meander in the background and straight lines in the suitcase. I thought he could pop his phone in the pocket while it plays his music. That, or a myriad of other sundries that a 13-year-old boy has need of!

I like to bind my cushions and pillows as you do a quilt. To make the cushion I used a few Benartex scraps: the blue binding and suitcase body is from my first quilt that was published in their ezine, and the green is a gorgeous Fossil Fern of theirs that's in the next publication of Make Modern (affiliate link as is the next link). The turquoise pocket is a Connecting Threads fabric you might recognize from Captiva Meadow, the quilt I made from Cheryl's new book. Several Aurifil threads and one Sulky Blendables were used in the piecing and quilting.
Can you see where I wrote his name?

I worked in my initials, of course.

Reading really does take you places, and I've always said for me the mark of a great book is when I'm researching stuff I come across while reading, be it maps, history, words, people, facts... Right now I'm back in Ancient Greece, Sparta and Troy, reading Song of Achilles. It's very good. Another mark of a great book is when I live in it all day long,: even while I'm doing other things, I'm watching the characters, looking at the scenery in the back of my brain, rehashing events...

The pattern includes instructions for the healthy throw, 69 1/2" x 84 1/2" and the cushion, 26" square. It's 20% off until Friday.

Quilted Pillow Stats:
Pattern: original design available to purchase here
Size: 26" square
Fabric: scraps and stash
Batting: scraps of Hobbs cotton
Backing: scrap of flannel
Quilted: on my Bernina
Threads: pieced on my Bernina with Aurifil; quilted with Aurifil 50 and 40 wt and Sulky Blendables 30 wt

On sale!

I haven't been sewing much this past month as I've been on inside and outside house duties, and double-dog duties, with MacGyver away visiting Brianne and Brady in Alberta. I've also been making three new beach glass dishes as I sold the second last one at the beginning of August, so I was down to just one votive. 

These are now listed. It takes a good two weeks to build one, since I have to let the glue dry after placing 3-5 pieces. Otherwise, the glue runs off, or the glass pieces slide off. It's quite the painstaking process, but they're so pretty and it's like doing a jigsaw or piecing a quilt, very relaxing and meditative. (except when the maker hasn't propped the dish horizontal enough and the glue has run...)

Xena is up to .8 km and has done 1 km a couple of times now. I'm not going to push her; it's been very hot and humid here. On Thursday I took her through 'my' empty lot to look at Lake Erie. 
She's getting much better at accepting the Halti (it's an aid, an excellent one, for dogs who pull, and oh, mama, does she ever pull). It's still quite the workout for me, oof, especially in this humidity with 'feels like' temps approaching 40C again...

I've been leaving them loose while I water, or am taking much-needed dips in the pool, and she's been exploring the yard more, chilling at times on the lower deck, mostly happy on the upper deck, and coming to be all wiggly and kissy when she wants to go back into the AC! You might see this photo next week again on my Gratitude post. I call this part of our yard/garden, the oasis. The white board you see on the gate is the back of my beautiful maple leaf metal quilt block. It has held up so well and still looks as fresh as the day MacGyver attached it.

Bella got to do some yoga and meditation with me this past week. She was so happy, showing off how twisty she is here. 


  1. Lovely pillow for Brady and I'm sure he loves it! Isn't it fun learning new things, whether it's how to insert applique, or templates into patterns or even researching things from a book you're reading.

  2. I am sure Brady will love his pillow. Putting your initials in the quilting is a great idea. I need to start doing that, also.

  3. Clever idea to make a pillow from this block, with an added pocket. Who wouldn't want that close by while deep into a good book?! Fun to see pics of the pups and Bella, too. Your backyard looks lovely!

  4. What a great design for a reading pillow, and a great gift for Brady! Reading definitely takes us places, in more ways than one. I, too, love those books that have a great story, but also lead you to learn more about the place, the time, the person. Fun to see snippets of what's been going on with you, and so glad that Xena is thriving at your house!

  5. How wonderful! I love the pillow and I am sure Brady will be so darn happy cuddling and reading with it. I was honored to be mentioned and honored to help! The pups look great in the yard and so glad to hear of Xena’s progress. Bella, of course, is the perfect yogi!

  6. What a great birthday gift and a lovely pillow to boot. Brady will certainly love that. Does he like to read a real book or is he using his Kindle? For me, it's usually paper! But I use audio books when I'm sewing, preparing dinner, folding clothes. So I've always got more than one book going. This summer they are about WW Two. Love the back yard and Xena is a great looking dog. What can one say about Bella...she is so photogenic and could have her own blog.

  7. You've been kept busy holding down the fort, but how great that MacGyver found the drawers for your sewing table. Did he drive all the way to Alberta? I bet Brady was delighted with his pillow. And it's such good news that Zena is making progress on many fronts. She found the right place to be.

  8. Hi Sandra! I love this title - reading DOES take you places and opens the whole word to you even in a pandemic. I am a huge fan of this pattern - oh, the places you can go is endless (especially with books). The large reading pillow for Brady is just a fab-u-lous idea. Pillows can be too small but can they ever be too big?? I don't think so. Wonderful post and idea. And Xena - what a journey she and you have had, and now it's behind you! {{Hugs}} ~smile~ Roseanne

  9. Having the pocket to stash his phone or other goodies makes the pillow extra sweet, I think. :)

  10. I remember that suitcase quilt! I love the idea of a pillow with a pocket and I am sure Brady will love his. Those wheels are fabulous!

  11. Lovely post - and nice to see the suitcase quilt again - the cushion turned out extra well and it sounds like you nailed the 12 year's needs when making it! So good to see how well Xena is doing. Our daughter has a dog who has needed a lot of extra help, and it's so rewarding to see how much their hard work has helped.

  12. Very cool Pillow!! and your dog.... adorable!!

  13. Great cushion for Brady & as for your yoga cat........she is precious as are the dogs. Take care & hugs.