Birthday Pillow & Mug Rug

I have so many projects to post and I finally have some time to blog again! It’s been a bit of a crazy year, good and bad.


I recently made this pillow and mug rug for my mom’s birthday.  I used my skinny strip Kite Flight pattern (free at Robert Kaufman) to make the blocks and the pillow measures about 20″.

I put a lot of layers in my pillows to make them sturdy. I like to buy a pillow form that is 1-2″ larger than the pillow for an over-stuffed look, so the fabrics need to be able to hold everything in!   You can find my pillow tutorial here.  The back is envelope style and each side of the envelope has a layer of outer fabric, muslin and then the outer envelope is bound with double-fold tape (and why did’t I take a photo?!).

photo 2

The fabrics are Kona Cottons, Studio Stash by Jennifer Sampou, Blythe by Janet Dunn, Flea Market Fancy by Denyse Schmidt and Architextures by Carolyn Friedlander.

photo 1

I love making pillows as gifts.  Who can’t use another pretty throw pillow?  The mug rug should come in handy too because I know my mom likes to relax on the couch with a cup of coffee and a good book.

Have a good week, everyone!

The Speedy Zip Dress + a giveaway!


photo 3

Miss Emmeline turned three last week and two days before her birthday I mentioned that I wanted to find time to make her a new kitty dress.  My friend, Ramona, was kind enough to share her new Speedy Zip Dress pattern with me and the result was adorable and super fast!


 I used a cat print from Aneela Hooey’s Hello Petal fabric line, dark pink pockets and navy binding.

Ramona’s pattern was very easy and the fit was perfect.  I am in love with those little pleats at the neck and Emmeline adores the pockets.  I have to say I am rather jealous and I want one in my size, (though I don’t think it would look quite the same!).  I think I will be making a zillion of these dresses in every color and print.

photo 1

Ramona is so awesome and has offered to give away a PDF pattern to one of my readers!  You may choose from the Speedy Zip Dress, or the PE Playdress, which is the knit version of the dress (I can’t wait to try that!).  Just leave me a comment (maybe tell me who you’ll make the dress for or what fabric you would use).  I’ll pick a winner next week!  The contest will close Wednesday, June 4th at 11:59 Pacific Time.

If you can’t wait to see if you won, you can check out the Speedy Zip Dress in Ramona’s pattern shop.

Winner- Shimmer Blog Hop!

Shimmer Blog Hop

Thank you for all your wonderful comments about Shimmer and my quilt!  All of you made my week.

The winner of the charm pack is…..

Screen Shot 2014-04-04 at 9.25.54 AM

#55: Sarah!

I am emailing you right now, Sarah.  Enjoy your Shimmer!

Shimmer Blog Hop and a giveaway!

Shimmer Fabric by Jennifer Sampou for Robert Kaufman

 I am very pleased to be a part of the Shimmer Blog Hop to celebrate Jennifer Sampou’s latest fabric release.  Shimmer is fun, sophisticated, textural and the best part…it shines!

Last Spring, I made a quilt for Market from Jennifer’s Studio Stash line and I’ve been using the fabrics in my projects ever since.  I really love fabrics that add visual texture and come in beautiful colors.  The current line, Shimmer, certainly does not disappoint and the projects in the lookbook are stunning.

Shimmer Fabric by Jennifer Sampou for Robert Kaufman

I had fun making the Cargo Duffle featured in the lookbook and Jennifer is lucky I didn’t keep it for myself!  The dresses in the book are positively drool-worthy.


When Jennifer asked me to be in the blog hop and design a project, I jumped at the chance.  I had this image in my head of a quilt with tons of shimmering X’s on a neutral background.

Shimmer X Quilt from Better Off Thread

The block I used is called “Road to Tennessee”, but I changed the proportions to make the X’s thinner and more delicate.  I didn’t realize when I came up with the design that I’d be sewing together 268 3″ squares and 536 2″ squares, but it was well worth it!

Shimmer X Quilt from Better Off Thread

 The background color is Kona Pewter (one of the newest Kona colors) and it is the perfect shade of gray with a hint of warmth.

Shimmer X Quilt from Better Off Thread

 I angsted over the quilting and then decided to sew simple, wavy, lines to add texture.

Shimmer X Quilt from Better Off Thread

Check out those great prints!

Shimmer X Quilt from Better Off Thread

I pieced the back using leftover Shimmer I had from making the Cargo Duffle.  Look at it shine!

Shimmer X Quilt from Better Off Thread

 View from the back.

The quilt measures 47″ x 59″ and it is currently glamming up my living room.


Be sure to check out all the other amazing bloggers and the fantastic projects they are creating from Shimmer.

 Blog Hop Schedule:

April 1- Robert Kaufman/Jennifer Sampou
April 2- Janice Ryan- Better off Thread
April 3- Alissa Haight Carlton- Handmade by Alissa
April 4- Julie Herman- JayBird Quilts
April 5- Natalie Barnes- Beyond the Reef
April 6- Stash Books- C&T Publishing
April 7- Amanda Jean Nyberg- Crazy Mom Quilts
April 8- Lee Heinrich- Freshly Pieced
April 9- Cheryl Arkinson- Naptime Quilter
April 10- Christina Cameli- A Few Scraps
April 11- Elizabeth Hartman- Oh Fransson
April 12- Faith Jones-Fresh Lemon Quilts
April 13- Gemma Jackson- Pretty Bobbins
April 14- Katie Blakesley- Swim Bike Quilt
April 15- Amy Smart-Diary of a Quilter
April 16- Laura Nownes, Jennifer Rounds, Pati Fried, Darra Williamson- See How We Sew
April 17- Holly DeGroot- Bijou Lovely
April 18- Jennifer Sampou-Wrap Up
April 21- Jennifer Sampou- Announce Winner of Giveaway


At the end of the Blog Hop, Jennifer Sampou will be giving away an entire fat quarter bundle of Shimmer.  Check out this luscious stack of fabric:

Shimmer Fabric by Jennifer Sampou for Robert Kaufman

To enter the giveaway, new readers should sign up on Jennifer’s mailing list and  comment on her blog before the end of the hop.  Be sure to comment about your favorite projects and why. Existing followers are automatically eligible to win.


I also have a charm pack of Shimmer to giveaway to my readers! 

Shimmer Fabric by Jennifer Sampou for Robert Kaufman

 To enter to win the charm pack, just leave me a comment.  I’ll announce a winner by random number generator on Friday, April 4th.


You can check out Shimmer on the Robert Kaufman Website


And if you can’t wait until the end of the giveaway, The Cotton Patch is taking pre-orders.

CottonPatch copy

Thanks for stopping by!

Oregon Coast Mini

I am going to tell you the unbelievable right now.  I actually finished the mini from the contest I held last July! Can you believe it?

The winner was Jill, with her idea for the Oregon Coast/Highway 101, and here is the resulting mini:

Highway 101 mini quilt by Better Off Thread

I was originally thinking I would make something more abstract and less literal, but I couldn’t get the idea of a quilted road sign out of my head.

Screen Shot 2013-08-21 at 8.03.13 PM copy

I found a sign image in the “Oregon Coastal News” and created a life-sized template in Photoshop for my quilt pattern.  I couldn’t find definite proof that this was ever an actual Highway 101 road sign (I even scanned Google Earth for an hour looking for the current sign.), but it’s art, so I get to take license!


Since it’s an Oregon quilt, I definitely wanted to use an Oregon based fabric designer.  I chose Madrona Road by Violet Craft.  I love every fabric line she has released and this line is so iconic to the Oregon countryside.  Madrona Road also goes well with my very favorite color right now; Empire Yellow by Art Gallery Fabrics.

Highway 101 mini quilt by Better Off Thread

I love how the hand stitching on the letters looks like dashed yellow lines on a road.  That was a very happy accident.

Highway 101 mini quilt by Better Off Thread

I debated on the quilting and decided to do swirly, floral doodles, to mirror the graphics in the fabric.

I really want to make more of these.  I would love a Pennsylvania Turnpike and California 101 version to hang in my home.

I hope you enjoy your mini, Jill!

Kite Flight Finished!

I thought it was about time I started catching up on my finished projects. “Kite Flight” is currently cheering up my family room.

photo 5-3

I used a Kona Classic’s roll-up and mixed in several text prints by Suzuko Koseki, Collage by Carrie Bloomston and Architextures by Carolyn Friedlander.

photo 4-1

I did straight line quilting 1/2″ apart on my Juki. I found it easiest to quilt lines 2″ apart, and then quilt between those lines.  The entire quilt is bias, so I think if I had quilted diagonally, I would have had less crinkling. Crinkle is good though, right?!

Kite Flight Quilt

It measures 70″x 84″, perfect for cuddling under.

Winner, Winner!


Okay, so it isn’t Monday still…anywhere, but good things come to those who wait!  The winner of a copy of Quilting Isn’t Funny, buy Megan Dougherty is:

Screen Shot 2014-01-14 at 7.24.47 AM

Jill R!

Congrats, Jill!  Megan will be sending you a copy of her book in the mail.

Thank you to everyone else for all your amusing comments.  I think the winner for funniest quilting term is “stash” and the least favorite is “quilt as desired”.

Have a great week!

Book Tour: Quilting Isn’t Funny by Megan Dougherty


Have you heard of The Bitchy Stitcher?  No, I’m not name-calling, I’m referring to Megan Dougherty.  She’s a quilter, comedienne and all around kick-a** lady. Oh, and her quilts are pretty darn amazing.  Anyone who designed these pins is pretty dang cool in my book:


Megan writes humorous and brutally honest essays for Quilter’s Home and Generation Q and she has collected her essays into a self-published book. So grab your mug rug and latte, snuggle up under your favorite quilt, and have a good laugh.   Her essay on “Quilting With Kids” was like a sticky finger-marked mirror into my life.

I am so glad that Megan asked me to be part of this tour because I haven’t been taking enough time for myself and work has been somewhat overwhelming. I really needed to be reminded of the humor in quilting right now.


Because I am terrible at summarizing, here is the description from Megan’s site:

Quick! There’s a horde of brain-eating zombies headed your way: you only have an acrylic ruler, some safety pins, and a bias tape machine. What do you do?

And, hey, zombies aren’t the only scary things quilters have to deal with. What happens when your teenager discovers your stash? What are your rights when you get arrested by the Quilt Police? Do you know how to tell which urban legends of quilting are based in fact? What should a quilter’s insurance policy actually cover? And what did the Buddha have to say about all this?

Quilting Isn’t Funny is a collection of hysterical essays by the inimitable creator of the Bitchy Stitcher blog, Megan Dougherty. This is quilting humor with a sharp edge, pieced together from wit, snark, and a little bit of satire. Turns out, quilting is funny. No, make that freakin’ hilarious.


You can purchase the book (paperback or PDF) on Megan’s website  (you will definitely want extras to gift to all your quilting friends) and Megan has generously offered a signed copy to one of my lucky readers.   All you need to do is a leave a comment.  If you are so inspired, tell me what quilting term you think is funny, or annoying.

Giveaway will be open until Sunday January 12th, 11:59am EST and I will announce the winner on Monday.

Also, take a moment to visit the other blogs on the tour!

Dec. 2 – Maddie Kertay  - Bad Ass Quilter’s Society
Dec. 3 – Sam Hunter – Hunter’s Design Studio
Dec. 4 – Carla Crim – Scientific Seamstress
Dec. 5 – Scarlett Burroughs – Craft Gossip
Dec. 6 – Jill Dorsey – Made With Moxie
Dec. 9 – Victoria Findlay Wolfe – Bumble Beans Inc
Dec. 10 – Lynn Harris - Little Red Hen
Dec. 11 – Teresa Coates – Crinkle Dreams
Dec. 12 – Joshua Helms - Molli Sparkles
Dec 13 – Liz Kettle – Stitch Journeys
Dec. 14 – Leah Day – The Free Motion Quilting Project
Dec 16 – Lisa Sipes – That Crazy Quilty Girl
Dec. 17 – Charlotte Newland – Displacement Activity
Dec. 18 – Teri Lucas - TerifiCreations
Dec. 19 – Cheryl Sleboda –
Dec. 20 – Kelly Biscopink – Stitchy Quilt Stuff
Jan. 6 – Generation Q
Jan. 8 – Rose Hughes – Rose Hughes – Quilt Artist
Jan. 9 – Janice Ryan – Better Off Thread
Jan. 10 – Flaun Cline – I Plead Quilty
Jan. 13 – Heather Jones – Olive and Ollie
Jan. 14 – Meg  – Without A Stitch On
Jan. 15 – Laura Lochore – Quokka Quilts
Jan. 16 – Elaine Wong Haselhuhn – Dashasel Sews
Jan. 17 – Kim Lapacek - Persimon Dreams

Countdown To Christmas Quilt-Along: Winners

Everyone’s Advent Calendars for the Countdown to Christmas Quilt-Along look so wonderful!  I had a wonderful time hosting along Melissa. We’ve been dealing with the stomach flu running through my entire house over the last 4 days, and this is the first almost well day, so I’m going to get an up-close look at everyone’s calendars today!

Now for the winners!  (All winners were chosen by Random Number Generator.)


A fat quarter bundle of Santa’s Little Deer donated by the Fat Quarter Shop goes to Nicole from Modern Handcraft


A $30.00 gift certificate from Green Fairy Quilts goes to Jen at Acts of Craftiness.  


A fat quarter bundle of “Holiday Sweet Tweets”  by Laurie Wisbrun from Robert Kaufman Fabrics goes to Sandy at Upstair Hobby Room.


A $50.00 gift certificate from Sew Modern goes to Martina from Sunshinequilting.


Thank you so much to everyone that participated.  Melissa and I will be contacting the winners.  If you don’t hear from us by tomorrow, it means we couldn’t find a contact, so email us!!

Have a wonderful week!

Mod Festive Placemat Tutorial

Is everyone ready for Turkey Day?  I have a quick and easy project for you today to dress up your Thanksgiving table and add a modern touch.

Mod Festive Placemat Tutorial At Better Off Thread #turkeytablescapes

I was invited to join in Jo-Ann Fabric’s Celebrate the Season Campaign and this month the theme is #TurkeyTablescapes.   I decided to dress up my Turkey Tablescape with some new placemats in modern colors (citrus yellow, tangerine, lime green and navy).  Keep reading for instructions on making your own!

Mod Festive Placemat Tutorial At Better Off Thread #turkeytablescapes


Supplies for four placements (finished size 13″ x 19″):

Mod Festive Placemat Tutorial At Better Off Thread #turkeytablescapes

  • 1/4 yard each 6 different prints ( I used prints by DS Quilts, Juliana Horner, Keepsake Calico and Quilter’s Showcase)
  • 1 1/2 yards navy solid (I used Symphony Broadcloth in Navy).
  • Craft Size Quilt Batting (I used Warm & Natural)
  • Coordinating thread (I used white and navy Gutermann Thread)

Mod Festive Placemat Tutorial At Better Off Thread #turkeytablescapes

1. From each of your print fabrics, cut strips that are varying widths (1.25″-2.25″) x 14″ long.

2. Sew strips together until they measure 13″ wide x 14″ tall. Press seams open.

3. From the navy solid, cut a strip 1″ x 14″ and sew to right side of your set of strips.

4. From print fabrics, cut strips that are 1.25″-2.25″ x 7″.

5. Sew the long edges of your 7″ strips together until they measure 7″x 14 “.

Mod Festive Placemat Tutorial At Better Off Thread #turkeytablescapes

6. Sew your two strip set together as pictured above.

7. From the navy solid and batting, cut rectangle that measures 14″ x 20″.

8. Layer top, batting and navy back and baste with pins or basting spray.

9. Quilt as desired (I sewed vertical lines along the seams).

10. Cut placemat to 13″ x 19″.

11.  Cut 2 1/4″  strips from navy solid and bind placemat.  I use this tutorial and then machine sew the binding to the back, rather than hand-sew.

Mod Festive Placemat Tutorial At Better Off Thread #turkeytablescapes

Enjoy your turkey dinner!!


You can find more craft ideas on the Jo-ann Fabrics website.  Search #turkeytablescapes on Instagram and Twitter to see what the other bloggers have crafted.

Here is a coupon to get you  started!

Mod Festive Placemat Tutorial At Better Off Thread #turkeytablescapes

 Happy Thanksgiving!!

 *This tutorial is part of the Jo­‐Ann Fabric and Craft Stores® Celebrate the Season campaign. I was given a gift card to create a unique holiday projects, but all views, opinions and designs are my own.