The Sweet Stocking is Here!

For the past several years, I’ve been plugging away at sewing quilted stockings for my family, only to find myself getting more and more frustrated with the lack of reasonably sized (ie, not big enough to fit a PS5) Christmas stockings that wouldn’t take forever to sew. I decided it was high time to design my own, and landed on what I believe is a perfectly pint-sized Christmas stocking!

My Christmas fabric stash is small but full of beloved, no longer produced prints, so I made sure to make the patchwork squares small for maximum fussy cutting with minimal fabric usage. You could also use the pattern to make solid stockings in just one print, or improv-piece the top to make something fun and unique!

The Sweet Stocking is made using simple patchwork squares, one template, and an easy sewing technique to make the lining and outer in just one seam! The hanging tag can be made from quilting cotton fabric or your favorite ribbon or twill tape.

This project is a great intro to quilting on your machine, with a small shape and lots of options- quilt in straight lines, a grid pattern, or free motion if you have the right foot. Alternatively, how lovely would hand quilting look on these stockings?!

These stockings are just the right size to stuff with little goodies like candy, nail polish, or pens, and would also be perfect for baby’s first Christmas or your favorite fur babies. I love how you can comfortably hang a couple of them on a small mantel or shelf.

Click here to go to the download shop to get the free pattern! Let me know in the comments how yours turned out, and use #sweetstocking on Instagram (tag me @katiegouwens) so I see your lovely Sweet Stocking photos!

Postage Stamp Quilt Saga: Chapter 1

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Forward: I’m making a postage stamp quilt in the style and spirit of the ones popular during the 1930s. I’ll be chronicling the process here on my blog and on Instagram!

Once upon a time, I fell madly, deeply in love with a vintage quilt I saw in a magazine. The year was 2002 and Martha Stewart Living’s August issue was given to my mom by a relative who stopped by to visit, and being a voracious reader at eight years old I read it cover to cover. I came to an article on how to repair a vintage postage stamp quilt, and the photos, paired with a story, stopped me in my tracks.

Being a massive history fan, the story accompanying the photos was every bit as good as the quilt. The article talked about how postage stamp quilts became popular during the Great Depression, using up even the tiniest scraps to make the impossibly sweet one inch squares. The fabrics usually were calicoes left over from clothing, sheets, feed sacks, and “rag bags” bought for pennies at department stores. The article walked the reader through picking new fabrics at the store (turkey red and sky blue and pale yellow were popular colors the author noted, so choose those) so new squares could be made and painstakingly appliqued over threadbare patches. I was absolutely smitten, and swore one day I’d make my own postage stamp quilt.

I’ve had a few false starts in the past seventeen years, finding the tiny squares frustrating to get lined up properly and tedious to cut. I started reading every tutorial I could find on making postage stamp quilts and giving them all a try, fiddling with the size of the squares, buying 1930s reproduction fabric only to cut it up and give up, and moved on to other projects, letting the postage stamp quilt idea keep marinating in the back of my mind.

Fast forward to earlier this year, when I found the magazine again on ebay (the original copy long gone) and coincidentally came across Amanda Jean’s post on her Lost in the Crowd Quilt and had my ah-ha moment.

In the 1930s, the postage stamp quilt was about ingenuity, a product of the “waste not, want not” attitude of a culture where every last bit counted. It wasn’t made by strip piecing, ironing a chessboard of squares to a piece of interfacing, or english paper piecing. It was made by simply cutting squares, accurately and cleanly, then stitching them together next to the radio when time allowed.

So I aim for my postage stamp quilt to exemplify a modern version of the resourceful spirit of our grandmothers, with my personality where it counts.

I’m cutting 1.5″ squares from my modern, colorful scraps, not buying any fabric specifically for this project and using a 1.5″ wide ruler that makes it fast and easy. I’m cutting the squares as often as I feel like it and chain piecing a handful of 4-patch blocks after a stressful day, usually before bed in front of an episode of Friends. It might not be exactly what our ancestors would have done in their time, but I’m pretty sure it’s what they would have done if faced with a low hobby budget, a drafty house, and a Netflix subscription today.

If you’d like more details on how I’m sewing these blocks together and getting nicely matched seams, be sure to check out Amanda Jean’s awesome tutorial that convinced me this project could be simple and fun.

Lagoon Pineapple Quilt

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Note: this post contains affiliate links and is not sponsored by Creative Grids or Amazon.com. I purchased the products linked here for my personal use and thought you might like them too.

Summer’s almost over here in Michigan (yay! fall is the best) but I’m finally getting around to sharing a make I finished last summer– a pineapple block quilt made from Rashida Coleman-Hale’s Lagoon fabric! I had just seen Moana, and wanted to make something tropical and cheerful.

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I used Creative Grids’ Pineapple Trim Tool ruler (affiliate link) to make the blocks,and it’s now one of my favorite tools! The blocks are a bit time consuming, but the ruler makes them simple and turn out perfectly every single time. I absolutely love that it can work with my #1 favorite ruler, a Creative Grids Quilting Ruler 2 1/2″ Square (affiliate link) for the centers! I made the biggest size blocks the pineapple ruler makes, 10″x 10″.

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To get the “pineapple” look, I alternated rounds of colorful Lagoon prints with the Nanners lawn from the collection in pink and yellow. I absolutely love mixing lawn and quilting cotton– the quilt has such a lovely texture with the lawn being just a touch thinner. I used wool batting, my favorite, because it’s so light and soft, but warm and has a nice cushy loft when quilted. It’s a little quilt, about 30″ square, so I’ve just been draping it at the bottom of my bed for a pop of color, but this will definitely get hung on the wall at some point.

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The map print from the collection is so perfect on the back!

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I’ve definitely added a scrappy pineapple quilt to my “to make” list, maybe something nice and big for wintertime!

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