Wednesday, April 6, 2011

April Craftbook Challenge: Zigzag Quilted Cushions

This week I have been busy making some chair cushions for my mom's wicker rocking chair. I think they came out really nicely and I wanted to share them with you. While I was visiting her I used 2 big pieces of newspaper to make my templates, and traced the shape of the chair back and seat onto them. I also marked on the newsprint where I wanted the ties to go, 2 at the top for the chair back, and all 4 corners on the chair seat cushion. Then I took my newspaper home and started looking for a great pattern.
I wanted my chair cushions to coordinate with quilt I had made my mom before, so I dug out all my leftover scraps of Midwest Modern from that project, and added a few coordinating prints and some neutral solids to fill in the gaps. Her quilt was very geometric and modern so I was looking for something similar.

I decided to adapt the pattern for the ZigZag pillow from Malka Dubraswky's Fresh Quilting. If you haven't seen this book yet, it is filled with all sorts of great projects and I would really recommend it to anyone interested in trying quilting and looking for some modern, colourful inspiration. I was also really inspired by the neutrals in this baby quilt by Red Pepper Quilts, based on the same pattern.
This pattern is really fun to put together. The blocks are all perfect squares, made up of one print and one solid rectangle, and the pattern emerges when you alternate the direction of each block. I really like Malka's suggestion of using close parallel lines of quilting to accentuate the zigzag pattern, so that's what I went with. I made each quilt top a little bigger than my templates and them trimmed them down to size. I used all the extra rectangles that I had cut up to make pieced ties.
The seat back is just a mini quilt, bound with grey linen and backed with natural linen/cotton blend. The seat cushion was quilted, and then sewn to a two piece back with a lapped zipper. I made my own cording with the same grey linen cut on the bias. The cushion itself is 1 inch thick foam. They don't really fit on my little antique chair, but they will look perfect on the wicker rocker.

Here is a peek at the quilt that I made my mom last year:
The pattern for the quilt top is Mixed Tape from Elizabeth Hartman of Oh Fransson! I used a big stack of Amy Butler Midwest Modern that I had been hoarding, along with lots of natural linen for the sashing. The backing was my own improvised design; I used all the extra rectangles from making the pattern blocks and pieced them into a huge square. This was my very first try at free motion quilting, and I chose to use a stippling pattern which turned out pretty well. Elizabeth has a whole series of tutorials on quilt-making basics which I found really helpful.
I think that the Mixed Tape Quilt and the ZigZag Pillow may be two of my favourite quilting patterns. I love their simplicity, mix of solids and pattern, and how they show off your fabulous prints. Do you have a favourite modern quilt pattern? I would love to hear about it and why you loved it.