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Blue And White HSTs - Two Cushions

I'm back again with another finish!  (I have seven in total this quarter so expect a flurry of posts from me as I catch up with myself.)

Following on from yesterday's post about the blue and white quilt, today's post is about the two cushions I made to go with the quilt, which were made from the 'bonus' HSTs created when I made the snowball blocks (although I'm not sure 'bonus' and '508 1" HSTs' should be seen in the same sentence).

Back in August 2015, while I watched many episodes of something on DVD (I know not what, I suspect I've blanked it out in order to blank out the reason I was watching them, namely...), I set the seams on, and then pressed open, 508 HST units.  They then needed trimming to a uniform size (1.5" square), which I did over many (many!) evenings while watching telly.  I had a nice little system sorted with a mini cutting board on an old Next catalogue on my knee, a box for the trimmed units on one side of me, and a box for the trimmings on the other.  Believe me, trimming that many squares is as boring as it sounds, but waste not, want not!
Trimming HSTs

I then stacked them neatly away in a box and tried to forget about them:
I can put it off no longer...the next project to tackle from my Q4 #2016FAL #ridiculouslylongFALlist is to turn these 508 hsts (the by product of the 127 snowball blocks in the blue and white quilt) into two cushions to go with the quilt. I'm hoping to ha
Don't know why that photo's so poor, sorry!
but not before I'd had a little play to see what I could make:
Playing with 508 HST units is less fun than you'd think, which is why I combined two designs into one in the centre photo!
I knew I wanted to make two rectangular cushions to go with the quilt, I just didn't know what they were going to look like (I preferred the centre design, even back then).  Or how I'd face piecing all the units!

In December, I realised I could possibly get the quilt finished in time for Mam's birthday and decided that I'd also try to make the two companion cushions I'd been planning so I could give her them all together.  The first thing I did was sort all the units by print and stack them on my sewing table, and then I counted the units in each stack and labelled them.  It might seem excessive, but it meant that I knew how many of each print I had and didn't waste time choosing a print only to find I didn't have enough units to complete a round.  This was my first attempt, once I'd decided what sort of design to do:
How about something like this? I want a rectangular cushion about 15" x 19" so I could make it up to size with plain white 1" (finished) squares, with the squareton point offset to one side of the panel. The problem with this is that two cushions would on

but something wasn't quite right.  I played about a bit more and tried out both a centred and off-set design and asked my friends on instagram for help as it still wasn't right:
The more I look at these, the odder they look... #blueandwhitetriangles #noneofthesewouldusethemallup #ImgoingtobestuckwiththemarentI #youwouldntbelievehowlongitstakenmetomakethisphotomosaic #orhowlongittakestoarrange192hsts

Through discussion, we decided that two things were wrong: the centre triangles needed to point out, not in (i.e. there should be a centre square of white, not blue) and (related to this), the dark centre felt like something was watching you (thanks for pointing it out, Jenny, although I'm not sure you used those words!).  And that off-centre looked better:
That's better! You were right, @jenny_bacon, thanks! At the moment, I'm edging towards this as the design, but not necessarily this arrangement of shades. I'm about to count and log quantities of each print and then do some planning. Or maybe just go to b

With that, I drew a plan of the panel and counted how many units were needed for each round (yes, really!), which was a lot less tiring than doing it by trial and error with the units themselves.  For a start, I could sit on the settee and do it rather than stooping over my bed!

Once that was done, I laid out two cushion panels on my bed (honestly, this playing with HSTs is really boring and my back ached from all the stooping!), did a bit of faffing and then took two awful photos so I knew what went where.  (Awful because it was early afternoon on a December in the UK and it was starting to get dark, and because I was jiggered and struggled to hold the camera high enough to get a whole panel in!)
And the second arrangement - shout if anything needs changing #layingout192oneandahalfinchunfinishedhstunitstakesmoretimeandroomthanyoudthink

I've arranged the hst units for cushions, please shout if you think anything needs changing #shouldprobablyhaveusedapalebackdropbutIneededsomethingwhichcouldbemovedifneedbe
The safety pins are holding on the number tags

I started piecing after a bit of a rest (no time for more!) and joined the units into columns, mainly so I could get them off my bed so I could get on it, but took a moment to enjoy the shrinkage that happens when you start to piece:
I love the shrinkage!

Over the next few days (with Christmas in the mix as well), I pressed the columns and then started to pin them into pairs, ready to sew when I was able:
Ready to sew, but not today #lotsofpins

By early January, the panels were pieced:
They're far (far, far) from perfect, but the hst panels for the two cushions are pieced. I need to add borders (white) all round to bring them up to size, which will also help the seams even out (even a really good steam press isn't stopping them bouncing
The photo is slightly misleading because I used Aurifil 2600 (dove grey) to piece them, not the white (2024) shown in the photo, that's there for scale.  And because the pale grey was still on my machine!
I then layered, pinned and quilted them, and by the start of the quarter, had the two almost-finished-the-quilting panels you can find on my FAL list:
Blue and white hst cushion 2
You can see that the left-hand side of the top panel and the right-hand side of the lower panel aren't quilted as densely at this point.
Blue and white hst cushion 1

I'll be honest and tell you that the quilting started out, well, terribly.  I started with these wavy lines, hated them, unpicked them, did straight lines, hated them, redid the wavy lines, hated them...and then remembered that wavy lines always look dreadful when you start and that they only start to look better as you do more of them, something to do with them looking shonky when sparse, but deliberate and textured when denser. So I ploughed on, and I'm glad I did!!

I had just enough binding fabric from the quilt left to eke out four strips for the cushions, and after a bit of hand stitching, and then altering two pillows into cushion inners (the cheapest and easiest way to get cushion inners the size you want), I had two finished cushions:
One down... #awfulphotobutIdontthinkitsgoingtogetlighttoday #firstfinishofQ1 #2017FAL #hstunitsfinishatoneinchsquare #amazingwhatyoucanmakewithleftovers

And another! #sewallthebinding #thirdfinishofQ1 #2017FAL #thesunhasmadeanappearanceafterall #anotherwipbitesthedust

And here's the back of one of them (they're both the same):

And the back of the blue and white triangle cushions (they're both the same). The zip flap is the same fabric as the quilt back and the binding on the cushions and quilt is the same for consistency.
The zip flap is made from the off cut of backing created when I trimmed the quilt

And here's how all three finishes look together:
My first three finishes of 2017! #2017FAL #1660twoandahalfinchsquareslater #andsurelynighonaamileofthread #used50wt40wtand12wtinthisone #quickgetitwrappedbeforeIspillsomethingonthem #inanidealworldIdwashandtumblethemtomakethemcrinklebutIthinkMamwouldnotic

My Q1 FAL list can be found here and this post is about item three, one of the pair of blue and white HST cushions.  I'm linking the first finished cushion up with this post (the one with the slightly lighter centre) and will link the other up with instagram.

Just Jude Designs

I specifically told you that I didn't want any photos taken when my ear was inside out
I told you: no photos with my ear inside out!
Thanks for popping in!


  1. These are so cool and beautiful! Fabulous finishes, even if I still think those HSTs are a bit insane! Stunning, but insane.

  2. You are a glutton for punishment, but I have to say, it was totally worth it. And look at you, months with nothing and then two posts come along at once...

  3. Tiny snippets of Blue and White get everybody's hearts a flutter . . and these 2 cushions are no exception.
    A lot of hard work but so delightful
    Well Done!
    Funny Archie!

  4. Goodness they took some stamina but they are truly stunning.

  5. Well worth all the effort - you must be pleased with the outcomes!

  6. Beautiful cushions. Love how you organized those 508 hsts. That was a huge job with a beautiful ending. Love your ear Archie.

  7. So glad I dropped in to see these finished, they are drop dead gorgeous and a testament to your skills and determination.xx

  8. Oh gosh, I think the quilt alone would have put me off blue and white for a while! Great bonus project and I love the quilting - I'll have to try that - but without the false starts?????

  9. Love the pillows! So worth all the fuss.

  10. Amazing. As a fan of scrappy and gradient, it's spot on my taste! The epic quilt deserves a special coordinate. Congratulations on your finished goal. On behalf of your fellow 2017 FAL hosts, thanks for linking up and sharing your work! Great Job.


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