Scrap box challenge: The big blue cushion

From making my big blue quilt, I still had a pile of blue scraps, even after making a knitting bag from them. So, back in January, I set myself the task of making something else to use them up.

Pile of aqua fabric scraps

I was sure I could make something out of this pile of aqua scraps, but what?

Hours of time wasted staring at Pinterest boards led me to this image of a circular design on a cushion. I had a plan: I was going to make a cushion with a bright blue doughnut thingummy!

I drafted two large circles, one to fit inside the other. Each was divided into four quadrants to make foundation paper piecing more manageable. I marked some guidelines on the paper to help keep everything radiating out from the centre, but I let the size of the scrap determine where the next seam would go, not any markings.

Blue circle cushion in progress

It might not be obvious in the photo, but this mess is the eight paper pieced arcs that make up the two circles.

When I had stitched and flipped my way around the eight quadrants, I sewed the two circles together and appliquéd the lot onto a very large piece of Essex yard-dyed linen (flax). I added extra fabric in case the linen decided to fray and so I could judge how much space to leave around the appliqué. I had planned to trim it down a bit, but the cushion stayed large. As I was making it up as I went, I had no idea what size the finished cushion would end up.

Blue circle cushion in progress

When all the arcs were sewn, I trimmed them, joined them and hand appliquéd the lot onto a large square of linen.

I added a plain linen backing (with a zipper) and some piping, and I had a cushion. Ta da!

It is so large that it fits what is called a European pillow here in Australia – one of those giant pillows that you use to prop yourself up in bed with a cup of tea and a good book. I have not yet bought it its own cushion insert, I simply stuffed one of the European pillows off the spare bed into the cover.

Blue circle cushion

It is hard to get a sense of scale from this image, but the cushion is about 60 centimetres (24 inches) square.

To quilt it, I used a length of masking tape as a guide for the circles around the centre. I peeled and moved the tape as I sewed. I tried using the quilting bar that comes with my machine, but the first attempt encouraged me to scrap that idea. The bar jiggles at the gentlest touch, and it sits in such a way that you have to shove the bulk of your project under the machine’s throat. Masking tape was much simpler.

Blue circle cushion

I sewed a decorative line of running stitch in blue Aurifil 12 weight around the appliqué, as well as sewing lines of machine quilting in the ditches.

As I was quilting it, I started to see the bright blue doughnut thingummy transform onto ripples on a pond. I felt rather pleased with that idea. Very restful.

Later, when the cushion was finished, Serena of Sew Giving took one look at it and saw an eye, specifically, the iris of a blue eye. My goodness! How had I missed that?

Blue circle cushion

The width of each fabric wedge was determined by the size of the scrap.

Maybe we can use this as our own cushiony Rorschach test. What do you see? Ripples on a pond? An iris? A bright blue doughnut thingummy? A crazy woman with too much time on her hands who keeps making cushions? Something else?

Blue circle cushion

Yet another cushion!

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25 thoughts on “Scrap box challenge: The big blue cushion

  1. It’s the glitter of a brilliant-cut blue diamond, of course! I know exactly how comfortable you now are, propped up in bed with your cuppa. Nothing to beat a really outsized cushion, is there? (And I’m glad it’s not just me who finds the guide doohickey on my walking foot completely useless).

  2. The 12wt hand quilting around the outside edge is a really nice touch, and I like the piping around the edge a log. I can see ripples on a pond and an iris, and now that you have mentioned so many options my brain can’t seem to come up with anything else (overcome by the power of suggestion).

  3. I saw an iris first, but as I look at it longer, the beautiful blues all blend together and I see a blue sunset. Yeah I think the crazy lady title could be handed to me too. Either way it is wonderful

  4. Thanks for sharing, Carla! I had forgotten about using masking tape to mark quilting lines. I should consider using that for machine quilting as well.

    I love the blues and you always have the most amazing taste in fabric selection!

  5. Oh your “blue scrap cushion” is indeed reminiscent of ripples on a pond. The running stitch around the outside sets it off beautifully.
    I then stole a peek at your knitting bag, very lovely.

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