Thursday, February 24, 2011

Be Our Guest: Freshly Pieced

Were you inspired by our Amazing Orange mosaic earlier this week? Well, today we are lucky enough to have Lee from Freshly Pieced join us as a guest blogger, and she's bringing a fun & bright project idea for you all (featuring orange, of course).

Have you visited Lee's site yet? She is an amazing quilter, a mother of two, and a graphic designer from Milwaukee, Wisconsin. She blogs at

Please join us in welcoming Lee to the Fat Quarterly blog today.


Hi there, I'm Lee from Freshly Pieced. I'm so excited to be guest blogging for Fat Quarterly today. I've got a fun project for all of you who are trying to beat the winter blahs (I know I am). So how about a pillow with a cheerful, wonky sun? It whips up quickly and easily with a wedge ruler—no paper-piecing or curved piecing required!

Sunshine Pillow: Trying to beat the winter blahs? How about a pillow with a cheerful, wonky little sun? It whips up quickly and easily with a wedge ruler—no paper-piecing required!

You will need:
- a 30-degree wedge ruler, such as the Fat Cats ruler by Darlene Zimmerman
- bright-colored scraps for sun rays and center
- approx. 1/2 yard of light blue solid for background
- approx. 1/8 yard of orange print for border
- 1/2 yard for pillow back
- 18" pillow form

1. From your bright scraps, cut 12 strips, about 2" x 6". No need to be exact—wonkiness is good here! These will be the rays of your sun, so cut them a little wider on top, narrower on the bottom. From your solid blue background fabric, cut 14 strips, 3" x 6".

2. Sew the strips together into one long piece, alternating between the light blue solid and the bright scrappy strips. Start and end with a light blue strip. Be sure to alternate the direction of the rays as you sew, so the narrow end is on top, then on the bottom, then on the top, and so on (see photo above). But don't worry about the order of your rays, or whether the finished piece is straight—none of that will matter in the next step!

3. Using your wedge ruler, cut 12 wedges from your pieced strips. To cut your first wedge, center the ruler over one of the rays, with the narrow end of the ruler over the narrow end of the ray, as shown. Again, no need to be exact. To cut the next strip, turn the ruler 180 degrees and center it over the next scrappy ray. When all of your wedges are cut, trim six of the wedges to 4.5" long, and the other six wedges to 5" long.

4. From your light blue solid, cut a strip 5" by about 36". From that strip, cut 6 more wedge pieces. These wedges will start at the 4" mark on the ruler and extend to the 9" mark (see photo).

5. Sew these wedge pieces onto the 4.5" ray pieces, end to end, to create a complete wedge that is 9" long.

6. Cut another strip from your light blue solid, this time 4.5" by about 36". From that strip, cut another 6 wedge pieces, just as you did in step 4— except that this time, the wedges will start at the 4.5" mark on the ruler, extending to the 9" mark. Sew these wedge pieces onto the 5" ray pieces, end to end, just as you did in step 5. You will now have a total of 12 wedges that are 9" long.

5. Sew your wedges together into a circle measuring a little more than 20" across. I sewed the wedges together in groups of three, creating quarter-circles, then sewed the quarters together. Press your seams out.

6. Trim your pieced circle to a 14.5" square. To do this, fold the circle in half and press, then fold in half again and press. Use these press marks as center points as you square up. You will cut off quite a bit of excess at the sides, but very little at the corners of the square.

7. Cut a 4" circle from your remaining scraps, and applique it on for the sun's center. There are many ways you could applique your center—I used the method described in this tutorial ( by Elizabeth Hartman on Sew Mama Sew.

8. Cut four 2.5" strips at least 18" long from your orange border print. Sew a strip onto each side of your sun block.

9. You now have a completed pillow top. I hand-quilted mine using white Perle cotton. I used this tutorial from Cluck Cluck Sew ( to make a simple envelope closure for the back of the pillow.

That's it—enjoy it until the real sun comes out again!


  1. Wow, awesome tutorial, Lee! I love her blog :)

  2. Great easy to follow turorial! And such a cute pillow, love the sun!

  3. Fabulous fun! What a lovely idea and a great tut! Thanks!

  4. Wow - you really made it easy, Lee! I think I need to get me one of those rulers, stat! Awesome tutorial from one of my very favourite bloggers.

  5. Super tutorial! I need some sunshine where I'm at...

  6. So clever! thanks for the tutorial.

  7. Happy Happy SUN!!!!!! Love it!

  8. Looks so easy and I love the finished look. Thanks for sharing.

  9. What a great break in all the bleakness of this winter! I am following your blog. Love your header!

    Leslie S. in MN
    esclante at comcast dot net

  10. Great tutorial and beautiful pillow! When I first saw it I thought it was appliqued. I have the fat cat ruler and this would really be a fun way to use it. Thanks!

  11. I LOVE your craft and have featured it on the "Weather Get Crafty" carnival :-)

    Thank you!


  12. Love this, but I can't see any of the pictures in the tutorial, they're all black squares with exclamation marks :( any ideas what might be causing this?