Ellie-cases and Valentines in December

I’m in Saskatchewan now for a week or so, but before I left, I had a mad rush to get a few things done for Christmas gifts. I’d promised to bring one of my friends some shortbread cookies on the Saturday before I left, but I forgot to buy butter, which kind of put paid to that idea, so instead I decided to make her some pillowcases using fabric I’d bought months ago with her in mind. She’s a huge fan of elephant everything, but only if the trunks are pointing up (because it’s supposed to hold in the luck?), so when I stumbled over this Madhuri line of fabric, I’d had to pick some up for her.

Ellie Cases

I made two pillowcases for her, and kind of did it in a fabric wasteful way – I wanted the elephants to be running left/right rather than up/down, so I cut the forty-four inches down the length of the fabric and then trimmed the 26″ from the width of the fabric – so many prints run in the wrong direction for the hot dog pillowcase method and that’s the only way around it, other than just living with it. Normally I am okay with that, but I guess the luck would run out if they’re sideways? I don’t know – this friend has a thing about the trunks so I indulged it!

Elephant Pillowcases

Fortunately, these are pretty quick and easy to put together, even with the additional odd cutting. Not too much time or effort required to make them, and they look pretty great. She was also pretty happy with them, though I’m sure her husband wants to kill me. (Poor guy – I wrote him an apology on the gift tag.)

The other thing I needed to get put together was a wall-hanging for my Mom for a Christmas gift. Last year my sister and I made a Christmas wall-hanging for her and we also gave her a vaguely Halloween-ish quilted owl wall-hanging and for her birthday I gave her a more generic spring/summer wall-hanging, all for a quilt rack we also gave her for Christmas last year. So we’re trying to give her an option for every holiday, but we’re spreading it out a bit, rather than giving her a pile of them all at once. This is a Christmas gift idea that can go on for a few years!

Valentine's Wall-hanging

We needed something pretty quick this year because my sister was in India for a good chunk of the fall (for work) and then everything after that just seemed to come too quickly and we kept putting it off and putting it off. Suddenly it was 5 days till I was leaving and my sister was so slammed at work that her job gave her carte blanche to work as much overtime (from home) as she can in order to get it done.

Valentine's Wall-hanging

The only craft she really does (besides a tiny bit of scrap-booking) is cross-stitch, so we chose a really simple pattern from a book called Stitch Graffitti (the Christmas wall-hanging came from the same book) and she did a row here and a row there while waiting for her work program to load or run updates and so on. She got it done on the Thursday before I left, so Friday I pieced the stripes around it to bring it up to size (it’s about 15.5″ x 18″ I think – I don’t have it here to measure!).

Valentine's Wall-hanging

I did matchstick quilting, which was unbelievably time-consuming, but which I think looks pretty great. The worst part was hiding all the gazillion threads on either side of the cross-stitch section – so very many starts and stops!

I was vaguely concerned the stripes of colour really didn’t work together that well, so I thought maybe quilting closely with the same thread over the whole thing would kind of help tie it all together a bit, as if it were one weirdly striped print, rather than all the random long strips of scrap solid fabric I had in a colour range between pink and burgundy, with a little purple and pale blue throw in for good measure. I was going to quilt it with a grey thread all over, but discovered a variegated thread in my stash that ranged from the palest pink to a deep burgundy – the perfect choice!

Valentine's Wall-hanging

I bound it mostly with a grey dot, but also used a little of a pink flower dot that I’ve had in my stash for ages and ages. I intentionally avoided prints in the main part of the quilt – I thought it would be too distracting, and I wanted as much of the focus as possible to be on the cross-stitched area – so I thought the binding would be a nice place to add in a little printed texture. I had the whole thing quilted by Sunday, but then it was getting the binding done. It’s small enough not to take an enormous amount of time, but I didn’t want to have to bring it back to Saskatchewan with me – too easy for my mom to find it in my things. Monday night I stayed up stupid late to get it finished, since I was flying out Tuesday morning. I took my photos sometime after midnight, under the light of my harsh overhead CFL light – I’m surprised these photos came out as well as they did.

Valentine's Wall-hanging

Except for this one. Washi tape sucks!


53 thoughts on “Ellie-cases and Valentines in December”

  1. 1. Yay! I love giveaways!!
    I follow your blog via bloglovin and have been a follower for almost as long as I have been quilting which has only been a little over a year 🙂 I truly enjoy your blog and I’m super glad I found you!!
    Thanks for your time!!!
    xo Jessica

    1. Thank you! It just felt like the right thing to do, with the trunks, and really prints do look better running horizontally on a pillowcase, rather than vertically! (If only they’d print more of them in the other direction…)

  2. 3. Wow, there’s so much in here, I don’t know where to start! Greta fabric choice with the elephants, and what a good friend to worry about the luck. I love the red flange (is that the right word.). Really lovely contrast to the elephant and tie in to the print. Your matchstick quilting turned out great! And the variegated thread is perfect. I am a follower (thru Bloglovin) and was here pre-SMS day.
    Have a very Merry Christmas!!
    E xx

    1. Thanks! I love the red flanges too – I don’t know if that’s what they’re supposed to be called, but that’s exactly what I call them too! – like a great belt that both sets off and ties together two halves of an outfit 😀

      Hope you had a lovely Christmas too! (It’s taking me forever to respond to emails – I was online so rarely when I was on vacation and then felt overwhelmed by my mountain of emails when I got home!)

  3. 4. I love those pillowcases. The elephants are adorable and the colors are great.

    1. Thanks! It’s such an easy thing to make, I love that it comes out looking so good 🙂 I really liked the turquoise/blue elephant, but the yellow/white one wasn’t my favourite – it feels like it should be a gold on pale yellow or something, rather than having a white background. Anyway, I like how they came out with the different cuff fabrics and the red flanges.

  4. 5. I love the matchstick quilting you did for this piece, what an excellent choice. Your mom will love it! I do follow your blog in feedly, that is a lovely giveaway.

  5. 6. The pillowcases are great and I really like that you took the time to make them with elephants facing different directions. I follow you via bloglovin. I found you from the SMS giveaway and I am so glad I did.

    1. Thanks! I like them better too with the elephants facing the “right” way. I feel like prints should run along the selvedge of fabric, which would solve the problem for these pillowcases, but a lot of prints don’t.

  6. 7. I love your pillow cases. I may have to try that matchstick quilting it really looks great! I follow you by e-mail.

    1. I LOVE how the matchstick quilting looks, but I don’t think I’ll do it on anything much bigger than that – super time-consuming! I’ve been thinking about making some placemats, though, and it’d be perfect for something like that – it gives a bit stiffer of a result, for something that you want to hang straight or lay flat on a table or whatever. I wonder if you could get a similar effect on a quilt, just leaving larger gaps between the lines. (I did these about every eighth of an inch.)

  7. 8. after christmas i’m gonna make some new pillowcases-what a satisfying project! i love how yours turned out. i follow via email and bloglovin’. i always read my emails first though!

    1. They’re a great project – you should definitely try them! I really like making them because it’s such an easy thing to do and you’ve got a finished project right away, which is great if you need a little instant gratification.

      Randomish question about the emails: does it send you the entire text/photos of the entry or does it send a link to the thing? I tend to fix all my errors in second and third and fourth edits after I’ve published the post, so I’m curious if I’m sending all my mistakes through the original email 😀 (I know on this entry, for example, I used the wrong link type for all my photos except the top one or two, so none of them posted! It took me a while to figure out what I’d done wrong.)

  8. 9. Oh, wow, I love the wall-hanging… so modern but so warm!! and the quilting adds a great touch!! And I don’t know if I follow though bloglovin (too many blogs there to follow), but I definitely stop by quite often to see what’s new 😉

    1. Thanks! I tried to have fun with the wall-hanging! It’s not really my usual thing, but that happens I guess when you’re making things for other people and really I’m pretty happy with how it came out 😀

    1. If the pillowcases you’re speaking of are the ones with the crochet edging? I LOVE the crochet edging on them! It’s such a sweet touch and it just feels like something my Grandma would have done, which makes me love it even more. (Although, I suppose if I think of it, she probably crocheted everything but the bed linens.)

  9. 11. Love the elephants!! I did pillowcases for my grandkids and put their gifts inside, and tied with a fabric “ribbon”.
    I follow you on wordpress reader.

    1. It’s a fun gift to make – something you know they can use all the time and you can personalize them so much too, which is always nice.

      I’m not really big on animal print fabric, but they’re pretty nice elephants. They’re a fairly large print, though, so I wonder how usable they’ll be in other projects – I tend not to want to chop them up into heads and tails and bisected ellies 😀

    1. I often try to follow Canadians too! It feels like a silly reason to follow someone, but I like having contact with people who’ve got similar experiences to mine. 🙂

  10. 13. wow – lots of great finishes. I love your pillow cases. I can’t believe you have some color me happy. I am a follower, of course and love your blog.

    1. Yeah, you know, I was surprised to see it because I didn’t think it was available yet, and usually it takes even longer for things to trickle up to Canada. Then I thought I must have imagined that it wasn’t released yet, and that actually I could have bought it ages ago or something. It’s probably just because it’s the mini-charms – I don’t think they had any other pre-cuts or bolts of the line. (If they had, I’d have bought some of the greens – I really like the greens in that line.)

    1. Thanks! I’ve made quite a lot of pillowcases in the last few years, but these are some of my favourites – they just came together perfectly for the recipient (who tells me that they were her favourite gift this year – yay!).

    1. There are so many gorgeous prints in Madhuri, aren’t there? I didn’t love the main floral print (nor the elephants particularly, but that was a case of being perfect for the recipient, never mind my tastes), but the rest are fantastic. The colours are just so vivid and beautiful.

  11. 17. Lovely gifts, Kristel! The ellie cases are so cute – you do find the most fun fabrics.

    Love the wallhanging you and your sister made together for your mom (she will love it!). Great idea to combine quilting and cross stitch and I LOVE the colours. Match stitch quilting was the perfect quilting choice. Looks fabulous!

  12. 18. I really like those pillow cases! *Eventually* I plan on making a Swoon quilt for my bed, and I’d like some matching bedding, so I’ll have to remember that tutorial to make some of my own pillowcases (eventually!)

    The mini is absolutely amazing, and so sweet that both you and your sister work on it together! I LOVE the matchstick quilting against those plain strips of fabric. I will have to steal the idea! 😉

    1. I love Swoon too – I don’t think I’ve ever seen a version of it I haven’t liked. The pillowcase tutorial is great, SO easy to make and it looks so good finished.

      Thanks! I was really happy with how the mini came out – it was really, really unplanned (I just pulled a handful of colours I thought were similar to the ones in the stitch and then randomly paired them together and then sewed pairs randomly together) and that’s not always easy for me to do. My mom really seemed to love it too, which is great.

  13. 19. LOVE LOVE LOVE these pillows – I am definitely tucking this away for future creations! They turned out so well – thanks for the link to the tutorial!

    1. It’s SUCH a great tutorial for pillowcases – no need to worry about anything ravelling in the wash because all the seams are encased and it just looks professional all around. (Though I have made a few where my flanges didn’t exactly join up as planned….)

  14. 20. Those pillows are unbelievably cute! I adore the elephants! And the wall hanging is fun too. What a neat idea! I bet my mom would absolutely love that.

    1. Thanks! They both came together really well, I thought. And both the recipients really loved them, which is always fantastic. I love it when things are well-received and you can tell the person sincerely is happy with what you’ve made them.

    1. That matchstick quilting is incredibly time consuming (and a real thread hog), but I love the result. I’d definitely do it again, but probably never on anything bigger than this!

  15. 22. All your threadwork looks amazing!!! I have never done anything like that, but it looks like it takes a long time:) I follow on blogloving and wordpress reader. Merry Christmas Kristel!

    1. Thanks! I think it probably always looks good – hides any flaws pretty well, which is always nice! – but yeah, SUPER time consuming. I mean, I did it very close together but on a larger piece I think you could/probably should do with much larger gaps.

      Hope you had a great Christmas too, Paula!

  16. 23. Great finishes, Kristel! I think your theory about the variegated thread worked out really well. I’m sure your mom will love that you and your sister worked on her gift together.

    1. Thanks! My mom was pretty happy with it, I think. She loves getting stuff we’ve made together because my sister isn’t usually very crafty, so she treasures anything my sister’s had a hand in that little bit more.

    1. Thanks! I usually prefer more cutesy style elephants than ones like these (I don’t know what to call that style of art, I mean, obviously it’s taking its cues from Indian artwork, but I don’t know what to call it – they’re not realistic, but certainly moreso than, say, an Ann Kelle elephant print would be!), but I love how the whole project came together.

    1. Thanks! I’ve already forgotten if I said so in the post, but the pattern for the cross-stitch came from a book called Stitch Graffiti. I liked making it the star of the piece!

  17. 26. I follow your blog with Bloglovin’. I love the way you quilted the stripped quilt; it works really well.
    ap_lemos at yahoo dot com

Drop me a line...

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s