Kalaloch Pillow | Simple Geometric Quilting Book

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If you’re at all into quilting, you’ve probably laid your eyes on Laura’s beautiful modern quilts. One of the first things that drew me to the Vacilando Instagram account was that production was taking place entirely in an Airstream… on the road. As a person that loves to spread way, way out while making, Laura’s small space process blew my mind. Her use of geometric shapes and yummy colors also appealed to my aesthetic.

When Laura asked if I’d be willing to make one of the patterns in her soon-to-be-released book, I enthusiastically said YES even though I was about to move across state lines.

It took me a while to get going on this project, only because I couldn’t find anything after moving. It took me a couple of weeks to just find my iron and for some reason I packed my fabric scraps in several different boxes (seemed like a good idea at the time).

The construction of this pillow looks like it requires lots of precise cutting and piecing, but it’s really beginner friendly! Basically you sew larger rectangles together, then cut them up, rearrange, add some strips in between, and BAM, you’ve got a pillow top! I chose a really simple quilting pattern so as to not detract from the pattern.

It’s the perfect project for using up scraps and I told myself I wasn’t allowed to buy any new fabric for it. The majority of it is silk noil, which makes it super luxurious, but I would not recommend this substrate if you’re just starting out – it’s a little hard to control.

  • Brown and black silk noil fabric is from some Willow Tanks, a men’s tie, and a Shirt No. 1.
  • Speckled dark grey cotton linen blend is from my block printed Tamarack
  • Speckled light gray cotton fabric is from my Making Backpack
  • Red linen is from my Emerson Crop Pants
  • The yellow and dark gray cotton fabrics are thrifted remnants that have been in my stash forever

Laura’s book is a comprehensive guide to Simple Geometric Quilting and I highly recommend it!

Quilts

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I’ve made a grand total of three quilts in three-ish years of sewing. I’ve noticed there seems to be a little divide among the sewists out there – you’re either a quilter or a garment maker. I think you should be both!

The first quilt I made was the Timber Quilt by Alison Glass and Jamie Naughton. Was it too complicated for a first quilt? No. Did some blocks cause frustration? Yes. Is the binding a little weird? Yup. Was it worth it? ABSOLUTELY.

I firmly believe that if you’re a beginner, you should be making patterns that excite you with fabrics that make you drool. My motivation goes out the window if I’m not inspired by both the fabric and pattern. And you’re not going to want to sit at the machine and work through some bumps if you’re not completely jazzed about the possible product you’re making. When you boil it down, sewing is just following steps (and Googling when you hit a roadblock… Oh, and seam ripping. Lots of seam ripping).

After finishing my Timber quilt top, puzzling out the basting process, quilting it on my dinky intro machine, and binding it, I was elated! I gathered a bunch of graphing paper and began playing around with designs, because after one quilt, you can totally design your own. You just have to break your design into sections, or blocks to assemble it. Seriously. You can design your own quilt.

I made this little crib quilt for a friend and would love to make it again, but bigger! The color palette is just so yummy (to my eyes). The only thing holding me back is that 98% of these fabrics were thrifted bed sheets, so I need to track down a quilting cotton (or another sheet) that is that perfect green/brown color.

My third quilt is where I lost steam and it goes back to what I said about needing to be really excited about your fabric. I made this a WHOLE YEAR after friends had a baby. There was just something about the pink that made me not want to work on it. I also chose the most labor intensive quilting pattern possible to “hide” some mistakes in lining up all the blocks.

When I finally finished this quilt, I also made a rope basket with quilt scraps as an additional I’m-sorry-this-is-so-late present.

I haven’t made a quilt in over a year, but I’ve got the itch. My plans are to make this FREE pattern – Dear Gunta.  It is based on Gunta Stölzl’s work, who was a bad-ass, Bauhaus textile designer. I just have to narrow down my color choices, but I’m planning to use pops of metallic linen leftover from my Farrow Dress!