Raise The Bar Pillow
I'm excited to show you this fun pillow today. It's my newest pattern in the Bar Quilt series called Raise The Bar.
This quick, modern big block quilt pattern is suitable for beginners and more experienced quilters alike. It's a simple geometric design that packs a lot of visual punch. The pattern includes three sizes and this is the pillow size, which would be perfect for a wall hanging, too.
A bit about the fabrics
I decided to use the same fabrics again as I had for the Spinning Top pillow, with plans to make all four pillows in the series the same.
I love the bright and cheerful look of that pink, mustard and blue colour combination. I have been trying to remember how I came up with it, but I can't quite remember. It might have been something I originally tried out on the computer. I started by putting it together from my Kona colour card, using Valentine, Candy Pink, Grellow, Lake and Celestial, and then went searching through my fabric stash and local quilt shop for prints to match those colours.
What I ended up with were two pinks from the Create line by Kristy Lea for Riley Blake, a mustard Quilter's Combination print from Stof, light blue Breeze by Zen Chic for Moda, and a dark blue print with budgies and bird cages from the Promenade collection by Figo Fabrics.
I bought backing fabric and matching zippers in four of the colours I used on the front of the pillow, so all the pillows will be the similar, but with different backings. I got Kona Valentine for the Spinning Top, and used Kona Lake for this pillow. The next two will have Kona Celestial and Kona Grellow as backings. I'm looking forward to having all four of them on my couch!
I decided to stick with my tried and tested 2" cross hatch for quilting. It ties both pillows together nicely, and I like the look of it as a modern, overall design that doesn't pull the eye away from the pattern or the fabrics. The white thread blends in with the background and the stripes and add just a lovely texture without distracting.
This pillow top actually ends up at 21.5" x 21.5" before finishing, which worked well for me because I like using 1/2" seams to put pillows together. I just feel like they'll hold up better to the wear and tear on a couch, and the zipper takes a 1/2" as well, so it just makes sense to go all the way around with it. It's still quite puffy enough for my taste, even with a standard 20" pillow form inside, but if you like your pillows to look more stuffed, can either trim the top down to 20.5" x 20.5" after quilting, or use a bigger pillow form. Either method works thanks to the border strips, so you wouldn't be cutting any part of the design off if you did trim it down a bit.
With the narrow strips used for this size, it's important that your piecing is accurate. I put together a list of 8 tips for accurate strip piecing here that will help you achieve a good result and keep the wonkies at bay. But don't worry if you're new to quilting and having trouble with scant 1/4" seams. Just take it slow, check and trim if necessary between steps, and worst case just add wider borders if you ended up losing some fabric in the seams during sewing. The pattern will still work out and look great, and nobody is going to sit on your couch and check with a ruler whether your strips are the right size :-)