Crossroads Denim Diagonal Pillow by Susan Beal

We are so excited to welcome Susan Beal as our guest blogger! Susan is a craft writer in Portland, Oregon who loves to sew and drink coffee. Her blog is at West Coast Crafty and she’s also the historian for the Portland Modern Quilt Guild

I’ve always loved sewing with denim, and was so excited to try Amy Barickman’s new line, Crossroads Denim, which comes in a gorgeous range of over dyed modern colors. I picked a few dream colors (Downtown Teal, Soft Aqua, and Sweet Potato) off the list and was thrilled to open a box a week later with a copy of her new book, Dimensional Denim, paired with folds of her beautiful orange, aqua, and light blue Crossroads fabrics. It’s velvety soft and has a wonderful hand, and looking through the project photos in the book, I couldn’t wait to get started!

There are dozens of great projects in the book, spotlighting all kinds of fabric manipulation techniques that yield very interesting effects! I loved the simplicity and pop of the diagonal strip pillows – I love making string quilts and knew layering, rather than piecing, my stripes would be even easier. The book has lots of tips and diagrams – for this project, I just measured, made a small cut at one edge, and tore the denim across selvage to selvage. A quick press later and the strip was ready to stitch.

I decided to mix my colors within patterns, rather than use monochromatic sections like the beautiful examples in the book. I thought that the orange and light and dark aquas looked best over a background of the darker aqua – the technique is so easy that planning your project is a breeze.

I marked lines, pinned and stitched my first strip down with white Dual Duty XP thread in just a couple of minutes. From there, it was quick to build outwards, building the design in a neat repeating pattern. I even like how the back looks, it gave me lots of ideas for decorative stitching…

When I finished my first block I thought it was so cute it could just be a little one-block pillow – I love the larger four-block diamond design, but a little throw pillow for my kids’ room would be light-hearted and fun. So I backed it with one piece of Downtown Teal and stitched it up. My daughter liked it so much that we’ve already brought it along on vacation!

The finished pillow is soft but with lots of intriguing texture and pop – the strips of fabric are appealingly raw and unfinished and just make you want to reach out and touch them. The mini-pillow is perfect for a child to snuggle on a long car ride or a reach for to take a quick nap. I’m planning to make a few more pillows and a throw quilt out of these same blocks, mixing my colors up all over the quilt and hand-quilting it with Coats Bold Hand thread. The blocks stitch up so fast, and these fun projects would be perfect for your patio, a beach picnic, or taking along on vacation – soft, gorgeous, and easy to throw in the washing machine when you get home!

Thanks so much to Amy Barickman and Indygo Junction for the chance to sew with this lovely fabric!