Have you caught the modern maples madness that seems to be doing the rounds at the moment? I think it was started by this Modern Maples Throw Quilt which has gone viral! Check out the flickr group which is jammed full of inspiration. I caught a bit of modern maples fever myself, but since it's spring here and I'm already working on an autumn quilt (my Midnight at the Oasis Quilt), I didn't want to go overboard.
So, I was restrained and instead made a cushion for the X-Factor Pillow Swap. I've been lurking in this group for a while but hadn't actually participated before. This swap is a little different to traditional swaps in that a theme is set (this round was low volume) and everyone makes a cushion but you are not allocated a specific partner. Rather, once your cushion is finished, you send a photograph to the administrator and she uploads it to flickr so that no-one knows who make which cushion. Then the cushions are voted on by the participants and the person who made the cushion with the most votes gets their first choice, the person who made the cushion with the next most votes gets to pick next, and so on. I really enjoyed this format - it was a lot less pressure than making something for a partner and it was really fun to see all the different cushions.
Each maple leaf block in this piece finishes at 3" square. I essentially used the same method as in the original pattern, but scaled all the sizes down. It was actually rather fun making these tiny blocks (probably because I only made 9!). I'm pretty sure the background solid is Moda Bella Snow - a nice creamy fabric. I really wanted to add texture to all that solid go I free motion quilted the cushion cover with my go-to flower design (of course, using Aurifil 2021). The quilting is really dense in the centre and then the design gets a bit larger to the sides - a simple way to add a bit of interest.
I was a bit sad about sending this cushion off to someone, until I got told who was getting my cushion. It has now arrived with the lovely Rachel - a fellow New Zealander and the creator of so many gorgeous quilts and swap items (really, go and look at her flickr photo stream and swoon). We are yet to meet in person but I'm sure it will happen one day!
The back is a random Japanese cotton/linen blend fabric from Spotlight - with text and writing instruments and hints of gold I thought it was sort of appropriate for an autumn cushion. I have been enjoying using slightly heavier weight fabrics (like a drill or a duck) for the back of cushions lately and I looked for something suitable but couldn't find anything. This lighter weight fabric is fine too, especially since the front of the cushion is so heavily quilted.
I added a lapped zipper to keep the back really neat and tidy - I think this is my new favourite way to make a cushion back. I find it quicker and more economical with fabric than the covered zipper technique where you add a contrasting strip and I think it looks more professional than an envelope back. I'm planning a tutorial on this technique because although its easy to do if you work through instructions step-by-step, it is seriously non-intuitive!
Now I'm just waiting for the pillow I've been allocated to arrive. I don't know which one I'm getting, but given how difficult I found it to rank the entries in order of which one I preferred, I'm very confident I'll love whatever shows up!
Linking up with finish it up friday at crazy mom quilts and Sew Cute Tuesday at Blossom Heart Quilts.