A Pig's Tale

Lynn Schoeffler 2011

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It was just a sweet little piece of an old quilt, cut to the pattern of a country pig-pot holder. I'd found him in a box of church sale jumbles a number of years ago, and he's been waiting patiently ever since for me to give him a new look. So, for our October gift idea issue, I thought it was time for a little Christmas bling for this porker!


  • Holiday fabrics and trim
  • Stiff plaid ribbon, 3/8" wide
  • Fray check product
  • Sewing thread to match ribbon
  • Size 8 yellow glass beads
  • Size 11 dark green or red glass beads
  • Muslin for CQ foundation
  • Fade out marking pen
  • Decorative fabric for backing
  • Thin cotton or poly quilt batting


Print the pattern to the size of your choice--my finished piece is approximately 9" wide by 7 l/2" tall. Trace pattern onto a piece of muslin that should be big enough to allow for l/2" seam allowance and for the slight shrinkage from the embroidery. Don't forget his ear!

Crazy quilt the muslin foundation in your choice of fabric--my choice is cotton upholstery samples. Add trim, fancy stitches and beads. Remember that if you really do want your pig to mind the pots and pans, you'll want to keep everything washable; shrink all fabric by washing before you start. Also consider using a fire-retardant fabric for the backing. This might be a good time to try out those lovely pieces of felted wool you've been buying--use simple stitches in Perle cotton for a farm house look.

Here's how I made the poinsettia out of 3/8" Christmas plaid ribbon. The ribbon was originally a brighter red and green that was just off from my county color palette of pine and burgundy tones. A quick swipe of plum alcohol ink deepened the ribbon color just enough.

Cut four lengths of ribbon; you can approximate the size of your flower by the length of the ribbon strip. For instance, a strip of ribbon 2 l/4" long will make a large poinsettia about that size across. Fold each section of ribbon in half, and finger press. Using a double length of matching sewing thread, knot threads together about 2" from the ends. With ribbon still folded, make a few tiny Running Stitches immediately above the fold. Draw the sewing thread through the ribbon until the knot rests against the ribbon, and then pull the thread tight to gather the ribbon. Tie a tight knot with both ends of the doubled thread to maintain the gathers, and then trim the thread ends close to the ribbon. Repeat for all four pieces of ribbon.

Cut a small piece of scrap fabric about 2" x 2" for easy handling. Open three of the four pieces of ribbon, and position them into a "V" fold; finger press. Sew three of these "V" pieces, one on top of the other at the bottom of the "V", onto the fabric scrap. Add an extra Tack Stitch or two to keep the ribbon pieces in place.

Take the fourth gathered piece of ribbon and stitch it to the top of the pile--pull it around a bit to get it into position.

Cut a sharp, narrow point on each end of the four ribbon pieces, and touch cut ends with the fray check product; let dry. Trim away excess scrap fabric very close to the base of the flower. Position the flower on your CQ patch and attach it with a stitch or two.

Use size 8 beads in yellow or gold and size 11 beads in red or green for poinsettia centers.

The flower buds are just knots of ribbon with the ends tucked under, and then sewn on. Leaves are doubled hand dyed Pearle cotton in an elongated Fish Bone Stitch.

To finish your pig:

Trace the pig shape on a piece of muslin and crazy quilt as desired, making sure not to put a crucial decorative element under the ear area. Trace two ears onto desired fabric and cut out, leaving a l/4" seam allowance. With right sides together, machine stitch, leaving an opening for turning. Turn ear inside out and close with Slip Stitches. Topstitch into place. You can also add the ear onto the finished piece later, as I did.

Use the pattern to trace the pig shape onto the right side of the decorative backing fabric with a fade out marker. Important: Make sure the snout of the pig pattern is pointing the same direction as it will be on the crazy quilted piece. Center the fabric on the batting, and machine baste batting to the fabric. Trim batting close to seam line with pinking shears.

Position the pattern on the front of the crazy quilted piece. Mark several dots on the fabric, just at the edge of the pattern, and particularly at the corners of the feet and snout. Pin the backing fabric to the crazy quilted front, right sides together, using the dots to match up to the stitched basting line on the backing fabric. Mark an opening for turning. If you have sewn the ear on, make sure it is tucked to the inside before you sew. Machine stitch, following the basted line on the batting. Stitch again for strength.

Trim away excess fabric from all layers, leaving a l/2" seam allowance. Clip the seam allowance at the corners of the feet and snout. Notch outer curves, and clip inner curves. Take a look at Ashley's tutorial at "Make It and Love It" (if, like me, you can never remember whether to clip or notch)*

Carefully turn your fabrics right side out through the opening. Use a chopstick to push out the edges of the feet and snout. Take a moment to make sure all of your pen marks are erased, and then press. Turn the opening edges under and press. If you haven't added the ear yet, hand stitch it on. Make a loop from matching fabric scraps and pin into place for the tail. Slip Stitch edges of the opening together, making sure to catch the tail.

This pig will make a nice gift, I think, since now he's really too gussied up to use for a pot holder. I think I'll go back and make up a couple of "working stiffs" for my own kitchen.


Backgrounds courtesy Far Far Hill


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