Friday, November 16, 2012

Pillow Talk

I just finished another round of the Pillow Talk Swap.  My package - along with the 8 others that needed to be mailed yesterday - is winging its way to my partner.  It has a long ways to go, so I hope it gets there safely, and doesn't take toooooo long.

Pillow Talk is very rewarding, but also really intimidating.  There are some a-maz-ing swappers who participate in this swap, and the things they create are just over the top - gorgeous pillows that I never would have even thought of and techniques I wouldn't dream of trying, although I do like to stretch myself a bit.

I dithered and dallied and changed my mind a million times in trying to decide what to make my partner.  She is a very talented quilter and has made me things before, but this is the first time I have sent something to her.  I kinda thought I wanted to do something with circles and finally settled on the drunkards path block.  Above is a preliminary layout.  After seeing the photo, I realized that I should track the orange all the way to the corner, so I exchanged out a couple of blocks.

In constructing the drunkards path blocks I've made before, I've always pinned the centers and stretched the curves to fit.  But this time I ran across a post on a bee block I was admiring that linked to a blog with a totally cool method of sewing curves.  If you're working on curves, take a minute (that's how long the video is) and check out this method.  It took a couple of tries to get the "rhythm" but it was fantastic.  I thought it would take hours to get these blocks made, but it took less than 30 minutes to make all 25 blocks, plus some extras.  That's a minute a block!  It.  Is.  Awesome.

Here is the pillow top put together.  Yup, I dug out my seam ripper and changed out the block in the upper left corner.  It looks totally out of place, huh?  Funny how you don't see it until you see it in a picture.  That's one of the things I'm trying to do now that I have a phone that takes decent pictures - take a photo of my creation before I reach the point of no return to see if it really works.  This practice has saved me a couple of blunders.

Here was another occasion to bring out my seam ripper.  I totally didn't see that this fabric was right side IN until I was sewing the rows together.  Glad I saw it before I got the whole thing together. 

I read a blog the other day where a non-English speaker couldn't remember what the seam ripper was called - she called it an "unseaming tool".  I think that sounds a lot more elegant that "seam ripper".  I may call it that from now on!

Here it is layered on the batting and backing, ready for quilting.  You can see here where I changed out that orange block in the corner.  This time it is in the upper right. 

I start getting really excited about this point in the construction, when I know that it's right and I know that its starting to look the way I want it to.  I really love the way the curves flow in this design.

I stitched in the ditch around the curves and along the seam, then hand quilted in the color of the blocks about 1/4 inch from the curves.  I really like hand quilting (I never thought I would say that!)  It adds so much to the design.

I was going to do my usual binding but my friend suggested piping.  I really love the elegant finish it gives to my little pillow.  I think I will try to use this technique more.  If you haven't tried piping, give it a whirl.  All you need is a zipper foot - unless you're doing a LOT of it, don't let anyone convince  you that you need a bunch of fancy tools.  Cut your fabric strip wide enough to cover the piping comfortably and have enough fabric to hang on to - you can trim it later if you need to.  I've found that it's much easier to trim it than to fight with it while you're trying to sew close to the piping.  If your needle is adjustable, move it as close to the piping edge as you can without sewing through the piping.  This piping adventure worked so well I don't know why I don't do more of it.

So there it is - my PTS pillow finished in an evening.  That fact alone had me pleased as punch.

This is one pillow I could have cheerfully kept for myself.  I may have to make another.


  1. It looks wonderful and the hand quilting does add so much.

  2. I've always been too intimidated to join this group - as you say, everyone there seems to be ubertalented, and I don't know that my skills are quite there yet! But your pillow is beautiful. I can definitely see why you might keep it for yourself. :)


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