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