Sunday, August 5, 2007
Pillows for Parents
I have finally figured out the trick for making pillows for parents. I have made several in the past that I've been unhappy with, because I adhered too much to their taste and not enough to my own. That is not to say that I would want to give anyone a gift that ignored their sensibilities - the trick is to blend theirs and mine, so that they get something they will enjoy and hopefully treasure, and I'll be able to spend the time doing a project that I will enjoy the process of producing.
I have recently forced myself into a self-imposed fabric purchasing freeze. This has been fairly successful, though I did allow myself the purchase of a single polka-dotted fat quarter from purl patchwork, to get my fix.
The other ways I've been obeying the rules of the freeze but really being bad in the meantime, is that I've been stocking up on non-fabric supplies, such as books and embroidery thread. I had recently found the book Japanese Quilt Blocks to Mix and Match. I had resisted buying it for about two and a half days, after which I found myself inevitably drawn back, credit card in hand.
I assuaged my guilt by immediately putting it to use for my Dad's birthday/father's day pillow. I had recently been given a bunch of blue fat quarters from my aunt from her old quilting stash. I had been unsure of the blue, but now it was all coming together; most Dads reliably like blue, and mine is no exception. I settled on a pattern I thought would make good use of some of the very subtle patterns in the fabric I had on hand.
I first tried doing this similarly as I would log cabin pattern - that is, cut long strips of the three colors first, then sew and cut as I went. However, the pattern was a little more complex than I was used to, and required very precise placement of the colors rather than the more spontaneous placement in the log-cabins I've done in the past. If I did it again, I would probably cut the pieces to size first, and lay them all out on my cutting board, so I could see exactly where they went before I started stitching.
Nonetheless, this was a very fun and not too difficult project, and I'm happy with the results. It felt a little like putting together a puzzle. I couldn't help but add a little bit of color - I used a contrasting orange zig-zag stitch to finish off the envelope backing.
Here's a detail. The darker fabrics are from my aunt's stash - not sure what fabrics they are, but I'm pretty sure they would be no longer available at this point. The lighter fabric is from the Fabric Place, a suburban chain where I found some amazing fabrics last fall that I haven't seen anywhere else.