Saturday, October 20, 2012

Quilted Pillow Cover

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I never thought I’d say this, but I love hand-quilting. My very first attempt at quiltmaking came years ago, when inspiration struck me, as usual, in the middle of the night, and I took up a pair of kitchen scissors and cut up all the shirts in my closet into 6” squares.  I just cut out as many squares as I could, ignoring pockets and seams, just cutting and cutting.  When there were enough, I dumped them into a grocery bag and then spent the entire summer piecing them all together by hand, I guess while wearing either pajamas or my bathing suit, until I had a very motley and patchworky quilt top big enough to fit on my bed.  Then I started asking around about how to go about quilting it, and jeepers, the rules!  I went to my grandma’s for the weekend so she could teach me the ropes, and goodness me, her quilting needles were so microscopic, and you had to have a thimble and a hoop and there were marking pencils and stencils and Grandma (she of the perfect triangle points) practically measured my stitches with a ruler, and it all looked so homey and nice, this learning from grandma, but it was also kind of daunting.  Her quilts were so completely perfect, and mine was made of shirts.  Of course I never finished it, or any of the next dozen or so quilts I started, hand-quilted halfway, and then gave up on, discouraged.  (There was one anomaly, the Extremely Hideous Peach and Teal Mover’s Blanket of 1987, quilted by me with a huge needle, through three layers of polyester batting—so ugly.  Just so, so ugly.)  I just hated the hoop and the stencils and the rules.  I’m a seat-of-the-pants kind of girl. 

Anyway,  I got kind of down on hand-quilting.  Until now. 

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With inspiration from Jane Brocket and Anna Maria, I have come back to hand-quilting, and this time I’m making my own rules, and I’m using perle cotton and embroidery needles and no hoops and as many stitches per inch as I want. 

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I turned this piece of fabric—still Loulouthi—into a quilted pillow cover (enough with the pillows, right?  I can hear the kids now...why do we have so many pillows? What is wrong with you?) which is why you can see all the knots in the picture of the back; I didn’t bother to hide them, and I backed it with a piece of salmon-pink corduroy from the stash. 

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The little blue and white one is new, too, made in two minutes from an upholstery book sample and a piece of denim blue linen.  Here’s the full effect:

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There’s really nowhere to sit anymore, but it looks pretty.  Right, enough with the pillows. 

I am a quilting fiend now.  I feel invincible! 

25 comments:

  1. I think there is plenty of room to sit! So very inviting...All you need to do is run and jump! C'mon I'll race ya...ready...steady...go!

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  2. One, you can never have too many pillows, as they provide comfort, and home should never be without comfort. Two, gorgeous almighty it's a great pillow by the by. Three, your stitches are perfect, who cares what the rules say!

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  3. I love it! I have tried hand quilting once and it was so much fun, but I can't sew on a machine so that is my next thing to learn so I can make a lovely pillow like this! Your sofa is a work of art X

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  4. More pillows!!!! Your sofa is asking for that!!!
    Nice job Kristen!!!
    xxx Alessandra

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  5. They look fantastic.
    Liz @ Shortbread & Ginger

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  6. You can never have enough pillows i say ,yours are lovely and your setee looks so inviting xx

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  7. If it's anything like my house, the pillows end up on the floor and the dog sits on them and then they all smell of Eau de West Highland Terrier and nobody will have them anywhere near them.
    Your pillows are very pretty and your story about learning how to quilt is lovely. Very inspiring to those of us who aren't blessed with the skills of the needle. It makes me feel I could give it a go without following the rules.
    Happy Sunday.
    x

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  8. What lovely cushions, they are making me want to have a go at hand quilting myself now!
    Angie xx

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  9. Your new pillows are really pretty. I don't like too main constraints or rules either. It spoils the homeliness (is that a real word!) of things if they are made while stressed out. lily. xxx

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  10. Super cute! I love the pillows! And you can always move them when going to sit down. SO you could make just a few more. :D

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  11. The pillows look lovely. The more the merrier!

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  12. My experience with quilting is a bit like yours, Kristen...intimidated by the rules, but Jane Brocket is an inspiration for me too. I have quilted one little nine patch pillow so far, but hope to do a patchwork quilt. I have to cut out the squares first (: This week I finished crocheting a pumpkin and a funny little gourd. Thanks for showing us your lovely quilting project! xx from Gracie

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  13. Very beautiful and I think you did a wonderful job... But I have said so many times...I'm your fan!,,, I do love your work !

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  14. I learnt to quilt 25 years ago the traditional way. My first sampler quilt is still a work in progress as I hate the blocks I have done. Too many rules and demands for perfection turned me off quilting. Now I am rediscovering the joy of patchwork and quilting by allowing myself to break the rules. Much more fun and I have finished products to show for it. I love your latest cushion. That fabric was just calling out to be quilted. Adore your blog.

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  15. Who needs to sit on the couch when you can just stand there and admire your pillows?!!! Love the idea of hand quilting however you want to go about it, yours looks fabulous : -)

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  16. I love this! I've been wanting to try hand quilting for a while but had no idea where to start. I think I'm going to have to try a cushion like this.

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  17. love hand quilting, your pillows, and that lovely room. come by for a visit when you have a moment dear.

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  18. It's so liberating to throw those rules out the window and get down to the creating part! Your pillows look amazing, as does your living room! BTW- did you see that Jane Brocket has a new book out? Waiting for my copy to arrive any day.
    Cheers!



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  19. I hate rules too, I tend to figure things out on my own, even if they're "wrong". I made my first quilted pillow cover out of curdurouy scraps and it was really cozy (stuffed with other scraps..so lumpy!) when I was a teenager. It was pretty poorly done, but I wish I'd kept it for inspiration. Your pillows (all of 'em) are so pretty. You could always make floor cushions for a place to sit - and they're much bigger, with more quilty opportunities! Wendy

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  20. You do make me laugh Kristen! I can just imagine you all fired up with this one thing in mind!
    Loving your new quilted cushion and all the others too - you sofa looks super cozy and pretty with them all.
    Gill xx

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  21. They are wonderful! You inspire me to make some.

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  22. My favorite part of a pieced and quilted project is the hand quilting! I find it VERY relaxing to just sit and hand quilt! Your pieces are beautiful! :)

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  23. this pillow is awesome! i´ll have a look if i can do hand quilting, too.
    just wonderful!

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  24. I love all the pillows on your couch. Such a pretty, cozy spot. I love pillows but my family definitely thinks we have way too many. I never learned to sew so if I ever want to make anything sewn it would need to be by hand with no rules. I'm a fly by my seat kinda gal, too. Hope your day is great. Tammy

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  25. OOOHH Gorgeous cushions! Your sofa looks so inviting :) I am loving this more relaxed approach to quilting too - thanks to you pointing me in this direction I have very nearly finished my daughter's quilt! And I've been enjoying it!! Have a lovely weekend :) Helen

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